On Saturday we unknowingly ventured along a northern portion of the same Coastal Trail that you can follow along Muir Beach to Rodeo Beach, this time starting 10 miles north of Stinson Beach. Alamere Falls has made a name for itself as a beautiful and popular Bay Area getaway spot. From San Francisco, it takes about 1.5 hours, mostly due to the scenic winding of Highway 1.
This hike was similar to other seaside trails around The Bay; soft ground, exposed with little shade, and extremely populated by the early afternoon. As we’d been warned, we had to park out car about a quarter mile down the road from the trailhead since the parking lot was full by noon. I didn’t include a time estimation below, because we were with a group of 7 and took our time making our way through the trail, stopping to picnic at Bass Lake and spending a while at the turnaround spot: Alamere Falls.
The last few miles to the falls open up on another ocean view, and that’s when you’ll want to look out for an old trail sign on your left covered in graffiti that serves as the cutoff to Alamere Falls. At this point, you will have gone about 3.75 miles and only have .4 left on a narrow trail that takes you straight to the oceanside.
The falls drops a couple hundred feet down to the beach, which will be even more crowded than the upper areas of the trail. And even though California is full-force in its drought, the falls were still running with plenty of water. Speaking of water, our group grossly misestimated the heat of the day and we were without water the last couple miles of our trek – which should serve as an easy reminder for next time. I noticed that most hikers brought swimsuits and towels to take full advantage of their beach destination.
The long, dusty walk back to the car was eased with more views of the ocean. I’ll be returning here soon to try a trail run, a little earlier in the day, and with more water.
- Length: 8.3 miles
- Elevation gain: < 1000k ft.