Next time you’re in San Francisco, skip all the tourist hot spots such as Fisherman’s Wharf or Alcatraz. The ultimate Bay Area experience is chasing waterfalls, and there’s no better place to do it than Alamere Falls, with its 40-foot cascade of gushing water pouring right into the Pacific Ocean.
The trailhead is only about an hour and a half drive away from San Francisco, meaning that it’s an excellent way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some time outdoors, breathing in fresh air, surrounded by nature.
About the trail to Alamere Falls
Alamere Falls is located within Point Reyes National Seashore, and the 8.4-mile (or 13 mile, depending on the trail you choose) round trip is perfect for a day hike – just make sure you start early as this trek is now very popular, and tends to get more crowded as the day goes on.
During the hike, you’ll not only encounter breathtaking views of the Pacific Coast, but you’ll also experience exposed dirt trails, tall brush, and lush forests. And the best part is, you don’t just get to experience one plummeting waterfall, there’s a grand total of four waterfalls to be found on this excursion.
Preparing for the hike
Before embarking on your hike, keep the following things in mind:
- The best place to begin your trek is at the Palomarin Trailhead, at the Point Reyes peninsula. Make sure to get here as early as possible, because the parking lot fills up really quickly as it’s the trailhead for various hikes. Visitors can get turned away if the parking lots get too full, so beware of the snooze button!
- The trail has no restrooms (except for the one nature provides), so take advantage of the bathrooms at the parking lot.
- Bring enough water with you, as there are no potable sources of water during the trail, and you want to avoid dehydration.
- Wear some layers, even during the summer. The weather in Northern California can be unpredictable, and it can turn cold and rainy at any point of the year. Also, there is lots of poison ivy around, so we recommend wearing long sleeves and pants.
- Cell service is quite spotty along the trail, so bring a map and compass with you, or download the map of the area beforehand, in case you need help with navigation.
There are two trail options to reach Alamere Falls: Coast Trail and Alamere Falls Trail. The Coast Trail is longer, but it’s more straightforward, and it’s the one recommended by park staff, as it’s maintained.
If you want to go the shorter route, then take the Coast Trail until you reach the “shortcut,” which leads you to Alamere Falls Trail. This path is not maintained, and you do need to scramble some before reaching the waterfall, so it’s not recommended for beginners.
Once you reach the waterfall, make sure to take in your surroundings in all directions. Enjoy the sandy beaches, the Pacific Ocean and the rocky headlands, as well as the waterfall of course!