Hike of the Week: Alamere Falls, CA

The classic Pacific coast waterfall is the destination; the 15-mile round-trip hike through evergreen forests, coastal grassland, and beachside cliffs is the journey.
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Trail Facts

  • Distance: 15 miles (out and back)
  • Time: 8-10 hours
  • Difficulty: 4 out of 5

Summary

Just over an hour’s drive northwest from the hustle and bustle of downtown San Francisco, Point Reyes National Seashore holds some NorCal classics: Douglas fir-lined trails, towering coastal cliffs, and Alamere Falls, a 30-foot-tall waterfall that tumbles into the ocean (one of only a couple in the Lower 48). 

The 71,000-acre park isn’t exactly a hidden paradise, with roughly 2.5 million annual visitors, but an early start is your best shot at enjoying a crowd-free trek over the 7.5-mile approach. Tip: Time the last stretch of the hike with low tide—otherwise you won't be able to reach Alamere.

From the trailhead (38.0396, -122.7998), head south on the Bear Valley Trail, following it 3.1 miles over relatively flat terrain to a junction. Veer south onto the Glen Trail and take it 1.9 miles to the Stewart Trail, which leads 1.2 miles to the Wildcat Campground. Hike down to the beach, then, as long as the tide is low, follow the sand south to Alamere Falls. After snapping the perfect new profile pic, hike back along the beach before the tide returns and retrace your steps to the trailhead.

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