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  • Writer's pictureAndi Johnson

Discovering Alamere Falls: A Memorable Hike in Marin County


Andi Johnson standing in front of Alameda Fallas

In November 2021, I had the incredible opportunity to hike to Alamere Falls, a tide-fall waterfall that cascades directly into the Pacific Ocean. Located in the stunning Point Reyes National Seashore, about an hour and 15 minutes north of San Francisco, this hike offers a quintessential Marin County experience. Here’s a recap of my adventure and some tips for those planning to explore this remarkable trail.






 

Tall trees and ferns lining the Palomarin trail to Alamere Falls

The Journey to Alamere Falls


The hike to Alamere Falls is an approximately 14-mile out-and-back trek - most apps/sites state it is 13.2 but if you do a little exploring, like I did, I clocked it closer to 14 miles - starting from the Coast Trail via the Palomarin Trailhead. The parking lot is conveniently located at the end of Mesa Road outside of Bolinas. This trail features a diverse array of views and foliage, with an elevation gain of about 1,800 feet, making it both challenging and rewarding. You can take Bear Valley Trail which is 14.8 miles, or Five Brooks Trail which is 15.6 miles. However, as I took Palomarin Trail, that is what will be referenced throughout.



Bass Lake with the sun to the top right on the way to Alamere Falls

I chose the Palomarin Trail over the others for a couple of reasons. One, it was the shortest! Although the hike is fairly easy throughout, anything over 10 miles is quite a trek so getting there sooner rather than later, especially when factoring accomodating the tide times, time to relax and explore, were all key in my decision. I also had looked up the three trails and found this one to be reported as the most diverse in terms of what you'll see along the way.


As you make your way along the Palomarin trail, you'll be treated to stunning ocean views, including glimpses of the Farallon Islands on clear days. The path also passes by several picturesque lakes: Bass Lake, Pelican Lake, Ocean Lake, and Wildcat Lake, each offering its unique charm and beauty.


 
Small fall of Alamere Creek that feeds Alamere Falls

Trail Conditions and Safety


While the hike is breathtaking, it’s important to be aware of the trail conditions. The National Park Service has warned that the Alamere Falls Trail is not maintained and poses significant hazards, including crumbling and eroding cliffs, poison oak, and ticks. You can take the unofficial trail down to these mini falls, then hike back to the Coast Trail to continue on.

Hike at your own risk and be prepared for these challenges. This is particularly referring to the roped slope that many people use instead of adding on an additional mileage to go around to Wildcat Trail. I explored the area, then hiked back to the trail so as to not contribute to the erosion.


Additionally, it's crucial to note that dogs are not allowed on this trail. And you'll want to be sure to check tide times before your hike to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Since tides are determined by the gravatational pull of the moon, the season and time of day are greatly affect it. That is why I am letting you know that I went in November, and started around midday. As always practice Leave No Trace principles to help preserve the natural beauty of the area.


 
Andi Johnson, wearing a hydration vest while hiking to Alamere Falls

Essential Gear: Hydration Vest


During this hike, my hydration vest was an essential piece of gear, providing me with easy access to water without the need for frequent stops, or sloshing, cumbersome water bottles. Since this hike, I’ve sold the vest, but for those of you looking for a good hydration vest, I’ve linked a few options below, some of which are on sale. These vests can make a significant difference in your hiking experience by offering convenience and efficiency.


Recommended Hydration Vests


REI Swiftland 5 Hydration Vest - With compression, adjustability, and breathable mesh, this women's vest is a great find. And it is currently on sale here.


Osprey Duro 1.5 Running Hydration Vest - Lightweight and versatile, perfect for long-distance hikes. The men's is linked here and it's on sale here.


Nathan VaporAir Hydration Pack - Known for its comfort and ample storage space. Check out the men's version out here.


Salomon Advanced Skin 5 Set - A top choice for serious hikers and trail runners. Men's version available at a discount here.

Andi Johnson, wearing a red hydration vest, taking a selfie with ferns in the background

Each of these vests offers unique features tailored to different hiking needs, so consider what best fits your style and requirements. The one I'm wearing here in the picture is the Nathan, men's small version. It is my duty to let you know that these are affiliate links, and I greatly appreciate you using them when shopping for the items I recommend. Using my affiliate links helps subsidize my income as an education professional, so Thank YOU!


 
Overlooking Alamere Falls from the unofficial trail near Alamere Creek





Final Thoughts


Hiking to Alamere Falls in November 2021 was an unforgettable adventure that I highly recommend to any outdoor enthusiast. The combination of stunning coastal views, serene lakes, and the majestic waterfall makes this hike truly special. Equip yourself with the right gear, stay aware of the trail conditions, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Marin County.


Have you hiked to Alamere Falls? Share your experiences and tips in the comments below, you never know who it will inspire. Happy roaming!

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