Hike to Alamere Falls

Alamere Falls

Alamere Falls, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

Alamere Falls tumbles down a cliff to the Pacific Ocean in Point Reyes National Seashore. This awesome waterfall lies north of the Bolinas plateau and south of Arch Rock. From the Bolinas side, it’s about four miles on good trails, then a half a mile scramble down to the falls and beach, so a total round-trip hike of about nine miles. The Point Reyes southern district trail map shows the route pretty well (look towards the bottom of the map).

Julian, my oldest son, and I started in mid-afternoon with a good lunch at Robata. For the record, Julian inhaled 18 gyoza (Japanese potstickers). Then we stopped in Mill Valley and picked up a slab of bread and some gourmet chocolate to take along for dinner, and headed for the trailhead. Our plan was to get to the falls an hour or so before sunset when the photography would be good, and hike most of the way back in the dark.

It was a pleasure hiking with Julian, who enjoyed the sights and sounds of birds, flowers, and bullfrogs. The only real disappointment was when the trail passed Bass Lake, a possible swimming spot. But poison oak made the approach to the lake too tricky to attempt.

When we got to the turn-off from the Coastal Trail down to Alamere Falls, Julian particularly took pleasure in the Park Service’s “Dangerous and Unmaintained” trail sign. This path does tunnel through poison oak in places. You reach the top of the falls by jumping across the creek as it approaches the falls, and are then standing 150 feet or so above a sheer cliff to the beach. It’s very dramatic and a bit vertigo inducing (photo from the top of Alamere Falls to follow).

From the top of the falls, we made our way down a crack in the cliff to the beach. This is a reasonably steep climb, and I decided I didn’t want to go back up it in the dark.

On the beach, the sun was heading down and a rainbow played in Alamere Falls (above). I let Julian take off his clothes for a dip in the creek (below) while I photographed.

On the trail home, as it got dark, we switched on our head lamps and talked about a wide range of topics. Julian said, “When I’m grown up, I’ll take my oldest son here.” Back in the parking lot, Julian was asleep almost as soon as I cranked the engine. There was no traffic, and we were home to a sleeping house by midnight.

Julian at Alamere Falls

View this image larger.

This entry was posted in Hiking, Kids, Landscape, Photography, Point Reyes.

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