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Bolinas, California, United States

The Coastal trail to Alamere Falls

A scenic hike in either direction with the creme' de la creme' Alamere Falls as your reward

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 (12 votes, 5 reviews)
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 8.3 miles / 13.4 km
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly
Overview: When you get to Bolinas take Mesa road to the end, the last 1.5 miles is graded not paved. The trail head is well marked on the right side of the parking lot (Palomarin Trailhead), begin your hike with a peak of the ocean through a grove of trees, as the trail winds to the right and back towards to coast your first full view of the ocean appears, the trail follows the coast with spectacular views of the ocean, Marin coastline and the Farallon islands (on a clear day), continue as the trail leaves the coast and winds though a forest and past Bass lake and Pelican lake (I like to call it ocean lake, as it sits just above the ocean), continue on for about a .5 mile along the coast to a sign marking Alamere Falls .4 miles, the trail is well marked and traveled, as you approach the falls the pounding surf first gets your attention, when you get to the falls which are four tiered, walk just past the top fall, cross over it and down to the other falls, beach access is on the right down a not so stable cliff, but manageable, I would not suggesting going down during high tide as the shale rock is slippery and there are sneaker waves that can take you away. A lot of people relax here and have lunch. The hike back is every bit as scenic. Enjoy!! I did

I took this trip again last month, the cliff down to the falls has eroded so badly it is no longer safe to go down.
As of 07/04/2014 the path is safe again...enjoy; regards Bruce Cohn

Tips: Take layers, it can get windy and during colder months when the sun goes down the temperature drops quickly, bring a least two bottles of water and boots are suggested over tennis shoes as it can be rocky and muddy in places.

in late winter early spring whales migrate past here, there are bobcats, endangered salamanders and an other wildlife, early Spring is alive with flowers.

POISON OAK WARNING; The "unmanned" trail to the falls has poison oak along most of the .5 miles. On my trip here today 07/04/2014; a lady in shorts refused to take that path, her party turned around without seeing the falls.

Any time is a good time to take this trip.

Points of Interest


Let's take a walk

The beginning

Coastal View


My Buddy

He/She is endangered, please be kind


part of the trail

Bass Lake

A good view point about 3 miles into the trip

Pelican Lake (I call it Ocean Lake)

it appears this lake is part of the ocean, nature at its best

Alamere Falls


Alamere Falls

This is the bottom of the 4 tierd falls, be careful during high tide
Pictures in this guide taken by: bruceco
A leisurely, scenic, entertaining hike that scales very well for people of different levels of fitness.

My friends and I arrived around 1:45pm, but were told that there was a high wave warning and were recommended not to go to the beach. You know wha they say, right? YOLO.

The first part of the hike is elevated and right along the coast. The view and air is very refreshing, while the walk is relatively leveled.

As the trail continues, it alternates between closed off forested areas and wide open spaces. Some parts are rocky, others were muddy, but overall a nice and gentle stroll.

Then there comes the part when you need to make a left onto an unmaintained trail in order to make it to the falls. This is a MUST. This is the reason you went on this hike. My friends and I proceeded through the muddy grounds, hearing the waves we were warned of grow louder and louder as we neared the ocean.

The view is stunning. Mountains, trees, rocks, waves. A couple small waterfalls that make for a good place to take a picture. A great time to just sit down, take a break, and take it all in.

Getting to actual beach is not necessary difficult, but does require some sliding and scrambling. It’s definitely not for everyone. However, I highly reccomend. The soft sand beneath your feet, the fresh water from the waterfall flowing and mixing with the salty water of the ocean. Seagulls and vultures all around.

Much cool. So nature. Very nice.

Visited on Dec 12, 2015

by olshansky.daniel on Dec 13, 2015
8 mile hike to the waterfall landing in the ocean. Fantastic photo opportunities, and multiple falls to explore. Relax on the beach with a picnic lunch. Bring sunblock!
Visited on Feb 23, 2014

by mikegraham78 on Dec 23, 2014
Absolutely breathtaking! One of our top favorite hikes in the Bay Area. The trail takes you through lush canopied forests as well as open and grassy high-coastal hills. We were mesmerized by the three beautiful waterfalls you come upon at then end. The trail does get pretty tricky at the very end where you have to scramble down the side of the rocky cliff to get to the beach. The granite rocks are loose and break off easily, so you really have to take your time. We spent about an hour on the beach watching sea lions and harbor seals play in the water. The weather was perfect on the morning we went. Start your day early because the trail gets uber-crowded by midday.
Visited on Aug 10, 2013

by hikergirl88 on Aug 12, 2013
Fabulous hike. I've done this one three times with various groups now. The last half mile is unmaintained and is a narrow trail through thick brush. But getting to the falls still makes it worthwhile. I only made it to the top of the large fall this last time since the trail to the beach was too hazardous with my 1 1/2 year old in my carrier. But solo it's passable with lots of caution. The view from the beach up is awesome.
Visited on Jun 05, 2013

by BloodyBeginner on Jun 14, 2013
Just took the trip to the falls. The trail there is about 8 miles there and back I highly recomend to pack ligh specially if you're gonna climb down the falls. Spectacular place to see.
Visited on Sep 15, 2012

by marlong84 on Sep 19, 2012

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About the Author

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I'm a single happy man, who enjoys the outdoors; hiking or kayaking, I do both several times a week....

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