A more “intimate” waterfall set alongside the Pacific coastline in Marin County, the Alamere Falls allows visitors to get close to a waterfall, while enjoying the sun at the beach. In addition, the trail leading to the waterfall also reveals the natural beauty of the coastline with many signs of wildlife and forestry that liven up the pathway towards the falls.
- Date visited/Time of Day: May 15, 2016/8AM-2PM
- Trail name(s): Palomarin Trailhead
- Weather conditions: clear; windy
- Length: 2 hours (one way)
- Difficulty: moderate
Just in advance, Alamere Falls in the afternoon time is usually packed with people, especially during weekends and holidays. The best time to visit the falls without having too many people get in the way of your perfect picture would be right in the early morning (7-8am). However, your window of solitude is very small once you reach the falls, so be sure to make the most of what you can!
The location of the Palomarin Trailhead lies along Highway-1, more exactly on Mesa Rd, which you simply go all the way down the street until you reach a parking lot. It will be a narrow road down towards the parking lot. Furthermore, that same road down will eventually be a spot for cars to park along, so whether you are going up or down, pay close attention to the cars and the pedestrians trying to head down to the trail. There is no cellphone reception out here, so be sure to prepare accordingly with maps, emergency rations, etc. in case something happens.
The trail has many different scenic routes along the way: starting off with a open forest pathway and onto a coastal trail overlooking the Pacific Ocean (and the site of really strong winds). Then the landscape transforms into a forest again, but more condensed as resembling more like a jungle then anything else. It is worth noting that in this area, there are a lot of bugs and mosquitos, especially mosquitos. It is a good idea to bring repellant to your hike, so you don’t end up receiving a whole bunch of bites as I did.
Finally, the trail enters an open grassland, from which you can take a short cut that leads to the beach, which you can spot by seeing a wooden sign covered by leaves. You may take a longer and more safer road to the Alamere Falls, but the short cut saves nearly an hour’s worth of walking. Be wary of poison ivy, as they can be prominent on this trail. After the short cut, you are taken to a rocky downslope where it will take you to the beach. It is best to have a friend or family member assist you, as the steps down are very steep and high, so in case one person loses his/her footing or energy, there are others who can support him/her.
The beach is nice for a scenic walk if you still have the energy to walk some more. The beach is also a good place to set up a picnic that is well deserved after a pretty difficult hike. As it is a beach, be sure to bring sunblock as well. The falls itself is very pretty; at the time that we visited, there was an abundance of water coming down, so as cool as it might have been, the area around it were very wet, and Jared easily had gotten his shoes wet. Take good care of your clothes if you did not bring any spare clothing.
Other then the crowds of hikers trying to take good scenic pictures of Alamere Falls, the hike itself as well as the waterfall is something worth going to and experience. The wide and expansive beach area can keep you interested in seeing what else lies beyond. And despite the undeniable beauty, any careless step on this trail (and any other trail) can lead to a disastrous outcome.