Last month, I went up to Bolinas to hike Alamere Falls. Several friends had recommended the trail, gushing about how beautiful the hike was. After experiencing it myself, I can safely say it is more than just beautiful, it is spectacular. Really a hike that reminds you of how amazing California is. With endless views of the ocean and lush forestry, including a giant grove of Eucalyptus trees, I was constantly in awe.
The trail is 8 miles long, with the first 4 taking you to the beach, and the last 4 backtracking to the head of the trail. The trail is moderate in difficulty, well maintained, with a couple of muddy and rocky patches. The halfway point, the beach, includes an upper, middle, and lower fall. The lower fall is the main waterfall, dropping right into the ocean. Unfortunately, I was there during high tide and was not able to take in the full view of the lower fall, so will just have to go back!
To get to Alamere Falls, follow directions to the Palomarin Trailhead. This should take you a parking lot. Parking can be difficult so plan to park alongside the road and walk over to the start of the trail. The trail begins right by the public restrooms in the parking lot. After walking for a few minutes you’ll see an information map and then a sign to either take the Palomarin Beach Trail or the Coast trail. Make sure you take the Coast Trail. You’ll see a picnic table as well as coastline views pretty soon after you pass through the tree covering. Follow the path until you see a sign for the Alamere Falls Trail, about 3.5 miles into the hike. This 0.4 mile trail takes you right to the falls. You’ll want to follow the same trail back to the parking lot to finish the 8 mile in and out hike.
Here are a few tips:
- Wear comfortable shoes. Tennis shoes or hiking boots are fine.
- Bring sunscreen.
- Bring a backpack with water and snacks.
- Bring layers. The trail goes through patches of sun and shade so prepare for fluctuating climates.
- Make sure to obey the posted signs. It would be such a loss if we ruined this area.
- Watch out for poison oak. We were fine but others have mentioned that the short trail leading to the beach can be lined with poison oak.
- Try to go during low tide. During high tide it is difficult to go down to the beach and see the waterfall.
- Make sure you have 3-4 hours of daylight. Without stopping, the hike takes nearly 3 hours. Most people stop at the falls, which you will definitely want to do, so ideally, give yourself 4 hours so you’re not too rushed.
*The photos featured in this post are from a collection of mine and my friend Vicky’s