Point Reyes National Seashore – Alamere Falls


Here’s another hiking update for you! And by “you,” I probably mean me, several years later, when I want to remember cool things I’ve done. And probably my family. (Hi mom!)

Yesterday, a friend and I did the Palomarin to Alamere Falls hike at Point Reyes National Seashore, and it was amazing and exhausting. Alamere Falls is a waterfall that flows into the ocean, and it was an incredible destination. It took us about 5.5 hours (with a decent stop for lunch once we got to the falls), and the route we took was about 10 miles. 

The friend I hiked with yesterday is actually another girl I met on the trail the day before on Angel Island. That was another nice hike, with amazing views at the summit (Mt. Livermoore). A highlight was walking out on the boat docks together to watch the harbor seals sunbathing.

From the top of Angel Island

From the top of Angel Island

A note on harbor seals: these creatures are blessed with the ability to elicit the most ecstatic and effusive reactions amongst onlookers by simply existing, reactions that are heightened to almost unbearable levels if the seals actually lift their heads, or flop around, or scratch their belly.

If only humans were held to the same standards. We would all be winning at life.

Here’s a great pic my friend took of them:

Aren't they just the cutest??

Aren’t they just the cutest??

Now, the hike yesterday. It was about an hour and a half drive to get to the trailhead after I picked up my friend, but the roads had beautiful views and wound through lovely forests, so we didn’t mind too much.

We took Coastal Trail all the way from the trailhead north to Wildcat Camp, and enjoyed some incredible views for parts of the hike. I took the panorama below at a particularly scenic viewpoint, and the picture really doesn’t do it justice. Unfortunately, we didn’t have ocean views for most of the trail, but it did wind through some pretty forests and grasslands.


Click on the picture if you want to zoom in!

But the main attraction of this hike was definitely Alamere Falls. Once we got to Wildcat Camp, we walked down to the beach and then walked a mile back south along the water to get to the falls. They were absolutely spectacular, especially after all the rain recently. They’re much bigger in person than they look in pictures, and the water flows right down the sand into the ocean.



We ate lunch sitting on some rocks overlooking the falls and the ocean, and saw a man strip down to his underwear and dive into the ocean, then run back and forth between the falls and the ocean repeatedly submersing himself. The water was freezing, and it was quite windy, so props to him.



We really didn’t want to leave, but knew it would be a decent hike back, so we started getting our stuff together after about half an hour at the falls.

I knew going into the hike that there was a shortcut that lead straight from the trail down to the beach below the falls, but the park rangers don’t support the use of that trail due to erosion concerns, and because it’s somewhat dangerous. The route we took (to the camp, then back down the beach) is the “official” route, but takes significantly longer, and most of the people we ran into at the falls had come via the shortcut.

We hadn’t even noticed the shortcut turn off on our way down, but it was easy to spot from the falls because we saw people hiking back up it, so we decided to give it a shot. We made it eventually, but it was terrifying!

The first part involved rock climbing up a steep, slippery “path” next to the falls that was made of crumbly rock, so it was really tricky to get a foot- or hand-hold. I wasn’t sure we were going to make it, to be honest, and I’m quite glad we didn’t attempt the shortcut on the way down, because I know we wouldn’t have made it down the rocks.

After that, there was a little more rock climbing involved, but this time with plenty of sturdy handholds and not so much of a drop. Going this way did shave significant time and about 3 miles off our trip back, but I can see why it’s no longer an “official” route!

All in all, definitely a fantastic hike and a day to remember.


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