Alamere Falls

Point Reyes National Seashore, California, USA

About Alamere Falls


Hiking Distance: 8.5 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 5 hours

Date first visited: 2004-05-08
Date last visited: 2019-04-19

Waterfall Latitude: 37.95367
Waterfall Longitude: -122.78324

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Alamere Falls is one of those waterfalls that will probably stay in our memories for a very long time.

When we close ours eyes to envision a waterfall spilling onto a beach, we can reminisce about our feet standing on coarse sand in front of this waterfall.

Alamere_Falls_160_04082010 - Alamere Falls and the Pacific Ocean
Alamere Falls and the Pacific Ocean

Meanwhile, waves would crash against the beach behind us under a warm afternoon glow.

In addition to the crashing waves, we’d only hear the constant hiss from the tumble of the waterfall, ocean breezes, a few sliding pebbles and shale from the fragile cliffs nearby, and the occasional birdsong from gulls.

Sound like a fantasy?

Well, as you can see from the photo above (as well as photos and videos on the rest of this page), it’s a reality!

JP_Burns_SP_111_04022015 - McWay Falls was another one of the tidefalls that we've encountered along the California Coast besides Alamere Falls
McWay Falls was another one of the tidefalls that we’ve encountered along the California Coast besides Alamere Falls

In fact, it’s within the Point Reyes National Seashore and it’s yet another scenically located waterfall tumbling onto a beach before rejoining the Pacific Ocean.

The other notable beach waterfall on the California Coast that we’ve done was McWay Falls.

And like McWay Falls, people have referred to these ocean-neighboring waterfalls as tidefalls.

Anyways, there are actually several tiers of Alamere Falls.

Alamere_Falls_145_04192019 - One of the upper tiers of Alamere Falls
One of the upper tiers of Alamere Falls

It’s usually the bottommost tier (probably 40 or 50ft) that spills right onto the beach that people associate with this falls.

However, there are also several upstream cascades further upstream culminating in an attractive 15-20ft tier nestled up against more shale cliffs and usually fronted by wildflowers as well as poison oak and other shrubbery.

The Alamere Falls Hike

The catch to experiencing Alamere Falls is that you’ll have to earn this gem of a waterfall with a roughly 8.5-mile round-trip hike.

The last half-mile consisted of a combination of brushing up against poison oak overgrowth, scary cliff scrambles, and a stream crossing.

Alamere_Falls_195_04192019 - People on the cliff scramble between the top of Alamere Falls and its bottom
People on the cliff scramble between the top of Alamere Falls and its bottom

Overall, we probably spent on average about 5 hours to do the hiking, the photographing, and just basking in the rugged beauty that epitomizes what’s best about the scenery of the California Coast.

But before you lament the trail itself, realize that it also offers gorgeous coastal scenery, wildflowers (in the Spring), gum trees, and even lakes!

Alamere Falls Trail Description – hiking along the Coast Trail

All the times we’ve hiked to Alamere Falls, we began at the Palomarin Trailhead on the southern end of Point Reyes National Seashore near the coastal town of Bolinas.

And on each of our visits, the trailhead had been full of cars.

Alamere_Falls_040_04082010 - Julie and I encountering mountain bikers on the hike to Alamere Falls deep into our April 2010 hike
Julie and I encountering mountain bikers on the hike to Alamere Falls deep into our April 2010 hike

However, not everyone parked here were just visiting the falls as there were other beaches and backpacking campsites nearby amongst the network of trails on offer here.

Anyways, as we proceeded onto the trail towards Alamere Falls, we noticed that the Coast Trail was wide and seemed friendly to mountain bikers.

On one of our visits back in 2010, we even noticed a pair of mountain bikers on this trail.

Indeed, it appeared that some sections of the trail had remnants of concrete so I suspected that parts of it used to be a road.

Alamere_Falls_019_04192019 - Hiking among tall gum trees near the start of the Alamere Falls hike
Hiking among tall gum trees near the start of the Alamere Falls hike

Shortly after getting started on the hike, we then passed through a small grove of attractive white-barked gum trees.

Then, the trail opened up and provided gorgeous coastal scenery (provided that it’s not foggy as it was the first time we did this back in 2004).

In some sections, the trail hugged the cliff that dropped directly below to the waves and beaches.

Since our visits came during Spring, we saw wildflowers coloring the landscape along the trail.

Alamere_Falls_013_04082010 - Stretch of trail with views of the open ocean
Stretch of trail with views of the open ocean

This open stretch of coastal bluffs and wildflowers persisted for about the first mile.

Then, the trail veered inland away from the coast as it climbed before descending past a trail junction and towards the Pelican Lakes.

The first few lakes seemed more like serene ponds (some with lilypads on them).

However, as we went further on the trail, we saw the pretty big Pelican Lake itself.

The first time Julie and I visited this falls back in 2004, we encountered nude hikers on the trail around this area.

Alamere_Falls_028_04082010 - Looking over some of the Pelican Lakes along the Coast Trail en route to Alamere Falls
Looking over some of the Pelican Lakes along the Coast Trail en route to Alamere Falls

That said, the last time we were here, there weren’t any nude hikers, and we wondered if it had to do with the increasing popularity of Alamere Falls.

After getting past the lakes, the trail descended gently with distant views of the ocean once again.

Alamere Falls Trail Description – overcoming obstacles to access the falls

Eventually at over 3.75 miles or so from the trailhead, we noticed a signposted junction for the Alamere Falls trail (unless someone removed such signs, which were noticeably missing on my 2019 visit).

And it was here that we felt more comfortable putting on long sleeve jackets as the unmaintained spur trail (0.5 miles to the falls) required us to brush up against lots of overgrowth (including some poison oak).

Alamere_Falls_046_04082010 - Julie starting the final scramble towards Alamere Falls after leaving the Coast Trail at this sign, which was there when we did this hike in 2010 and before
Julie starting the final scramble towards Alamere Falls after leaving the Coast Trail at this sign, which was there when we did this hike in 2010 and before

Once we got past the overgrown part of the narrow trail, we then came to the top of a steep, crumbling gully that led to the upper tiers of Alamere Falls.

Depending on the flow of the creek, the stream crossing to get to the other side of it maybe easy or tricky.

Fortunately for us, both times we were here, it just required a short hop to get over the fast-moving part of the stream.

Once on the other side, we were able to see the main drop of Alamere Falls from its top as well its stream snaking through the beach towards the ocean below.

Alamere_Falls_064_04082010 - Julie about to hop over the stream crossing
Julie about to hop over the stream crossing

That view motivated us to continue further and find a way down to that beach.

The descent involved another steep cliff-side scramble several paces north of the falls.

That was where a dry gully narrowed into a steep, shale-covered descent onto the beach.

This scramble was steep enough to force both Julie and I to do the sit-and-scoot maneuver (not wanting to lose balance and take a nasty spill).

Alamere_065_05082004 - Context of Julie down by the base of Alamere Falls with the waves in low tide revealing some interesting rock formations. This was seen from the brink of the falls on a foggy morning in May 2004
Context of Julie down by the base of Alamere Falls with the waves in low tide revealing some interesting rock formations. This was seen from the brink of the falls on a foggy morning in May 2004

Both this scramble as well as the one just to get down to the plateau above the main falls were definitely not for everyone.

Nevertheless, we thought they looked worse than they really were.

Still, we figured that if you’re reasonably fit (you must be if you made it this far already) and cautiously proceed on the scrambles, it should be doable.

Of course, I do wonder over time how natural erosion (especially given how fragile the shale cliffs are here) might affect future access with all the weathering and wear.

Alamere_Falls_173_04192019 - Looking down at a trio of ladies struggling with the cliffs between the beach and the plateau atop the main drop of Alamere Falls
Looking down at a trio of ladies struggling with the cliffs between the beach and the plateau atop the main drop of Alamere Falls

So far in the 15-year span that we’ve visited Alamere Falls, we’ve been able to manage just fine on these scrambles.

However, I still think it’s just a matter of time before the danger level of these scrambles get up to a point where it can be very dangerous, especially with this place’s increasing popularity.

Authorities

Alamere Falls resides in the Point Reyes National Seashore near Bolinas in Marin County, California. It is administered by the National Park Service. For information or inquiries about the park as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Alamere_Falls_005_04192019 - On my April 2019 visit to Alamere Falls, I noticed that they had put up more signage probably as a direct result of the hike's increased popularity (and probably some peoples' desire to disrespect Nature and try to bring the ghetto to the trails)
Alamere_Falls_006_04192019 - Starting on the hike to Alamere Falls during my April 2019 visit
Alamere_Falls_008_04192019 - Looking over the Palomarin Trailhead towards the ocean at the start of my April 2019 hike to Alamere Falls
Alamere_Falls_010_04192019 - After leaving the parking lot at the Palomarin Trailhead, it didn't take long before the Alamere Falls Trail entered a lush area during my April 2019 hike
Alamere_Falls_012_04192019 - Entering a grove of white-barked gum trees early on in my hike to Alamere Falls as seen during my April 2019 visit
Alamere_Falls_021_04192019 - There was quite a bit of mud on the early parts of my Alamere Falls hike in April 2019
Alamere_Falls_023_04192019 - Shortly after the grove of gum trees, the scenery opened up along the Coast Trail revealing nice views over the Pacific Ocean en route to Alamere Falls during my April 2019 hike
Alamere_Falls_027_04192019 - Following along the nice Coast Trail towards Alamere Falls as it skirted these coastal cliffs high above the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean down below as seen during my April 2019 visit
Alamere_Falls_028_04192019 - Looking back over the sea cliffs alongside the trail to Alamere Falls during my April 2019 visit
Alamere_Falls_032_04192019 - Looking ahead at the context of the Coast Trail en route to Alamere Falls with the Pacific Ocean and the sea cliffs as seen during my April 2019 hike
Alamere_Falls_035_04192019 - Noticing some poppies blooming alongside the Alamere Falls hike during my April 2019 visit
Alamere_Falls_036_04192019 - The Alamere Falls hike veering more inland after going through the scenic coastal stretch as seen during my April 2019 visit
Alamere_Falls_044_04192019 - Traversing through another coastal stretch along the hike to Alamere Falls during my April 2019 visit
Alamere_Falls_048_04192019 - Going past more wildflowers in bloom during my April 2019 visit to Alamere Falls
Alamere_Falls_049_04192019 - Looking back in the direction of the Palomarin Trailhead as it appeared that coastal fog was starting to roll in on my Alamere Falls hike in April 2019.  That conspired to ruin any shot I'd have of re-creating the April 2010 visit of a late afternoon soft glow or even sunset
Alamere_Falls_051_04192019 - Now the hike to Alamere Falls veered inland from the coast just as the fog was rolling in during my April 2019 visit
Alamere_Falls_055_04192019 - More attractive wildflowers in bloom along the Alamere Falls hike in April 2019
Alamere_Falls_056_04192019 - Another look at the rutting surface of the trail to Alamere Falls as seen in April 2019
Alamere_Falls_059_04192019 - Another closeup look at another wildflower blooming alongside the hike to Alamere Falls during my April 2019 visit
Alamere_Falls_064_04192019 - The hike to Alamere Falls somewhat climbing as it veered inland from the coast and eventually towards the Pelican Lakes during my April 2019 hike
Alamere_Falls_071_04192019 - An unfortunate aspect of the growing popularity of Alamere Falls is the urban blight that inevitably follows as shown by this unsightly graffiti on some cliffs along the Alamere Falls Trail as seen in April 2019
Alamere_Falls_073_04192019 - Another look at the graffiti on some of the cliffs or rocks alongside the trail leading to Alamere Falls as seen in April 2019
Alamere_Falls_080_04192019 - Looking towards the Pelican Lakes appearing to have more growth of something on their surfaces as seen during my April 2019 hike to Alamere Falls
Alamere_Falls_081_04192019 - Some ducks swimming in a part of the Pelican Lakes that still wasn't covered over with some kind of growth as seen during my April 2019 hike to Alamere Falls
Alamere_Falls_089_04192019 - Looking towards another part of the Pelican Lakes that looked completely covered over in some kind of surface growth during my April 2019 hike to Alamere Falls
Alamere_Falls_090_04192019 - An interesting development from my April 2019 visit was this mat of growth that seemed to cover one of the lakes en route to Alamere Falls.  This was something I had never seen before
Alamere_Falls_095_04192019 - The hike to Alamere Falls continuing to meander through a forested area as seen during my April 2019 visit
Alamere_Falls_098_04192019 - Context of the Pelican Lakes and the trail leading closer to Alamere Falls as seen in April 2019
Alamere_Falls_100_04192019 - Looking back across the largest of the Pelican Lakes during my April 2019 hike to Alamere Falls just as the fog was rolling in
Alamere_Falls_102_04192019 - Continuing to hike through a lush area en route to Alamere Falls after passing by the Pelican Lakes during my April 2019 visit
Alamere_Falls_105_04192019 - Passing through another lush and tree-dense area en route to Alamere Falls during my hike in April 2019
Alamere_Falls_111_04192019 - It seems like over time, the Alamere Falls Trail has seen its share of erosion as water channels have cut into the otherwise wide and pretty hiker-friendly trail during my April 2019 visit
Alamere_Falls_114_04192019 - Looking back at another hiker going past some of the gullies on his return hike for a sense of scale of how deeply the water has cut into the trail as seen in my April 2019 hike to Alamere Falls
Alamere_Falls_115_04192019 - Looking back across the largest of the Pelican Lakes underneath the fog on my Alamere Falls hike in April 2019
Alamere_Falls_117_04192019 - Looking back at the context of other hikers making their way back from Alamere Falls with the Pelican Lakes to their right for a sense of context as seen in April 2019
Alamere_Falls_120_04192019 - Making it back to the familiar trail junction leading to Alamere Falls, but I noticed now that the sign identifying this path was no longer there during my April 2019 hike
Alamere_Falls_122_04192019 - I swore that the unmaintained part of the Alamere Falls hike seemed to have gotten wider and less overgrown over the years because I never remembered seeing this part before (this was during my April 2019 hike)
Alamere_Falls_123_04192019 - Going through some still-narrow and overgrown parts of the final stretch of the Alamere Falls hike in April 2019
Alamere_Falls_125_04192019 - Looking ahead towards some people coming back from the steep scrambles alongside the tiers of Alamere Falls during my April 2019 visit
Alamere_Falls_128_04192019 - Noticing more wildflowers blooming alongside the final stretch towards Alamere Falls in April 2019
Alamere_Falls_131_04192019 - I noticed this interesting section of California Poppies blooming on the final stretch to Alamere Falls during my April 2019 hike
Alamere_Falls_133_04192019 - Closer look at some of the California Poppies growing by the overgrown scramble part of the hike to Alamere Falls in April 2019
Alamere_Falls_135_04192019 - Another overgrown section of the Alamere Falls Trail as seen in April 2019
Alamere_Falls_138_04192019 - Descending this gully to get down to the Alamere Falls as seen in April 2019
Alamere_Falls_142_04192019 - Looking down at the familiar gully scramble towards the front of the upper tiers of Alamere Falls as seen during my April 2019 hike
Alamere_Falls_146_04192019 - Looking upstream towards the uppermost tier of the Alamere Falls as seen in April 2019
Alamere_Falls_147_04192019 - Descending further downstream along Alamere Creek with quite a few people already here during my April 2019 visit to Alamere Falls
Alamere_Falls_156_04192019 - Because Alamere Creek had a bit more water than I was used to during my April 2019 visit, it was also a little trickier to cross the creek without getting wet during my April 2019 visit to Alamere Falls
Alamere_Falls_161_04192019 - Looking upstream at some of the intermediate cascades between the upper drop of Alamere Falls and its main drop further downstream during my April 2019 visit
Alamere_Falls_163_04192019 - Looking down over the brink of the Alamere Falls during my April 2019 visit
Alamere_Falls_165_04192019 - Looking in the other direction towards the cliffs flanking Alamere Falls as seen in April 2019
Alamere_Falls_174_04192019 - Another look down at the crumbling gully that I had to scramble down in order to make it to the beach before the Alamere Falls during my April 2019 visit
Alamere_Falls_176_04192019 - Finally reaching the coarse-sanded beach in front of Alamere Falls in April 2019
Alamere_Falls_182_04192019 - Looking back at the Alamere Falls and beach from the other side of its creek as seen in April 2019
Alamere_Falls_189_04192019 - Frontal angled look at the Alamere Falls under some late afternoon fog during my April 2019 visit
Alamere_Falls_198_04192019 - Looking across Alamere Creek as some people were making their way back up the gully after having had their fill of Alamere Falls in April 2019
Alamere_Falls_199_04192019 - Closer look at some of the other wildflowers blooming by Alamere Falls during my April 2019 hike
Alamere_Falls_203_04192019 - Yet another look at the wildflowers blooming by Alamere Falls during my April 2019 visit
Alamere_Falls_207_04192019 - Looking upstream along Alamere Creek, which seemed to have gotten wider during my April 2019 visit to Alamere Falls
Alamere_Falls_221_04192019 - After having had my fill of Alamere Falls, it was time to hike back to the Palomarin Trailhead to conclude my April 2019 visit
Alamere_Falls_224_04192019 - Indeed, the fog had definitely taken over by the time I got back to the open part of the Coast Trail on the way back from Alamere Falls during my April 2019 hike
Alamere_Falls_227_04192019 - Back at the gum trees near the Palomarin Trailhead towards the conclusion of my April 2019 hike to Alamere Falls
Alamere_Falls_002_04082010 - The Palomarin Trailhead as seen during our April 2010 hike to Alamere Falls on a very clear day
Alamere_Falls_003_04082010 - Julie getting started on the hike to Alamere Falls as seen in April 2010
Alamere_Falls_006_04082010 - Julie going around a muddy puddle early on in our hike to Alamere Falls in April 2010
Alamere_Falls_011_04082010 - Beyond the grove of gum trees, the scenery opened up, which was especially beautiful under the gorgeous weather we had been experiencing on the hike to Alamere Falls in April 2010
Alamere_Falls_014_04082010 - Julie hiking on the open coastal bluff part of the trail to Alamere Falls in April 2010
Alamere_Falls_015_04082010 - This open coastal scenery section probably persisted for about the first mile of the hike to Alamere Falls as seen in April 2010
Alamere_Falls_017_04082010 - Julie passing by some wildflowers along the trail to Alamere Falls as seen in April 2010
Alamere_Falls_018_04082010 - Julie continuing the hike to Alamere Falls as the trail started to veer more inland from the coast during our April 2010 hike
Alamere_Falls_023_04082010 - The climbing trail to Alamere Falls as it veers inland during our visit in April 2019
Alamere_Falls_036_04082010 - Looking across the largest part of Pelican Lake during our visit to Alamere Falls in April 2010
Alamere_Falls_040_04082010 - Approaching mountain bikers
Alamere_Falls_047_04082010 - Julie rubbing elbows with poison oak on the final stretch leading to Alamere Falls during our April 2010 visit
Alamere_Falls_050_04082010 - Julie making it beyond the overgrown part with the Pacific Ocean coming back into view during the final stretch of our April 2010 hike to Alamere Falls
Alamere_Falls_052_04082010 - Julie scrambling down towards the upper tiers of Alamere Falls along this crumbly and steep gully during our April 2010 hike
Alamere_Falls_061_04082010 - The uppermost cascade of Alamere Falls during our April 2010 visit
Alamere_Falls_062_04082010 - More zoomed in look at the Alamere Falls' uppermost tier during our April 2010 hike
Alamere_Falls_084_04082010 - Top down view of the main drop of Alamere Falls as seen during our April 2010 visit
Alamere_Falls_103_04082010 - The cascades between the upper and lower sections of Alamere Falls as seen during our April 2010 visit
Alamere_Falls_108_04082010 - The cliffside scramble to the beach before Alamere Falls during our April 2010 hike
Alamere_Falls_107_04082010 - Julie making the final descent using the sit-and-scoot maneuver to get onto the beach fronting Alamere Falls during our April 2010 visit
Alamere_Falls_112_04082010 - Approaching the base of Alamere Falls during our April 2010 visit, which happened on a beautifully clear day
Alamere_Falls_113_04082010 - More zoomed in look at Alamere Falls under beautiful afternoon weather in April 2010
Alamere_Falls_133_04082010 - Frontal look at Alamere Falls during our April 2010 visit on a clear day
Alamere_Falls_146_04082010 - Rainbow arcing across the base of Alamere Falls during our April 2010 visit
Alamere_Falls_161_04082010 - Profile view of Alamere Falls and its beach as seen on a gorgeous afternoon in April 2010
Alamere_Falls_165_04082010 - Context of Julie checking out Alamere Falls from its base during our April 2010 visit. Notice how we were all alone on our visit
Alamere_Falls_168_04082010 - Looking upstream along a gully cut into the sand by the Alamere Creek as seen during our April 2010 visit
Alamere_Falls_182_04082010 - Julie crossing the stream before Alamere Falls as we started to make our way back to start wrapping up this magical visit in April 2010
Alamere_Falls_202_04082010 - Time to go back up the cliff as Julie made her way up the steep crumbly scramble from the beach towards the top of the main drop of Alamere Falls in April 2010
Alamere_Falls_203_04082010 - Julie scrambling to get back above the upper tiers of Alamere Falls on our April 2010 visit
Alamere_Falls_204_04082010 - We noticed this sign, which was close to the trail junction leading to Alamere Falls back in April 2010, but I didn't recall seeing even this sign on my April 2019 visit
Alamere_Falls_206_04082010 - We noticed lots of banana slugs like this along the trail to Alamere Falls in April 2010
Alamere_Falls_210_04082010 - Julie back on the coastal part of the trail from Alamere Falls in the late afternoon in April 2010
Alamere_Falls_218_04082010 - The short detour on a narrow trail hugs the cliffs but provides even more gorgeous coastal views during our Alamere Falls hike in April 2010
Alamere_Falls_221_04082010 - Gorgeous coastline look during our April 2010 hike back from Alamere Falls in the late afternoon
Alamere_Falls_226_04082010 - Making it back to the gum trees near the start of the Alamere Falls hike in April 2010
Alamere_001_05082004 - This was the Palomarin Trailhead as seen during our May 2004 visit on a foggy morning
Alamere_002_05082004 - Julie navigating the Alamere Falls Trail under some morning fog on our May 2004 visit
Alamere_003_05082004 - Julie hiking through an initial grove of trees at the start of the Alamere Falls hike in May 2004
Alamere_004_05082004 - Julie on the coastal part of the Alamere Falls hike though the views were obscured under all the morning fog on our May 2004 visit
Alamere_006_05082004 - Continuing along the hike to Alamere Falls under the morning fog on our May 2004 visit
Alamere_010_05082004 - Looking towards the Pelican Lakes en route to Alamere Falls during our May 2004 visit
Alamere_015_05082004 - Another look across some of the attractive Pelican Lakes en route to Alamere Falls on our May 2004 hike
Alamere_019_05082004 - Yet another look across one of the Pelican Lakes that seemed to have quite a bit of greenish surface growth as seen during our May 2004 visit to Alamere Falls
Alamere_033_05082004 - Looking across the largest of the Pelican Lakes en route to Alamere Falls in May 2004
Alamere_037_05082004 - Encountering the trail signage letting us know that we had to leave the Coast Trail and proceed onto the final scramble to Alamere Falls during our May 2004 visit
Alamere_040_05082004 - Following along the overgrown final stretch of trail leading to Alamere Falls on our hike in May 2004
Alamere_043_05082004 - Julie starting the steep descent to the upper tiers of Alamere Falls during our May 2004 visit
Alamere_045_05082004 - Julie continuing on the steep descent alongside the uppermost drops of Alamere Falls during our May 2004 visit
Alamere_056_05082004 - Pretty upper cascade of Alamere Falls as seen during our May 2004 visit
Alamere_057_05082004 - Context of a couple of intermediate tiers of Alamere Falls as seen on our visit in May 2004
Alamere_082_05082004 - Looking up at the scramble cliff that we had just descended to reach the beach in front of Alamere Falls during our May 2004 visit
Alamere_084_05082004 - Alamere Falls as seen from the beach in May 2004
Alamere_085_05082004 - Frontal look at Alamere Falls against the morning sun of our May 2004 visit
Alamere_090_05082004 - Julie and I saw this starfish near the base of Alamere Falls on our May 2004 visit. I guess Nature was a bit more undisturbed back then than it is now as I can't recall seeing such wildlife ever since this first time we were here
Alamere_096_05082004 - Looking back at the Alamere Falls during our May 2004 visit in long exposure through some coastal fog on the morning of our visit
Alamere_107_05082004 - Frontal look at the Alamere Falls during our May 2004 visit as the fog obscured the morning sun again
Alamere_116_05082004 - Profile view of Alamere Falls against the coastal fog on the morning of our May 2004 visit
Alamere_124_05082004 - Contextual look up at all the tiers of the upper drops of Alamere Falls upstream of the main drop as seen in our May 2004 visit
Alamere_138_05082004 - Looking down at Alamere Falls fronted by wildflowers under a foggy morning during our first visit here back in May 2004
Alamere_147_05082004 - Julie headed back on the Coast Trail after having had our fill of Alamere Falls during our May 2004 visit
Alamere_150_05082004 - Looking over the cliffs against the morning fog at the coastline on our return hike from Alamere Falls in May 2004

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There are quite a few ways to reach the Palomarin Trailhead at the start of the Alamere Falls hike.

However, I’ll just describe the driving directions from San Francisco since it’s the most obvious route that also paints the context of how far the drive is and how much time to allocate for it.

From the Golden Gate Bridge (US101), we drove north on the freeway for about 4 miles to the Mill Valley / Stinson Beach exit (445B).

Then, we followed Hwy 1 for about 17 miles before turning left onto the Olema-Bolinas Road.

Alamere_Falls_001_04192019 - It can get pretty busy at the Palomarin Trailhead even on a weekday
It can get pretty busy at the Palomarin Trailhead even on a weekday

Following the Olema-Bolinas Road for about 1.8 miles south, we then turned right onto Mesa Rd.

We then continued on Mesa Rd to its end in about 4.5 miles.

The last 1.3 miles was on unpaved road, and it had some fairly deep potholes and ruts.

We definitely had to take it slow on this road or risk damage to the alignment and other aspects of the drive train of our vehicle here.

Alamere_Falls_233_04192019 - Looking back towards the far end of the parking lot at the Palomarin Trailhead, which was my preferred start to the Alamere Falls hike
Looking back towards the far end of the parking lot at the Palomarin Trailhead, which was my preferred start to the Alamere Falls hike

Overall, this 33-mile drive took about 90 minutes (though this depended on traffic).

For geographical context, San Francisco is 37 miles (over an hour drive) south of Olema, 11 miles (over 30 minutes drive) west of Oakland, 55 miles (over an hour drive) north of San Jose, 52 miles (about 90 minutes drive) south of Napa, 96 miles (over 2 hours drive) south of Sacramento, and 382 miles (6 hours drive) north of Los Angeles.

The full Alamere Falls experience at the beach showing both sides as well as its front during high tide on a foggy day


Fully exploring the top of Alamere Falls as well as its upper tiers


Left to right sweep from the ocean to the profile of the falls


Bottom up closeup sweep of the falls with a rainbow popping in and out of its mist


fixated on the upper three tiers of the falls


Following the water from the top of the main falls to the ocean


Bottom up sweep of the uppermost tier of the falls

Trip Planning Resources


Nearby Accommodations




Tagged with: point reyes, pt reyes, san francisco, stinson beach, marin, northern california, bay area, california, waterfall, palomarin, tamalpais, bolinas



Visitor Comments:

Hike to Alamere Falls April 10, 2019 8:39 pm by Gabrielle Allen - I just heard about this waterfall eventhough I have lived in the Bay Area for a long time. Thank you for this beautiful website. I will undertake this hike soon. ...Read More

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Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

Alamere 2017 October 31, 2017 2:37 am by Ken Papai - Visited the falls last week, Oct. 27, 2017. FANTASTIC. Mountain Bikes are illegal on the Coastal Trail from Palomarin trailhead to the unmarked and unsigned falls trail and beyond. Just spectacular! -Ken Papai ...Read More

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
Read More About Johnny | A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls.