Alamere Falls Hike.
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Alamere Falls Hike at Point Reyes

Tucked within the rugged beauty of Point Reyes National Seashore, Alamere Falls cascades directly into the Pacific Ocean, creating a breathtaking wonder that’s rare and downright mesmerizing!

The allure of Alamere Falls lies not just in its stunning destination but in the journey itself. The falls offer a dramatic display of nature’s power and beauty, with water tumbling over a 30-foot cliff onto the beach below.

This tidefall, one of the few in the world, offers an unforgettable journey through the epic California Coast landscapes, making it a top destination when finding hikes around San Francisco!

Here’s what you need to know.


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Alamere Falls Trail

Distance: 13.7 miles
Type of Trail: Out and Back
Difficulty: Hard
Elevation Gain: 1,817 feet

Other important info:

  • No dogs are allowed
  • There is no fee for this trail
  • Going at low tide is essential

Adventurers can start from several trailheads to experience the magic of Alamere Falls.

The most popular and easiest is the Palomarin Trailhead, located at the trail’s southern end. This starting point offers a shorter hike compared to the other trailheads, combining scenic vistas, wooded areas, and coastal views.

Three people in the distance on a wide and empty Alamere Beach at sunrise with dark clouds on the horizon.
Alamere Falls is worth the trek! Can you spot the falls?

The other two trailheads are Bear Valley and Five Brooks.

They offer alternative routes, but Palomarin remains a favorite for its balance of challenge and beauty, but also because using these other trailheads bumps this journey up to a 17-mile round trip instead of 14 miles!

We’re going to take you through the Alamere Falls hike using the Palomarin Trailhead…

Hiking to Alamere Falls

The trail, which covers around 8 miles round trip, meanders through coastal scrub, Douglas fir forests, and open grasslands. It also passes beautiful lakes like Pelican and Bass Lake.

If it’s particularly hot, you’ll find people hopping in or rope-swinging into Bass Lake. It’s a great stopping point for a break or a dip!

You’ll get most of your workout at the beginning of the hike with some decent elevation but nothing too steep and difficult.

A small lake surrounded by trees and buses on a sunny day.
A small lake en route to Alamere Falls.

Before hitting Wildcat Beach, you’ll first happen upon the Wildcat Backcountry Campground, which you can camp at if you get permits beforehand.

If not, keep walking along the beach towards Alamere Falls, which will be in full view the whole time. Once you get there, take it all in! The crashing waves of the ocean behind you and the tumbling falls before you.

The Shortcut to Alamere Falls

For those seeking a more direct route, a “shortcut” exists, cutting down the hike to the falls. The shortcut is shortly past Pelican Lake on the left. If you use this shortcut, it cuts the hike down to about 9 miles round trip—very tempting!

However, this path is steep, more rugged, and can be treacherous, especially in wet conditions.

Alamere Falls cascading down from the cliffs onto the beach right besides the ocean on a sunny day.
A stunning sight!

While the shortcut may save time, the National Park Service highly recommends avoiding it. The cliffs are eroding, and the trail is full of ticks and poison oak.

I’d think twice before using this shortcut. In fact, people get hurt taking this shortcut weekly, so maybe just plan on tackling the few extra miles for safety’s sake!

Tips For Your Visit

Preparation is key to enjoying the Alamere Falls hike safely and responsibly. Here are some tips:

  • Gear Up: Wear sturdy hiking shoes. While this is a partial walk on the beach, it’s not really a walk on the beach!
  • Pack Essentials: Bring plenty of water, high-energy snacks, a first-aid kit, and sunscreen. This is a long trail with nothing around.
  • Check The Tides: Check the tide schedule before your hike because if you come during high tide, you’ll only be able to see the waterfall in the distance as the tide comes in and blocks the beach walk. Don’t forget to allow enough time for you to get to the waterfall and hike back before the tide comes back in.
  • Respect Nature: Adhere to Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash, staying on designated trails, and avoiding disturbing wildlife.
  • Timing: Start early to avoid crowds. The parking lot fills up pretty quickly, especially on the weekend.

We hope this helped you plan your trip to Alamere Falls!

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