Saturday, February 6, 2016
*The hike to Alamere Falls in Point Reyes National Seashore is one of the best Bay Area gems and a landmark for any park enthusiast. It’s almost a rite of passage to touch the falls, and like anything worth seeing, you will need all day to access it. This is a moderate to strenuous 9.4 miles round-trip hike with ocean views, backcountry lakes and lush vegetation. The unique waterfall generates from Alamere Creek, which falls over the coastal bluffs right onto the beach, and is one of only two falls in the state like this.
Start this hike from the Palomarin Trailhead at the end of Mesa Rd in Bolinas.
Head up the wooden stairs onto the Coast Trail. The trail travels inland through a beautiful grove of eucalyptus trees to the Palomarin Beach Trail junction.
Go straight to stay on Coast Trail, it continues through the woodland as it crosses a seasonal creek before turning westward toward the coast.
As you exit the eucalyptus grove, the trail opens up along the coast with grand views of the Pacific Ocean!
The trail turns inland for a horseshoe arc to a creek crossing at a small wooden bridge before heading back towards the coast.
The trail continues along the bluffs with distant views of the Farallon Islands.
A little after a mile, the trail heads northwest as it travels in and out of the riparian areas through the rich coastal vegetation.
At around 1.5 miles, the trail looks to turn back towards the coast but instead turns northeast as it begins to steadily climb up a gulch for the next half mile.
The rocky climb cuts through the dense woodland to the Lake Ranch Trail junction.
Coast Trail levels out as it continues north through the dense forest with the occasional glimpses of the small ponds in the area.
Watch for newts in the pools of water along the trail!
Bass lake comes into view as the trail descends around the lush coastal vegetation. Depending on the season, bring your swimming suit for a dip in the lake. There’s a rope swing on the west side of the lake!
After leaving Bass Lake, the trail ascends through a beautiful stretch of coastal forest as it heads westward.
Coast Trail exits the forest area out to the coastal prairie to its high point with views of Pelican Lake and its surrounding hills above Double Point.
The trail drops down along rocky terrain towards Alamere Falls Trail.
Turn left onto Alamere Falls Trail; this unmaintained trail descends to the west as it goes through and under dense coastal scrub.
Alamere Trail exits out onto the scenic coastal prairie as it turns northward through dense brush-watch out for poison oak!
The trail turns west again as it travels along Alamere Creek.
Alamere Trail continues with a steep drop through a section of badly eroded crevices.
The trail takes you down between two of the cataracts above the main falls.
Watch your footing at the creek crossing! It takes you on top of the bluff with magnificent views of the cascading falls!
Enjoy the gorgeous views of the roaring surf at Wildcat Beach and the side view of Alamere Falls spilling down to the sandy beach below!
To get to the beach, follow the trail north of the falls to a steep gully-you can safely make it, but use your best judgement for safety. Watch your footing on the loose and crumbly rocks and crouch low to scoot on your butt if you choose to scramble down to view the main falls.
Views of Alamere Falls, Wildcat Beach and Pt Reyes!
Use caution climbing from the gully back up towards the creek!
Reverse your way back on Alamere Falls Trail to the unmarked Double Point Trail junction; its a a few yards away from Alamere Falls Trail at a small open clearing. Follow the unmarked trail through the dense waist-high brush, it travels south as it climbs upwards on the hill along the west side of Pelican Lake.
Make your way through the overgrown vegetation to a nondescrip Y junction. TURN RIGHT, if you’re heading towards Pelican Lake, you’re going in the wrong direction. Head west towards the coast, the trail becomes more defined as you scramble through the brush.
The trail snakes up the hill with spectacular vistas!
Enjoy the panoramic views!
The climb up to the top of the peak is not as steep as it looks.
Enjoy the phenomenal views of Double Point, Pelican Lake, Wildcat Beach, Point Reyes and the Farallon Islands!
Descend the peak back down to the Coast Trail.
Return on the Coast Trail back to the parking lot at Palomarin Trailhead.
Lace up the boots and hit the trails for this gorgeous day hike with drop-dead vistas! It’s worthwhile to start early in the morning to avoid the huge crowds. Be careful and watch for poison oak and stinging nettle through the unmaintained sections of the trails. Exercise caution and wear pants & long sleeve shirts for protection. Bring plenty of water & snacks to spend a day at Wildcat Beach and enjoy the spectacular views of Alamere Falls. Sit awhile and take in the rushing sounds of water pouring out of the falls from Alamere Creek into the Pacific Ocean! The out & back up to the peak over Double Point offers breathtaking panoramic views of the dense forests, Wildcat Beach, Pelican Lake and the Marin Coastline-it’s worth the extra effort!
9.4 Miles with 1418′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 490′
Time: 4.5 hours with a few stops
Hike: Moderate-challenging with a steep rocky descent & climb
Parking: Free parking at the Palomarin Trailhead at the end of Mesa Rd in Bolinas
Pit toilets-NO WATER
NO DOGS ALLOWED
Bring water & food/snacks-NO WATER along the trails
Weather: Gorgeous sunshine. Warm temps ranging from the low 50’s to the mid 60’s with NE winds.