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Palomarin to Alamere Falls Out and Back

Intermediate
 4.7 (47) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

This is a wonderful outing to a waterfall that lands on the beach.


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Map Key

8.3

Miles

13.3

KM

Out and Back

564' 172 m

High

107' 33 m

Low

991' 302 m

Up

991' 302 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

15%

Max Grade (9°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

As of 2014, the trail to the falls is indefinitely closed due to storm damage. For now, please continue past the Alamere Falls Trail to Wildcat Camp, and down the beach to the Falls.

Overview

For many people, Alamere Falls is the highlight of this trail. It is truly a memorable visit when you witness the unique spectacle of a waterfall crashing directly onto the beach on an incoming tide.

Need to Know

The Palomarin Trailhead parking lot typically fills up by 10 am in the summer, so get there early! Bikes are not allowed on these trails.

Description

The Coast Trail - South begins from the Palomarin Trailhead and parking area in a eucalyptus grove. The wide doubletrack trail starts out nearly level, crossing small creeks and offering views of the ocean. After a moderate climb, the trail passes a handful of seasonal ponds and approaches the northern edge of beautiful Bass Lake. To visit the lake, keep going until you reach the Bass Lake Connector, about 100 yards after you first glimpse the lake. Popular with picnic-ers, anglers, and swimmers- it can feel very crowded on summer weekends. Off-peak times are more relaxing, with ducks and other waterbirds paddling about.

Just after the junction with Crystal Lake Trail, the descent starts with a spectacular vision of Pelican Lake perched high on a bluff. The Pacific Ocean peeks out between two hills (called Double Point) that form a "V." Hard to describe, easy to enjoy! A spur trail goes from here to the craggy overlook of Double Point, a favorite place for whale watching in March.

Next up is the grand finale: Alamere Falls. Take this is short, less than 1/2 mile Alamere Falls access trail down to the cliffs where the 50 ft falls land on the beach. The narrow trail to the top of the falls is somewhat overgrown with scrub (and possibly poison oak) in places. A popular viewpoint and lunch spot is just next to the falls on an open, wide part of the cliff.

The waterfall drops over a bluff and forms two sets of falls which can grow to 25' across after it rains. When the tide comes up, the falls actually hit the ocean water rushing in. To get to the beach and see both parts of the falls takes some scrambling through ruts and over rock benches. Also involved is a somewhat harrowing leap across the stream below the second falls! Rangers do not recommend this direct approach due to the danger to the eroding cliffs (instead, from Wildcat Camp, walk south on the beach to Alamere Falls).

With careful planning, it is possible to travel from the falls back to the Palomarin Trailhead parking area on the beach at low tide, but don't be caught out! Most sensible folks opt to retrace their steps back to Coast Trail - South and head back to the Palomarin Trailhead.

Flora & Fauna

Indian paintbrush, Douglas Iris, lupine, broom, coffeeberry, rabbits, sea lions on the sand, seabirds. Binoculars help see migrating grey whales in March.

Contacts

Shared By:

Megan W

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 47 votes

#131

Overall
  4.7 from 47 votes
5 Star
72%
4 Star
28%
3 Star
0%
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Recommended Route Rankings

#17

in California

#131

Overall
198 Views Last Month
10,622 Since Feb 21, 2015
Intermediate

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Photos

Atop Alamere Falls
Feb 17, 2015 near Bolinas, CA
Wonderful views from Coast Trail South
Feb 16, 2015 near Bolinas, CA
Upper Alamere Falls is quite beautiful.
May 26, 2017 near Bolinas, CA
The Palomarin trail makes its way along the coast.
Aug 20, 2016 near Bolinas, CA
Scenic walk along Bass Lake.
Aug 19, 2017 near Bolinas, CA
Alamere Falls is a scenic destination.
Aug 20, 2016 near Bolinas, CA

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Check-Ins

Feb 16, 2020
Ben Stein
Easy home 8.2mi
Jan 19, 2020
Kendall Kritzik
Jan 4, 2020
Miwa Takaki
Dec 31, 2019
Christine Cid
Oct 28, 2019
Samo Beroe
8.3mi — 16h 30m
Sep 21, 2019
Mama Dom
Stunning views! Please visitors, remember to always pack it out even your toilet tissues. — 3h 52m
Aug 4, 2019
Judyth Pagan
9mi
Jul 27, 2019
Courtney E
Nice walk along the coast of Marin — with a waterfall at the end! Did in July with Libby and Charlie.