One of the Best Waterfalls in California – Alamere Falls
Jason Daniel Shaw
ALAMERE FALLS – POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE
Point Reyes National Seashore is one of the most beautiful places that you will find on the west coast, if not the world. On the all-star list of spots in Point Reyes, Alamere Falls tops the list and is one of my personal all-time favorites. Though it is quite a hike to get to, it is well worth the trek. The reward is a waterfall that ends on a beautiful deserted beach – Alamere Falls.
PALOMARIN TRAILHEAD TO THE COAST TRAIL – POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE
Palomarin Trailhead is just north of Bolinas and it has been rumored that it can be quite hard to find parking as it fills up fast. I have been twice now and both times were in the early afternoon and there have been spots available in the dirt lot at the trailhead so I am not sure if it depends on the time or day. There are bathroom facilities at the trailhead but none along the trail or at Alamere Falls. There are also no trash receptacles at the beach or along the trail so pack out whatever you bring with you.
The hike is approximately 8.5 miles roundtrip and is relatively easy, there are some hills but nothing too steep. The trail winds along the cliffs of the coast for most of the hike and then turns inland and takes you by past Bass Lake and Pelican Lake. Pelican Lake is beautiful and you can see the beach just beyond the mountains that create the lake. Once Pelican Lake passes out of view, start looking for the hidden trail that heads down to Alamere Falls.
The final 1/2 mile or so is a much different trail than what you would have traversed so far, wide and open with good footing. This last bit is a very tight trail with bushes that you will at times have to push through and very unstable footing. This is because it is not a maintained trail. That also means that it is not marked and can be easily missed. While this trail might look a little daunting and like you aren’t going in the right direction, trust me, you will be pleasantly surprised at the end of it.
There are a series of cascades at the end of the trail before Alamere Falls makes the final 40 foot plunge onto the beach and flows into the Pacific Ocean. I love to get there a couple hours before sunset so that I get the place mostly to myself and can enjoy some of that golden light. There are so many opportunities for incredible photos and miles of deserted beach to explore. I will generally start the hike back just before sunset so that I can make it through the tight part of the trail before dark. Make sure to bring along a headlamp and something to keep you warm as the temperatures drop at night, even in the summer. I also take along a sandwich and snacks to have a little picnic on the beach before the hike back. In the future, I would love to camp at Wildcat Campground so that I could stay a little later and get some long exposure astrophotography shots here and also see the sunrise.
If you haven’t been to Alamere Falls, add it to the list. I would love to hear about your experience here or if you have any questions so please send me a comment or message me on Instagram. Check out the remainder of our trip, including our train ride up from Los Angeles along the coast, our rainy Black Friday in San Francisco and stay tuned for the rest of our trip – exploring Marin County.