Coast Trail to Alamere Falls and Hippie Town

Coast Trail to Alamere Falls and Hippie Town | Smiling in Sonoma

“ENTERING SOCIALLY ACKNOWLEDGED NATURE-LOVING TOWN” is what greets you IF you can find the turn off for Bolinas, CA. Love this town and all its quirky beauty! (P.S. they continually take down the signs for the turn off so you can’t find it easily)

The hubs and I have been wanting to hike out to Alamere Falls since I found this lovely gem online but haven’t had the perfect opportunity until now. This weekend was 70 degrees and had weeks of rain prior so the falls were flowing and the weather was amazing!!!

We got to the Palomarin Trailhead early enough to find there was ample parking but right behind us several cars pulled in so we stopped at the restrooms and then hauled booty out to the falls! The hike is moderately strenuous (some inclines with uneven ground) most of the way on a nice wide fire road. We were immediately greeted by views of the Farallon Islands out in the distance and then sounds of crashing waves while we walked through a eucalyptus forest. It was a bit muddy from the recent rains but that didn’t bother us. We were on a mission to get out to the falls before the crowds. Not much to see as far as wildlife but that’s not why you are there…you are there to see the beauty that has been preserved for all of us to enjoy!

After a long uphill hike we started heading downhill to be greeted by Bass Lake. Pretty but not sure I would jump off the tree swing to go in…lakes scare me. Not the ocean where there are sharks and whales…the lake where you don’t know what’s in there! 🙂 Feel free to jump in but I hear it is chilly! We opted to continue our venture out to the falls.

Once you encounter Pelican Lake you know you are close to the Alamere Falls trail. It looks as if this lake flows right over the edge to the ocean…just beautiful! Take the “unmaintained” trail through the dense brush on your left to get down to the falls. Careful, the rocks were a bit muddy and slippery. Once you get back out into the open you will experience that sense of wonder and beauty that makes you just take a deep breath and relax. It’s an amazing feeling. You see Point Reyes to the north, hear the crashing waves of the ocean and just knowing that there is something incredible in store for you it makes it all feel so wonderful. I could stay at the top of the falls all day…well if we were the only ones that knew about it!

From here you get to start the tricky part of the hike. There’s some erosion that years of water flowing has caused which is what you walk through and down to the top of the waterfalls. Once you are there, it’s sort of this wonderful daydream of a couple short waterfalls flowing down and then over the cliffs into the ocean. It’s just incredible. You could stay here on the bluffs and it would be an amazing hike.

If you feel like a bit more adventure, head north and you will find a scramble to get down to the beach below. Careful when going down. The rocks are unstable and give way. We had a few people above us that caused a few larger rocks to come down on us. We didn’t have anywhere to go so we just tried to dodge them as best as possible. I scooched on my booty the whole way down and hoped when I jumped down to the next ledge I wouldn’t slip on the loose rocks. Once my feet were planted in the sand at the bottom I felt so much better. Turn to the left and you get to see the goal of the entire hike…the tide fall (waterfall that flows into the ocean). We’ve been to the Julia Pfieffer Burns falls down south which are beautiful as well but the fact that you can actually get down and touch the water that flows through this one is just amazing. Mother nature was definitely putting on a show for us!

Have fun enjoying this beautiful spot! Don’t be too scared going back up…it’s so much easier than the way down! We had our snack here and watched the dolphins play in the water until it got so crowded we opted to head back and explore Pelican lake and Bass lake a little more. Then hopped in the car and headed for the adorable hippie town of Bolinas.

Coast Trail to Alamere Falls and Hippie Town | Smiling in Sonoma
Loved this sign – Entering Socially Acknowledged Nature-Loving Town

We had brunch (at 2:30 pm) at the Coast Cafe which was delicious!! They do close down at 3 pm until 5 pm and there’s not much else there to eat. We walked around the tiny town and over to the beach before we hopped back in the car to head home. Oh and yes of course we stopped in Point Reyes Station at Toby’s to get our Americanos for the ride home. Can’t go through there without it!

Hiking tidbits:

8.97 miles because we kept getting sidetracked (8 miles if you are focused),1,518 elevation gain (all the ups and downs add up!), free parking but get there early, pit toilets at the parking lot, amazing adventure!!!

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