Coastal Trail to Alamere Falls

Pacific Ocean
Close to the Palomarin trailhead one gets a view of the Pacific Ocean below the steep cliffs, if the fog is not obscuring it.
User: Austin Explorer - 7/24/2016

Location: Point Reyes National Seashore

Rating: 4stars
Difficulty: 4stars  Solitude: 2stars
Miles Hiked: 9.77 Miles  Elapsed Time: 4 hours, 43 minutes


Coppertone and I got what we thought was an early start for this trail, which we knew was popular.  We were lucky to secure the last parking spot in the Palomarin trailhead parking area just after 9:00 AM.  Later in the day when we were leaving there was a line of cars along the unpaved road for perhaps half a mile.

Alamere Falls is a well known landmark within the park.  However, it takes perhaps a bit over 4 miles to get to from the nearest trailhead.  Normally one would assume that means the crowds are kept at bay.  Not in this case.  The number of people on the trails heading to the falls was staggering.  It seemed rare that we would ever be out of site of someone else on the trail the entire length.  Amusingly, a good number appeared to be ill prepared for the mileage they were about to put in.

Despite the Coastal Trail's name, the Pacific Ocean doesn't come into view much.  The very steep terrain necessitates travelling inland to try and hug contours along the many small valleys that empty into the ocean.

We overshot the turn for Alamere Falls and did not realize this until we crossed Alamere Creek.  We doubled back a short distance and turned onto what at first appeared to be a rogue trail leading towards the ocean.  This turns out to be the way.

The side trail leading to the falls has different sections alternating between clautraphobic vegetation envelopement, open vistas to the ocean and steep, brittle slopes.  It was quite an adventure.  At the end we were rewarded by a stunning four step staircase waterfall that descends right onto the beach.

There were crowds of people at the falls.  The paths up and down the steep ravines to get to the falls and down to the beach were chocked with people, busy enough to require people to wait for long lines of people to clear out the path.  Thankfully, the crashing water at the bottom of the falls and the sound of the ocean were enough to drown out most chatter when we stopped to have a snack.

Log Photos
Pacific Ocean
Trail View
Bass Lake
Pelican Lake
Towards the Falls
Upper Alamere Falls
Lower Alamere Falls
Alamere Falls
Coppertone scales the slot
Headed back
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