Alamere Falls is an incredibly popular hiking destination in Point Reyes National Seashore's Phillip Burton Wilderness. The falls are a dramatic sight as water cascades over a ~40 foot (~12 m) cliff onto a beautiful sandy beach. Bear in mind, getting there is no easy trek—a 13 mile (20 km) minimum round-trip hike is required, and you must time your visit to the falls with low tide. On weekends, and in the summer, the trailhead parking lots can fill up early in the morning. The best thing you can do to guarantee a safe, fun visit to the falls is to be prepared.
To get to Alamere Falls, you can start at one of three trailheads—Palomarin, Bear Valley, or Five Brooks. The following directions from any of these trailheads will bring you to Wildcat Campground. The last part of the journey, from Wildcat Campground to the base of the falls, is the same regardless of which trailhead you choose.
These route descriptions alone are not a substitute for a trail map. Print out the park's South District trail map (3,422 KB PDF) or Alamere Falls Map (3,375 KB PDF) before your visit, or pick one up at a visitor center on your way..
Visit the park's Hiking at Point Reyes National Seashore page for hiking tips and information about trail etiquette and safety.
Visit the park's Trail Advisories and Closures page for current information about closed trails, trails blocked by trees, or other temporary hazards or advisories.
Please take note! There is NO park-sanctioned "Alamere Falls Trail." Many social media posts, websites, and guide books reference an "Alamere Falls Trail" (sometimes referred to as a "shortcut"). This is NOT a maintained trail, and poses many hazards to off-trail hikers—crumbling and eroding cliffs and lots of poison oak. Visitors who use this unmaintained trail may endanger themselves and rescuers, and damage park resources. On an almost weekly basis, visitors get hurt scrambling down the route leading to the top of the falls or sliding down the crumbly cliff-face to get to the beach, sometimes requiring the efforts of search and rescue teams. The National Park Service strongly advises visitors against using this unmaintained route. Please use the recommended routes described below to visit the falls.
- Take only pictures; leave only footprints: Almost everything one finds at Point Reyes is protected by law, including shells, rocks, fossils, flowers, and artifacts.
- Please only travel on authorized trails, respect posted signs, and practice Leave No Trace principles when recreating in the park.
- Bikes are prohibited on the Coast Trail. Bikes are permitted on the Stewart Trail and on the northern three miles of the Bear Valley Trail. Visit our Bicycle Riding page for more information.
- Dogs are not permitted. Visit our Pets page to learn where pets are permitted at Point Reyes National Seashore.
- Check current conditions before your visit.
- Horses and pack animals are permitted on most park trails, including the Coast Trail and the Stewart Trail. Horses are permitted on the Bear Valley Trail on weekdays, but are prohibited on most of the Bear Valley Trail on weekends and federal holidays. Please visit our Horse Riding page for more information.
- Drones are not permitted anywhere in Point Reyes National Seashore.
Hiking Directions to Wildcat Beach
From Palomarin Trailhead
Follow the Coast Trail northwest as it meanders along an ocean cliff top for approximately one mile (1.6 km). The Coast Trail then heads inland and drops into a small valley before ascending switchbacks up the other side. Climb over a pass, and hike past a number of small ponds before reaching Bass Lake after 2.8 miles (4.5 km) of hiking. In another 0.6 miles (1 km) arrive at a view of Pelican Lake. Continuing on 0.8 miles (1.3 km) leads to the junction with the Ocean Lake Loop Trail. Stay right to remain on the Coast Trail as it heads a bit further inland through coastal scrub and forest, or turn left on to the Ocean Lake Loop Trail, which drops initially to pass by Ocean Lake, but then climbs steeply to reach the top of some coastal bluffs with views looking up and down the shoreline. Both routes reconnect after 1.1 miles (1.7 km). After this point you'll be back on the Coast Trail for a final 0.2 miles (0.3 km) to Wildcat Campground.
From Bear Valley Trailhead
Follow the relatively flat Bear Valley Trail south for 3.1 miles (5 km) to the Glen Trail. Turn left onto the Glen Trail and begin climbing up the side of a ridge. After 0.6 miles (1 km), keep right to stay on the Glen Trail. After another 0.4 miles (0.6 km) keep left to stay on the Glen Trail. Hike for 0.5 miles (0.8 km) to the intersection with the Stewart Trail. Turn right and follow the Stewart Trail 1.2 miles (1.9 km) downhill to get to Wildcat Campground.
From Five Brooks Trailhead
Follow the Stewart Trail northwest for 0.3 miles (0.5 km) to the junction with the Olema Valley Trail. Keep right to stay on the Stewart Trail as it begins a long climb up the side of Inverness Ridge. After 0.8 miles (1.3 km), the Greenpicker Trail branches off to the right at a switchback. Hikers may wish to shorten their hike by 0.7 miles (1.2 km) by following the Greenpicker Trail to the top of the ridge, but be forewarned that the Greenpicker Trail is steeper than the Stewart Trail. Alternatively, continue on the Stewart Trail as it switchbacks 2.6 miles (4.2 km) up the side of the ridge to Fir Top, the highest location (1324 ft/404 m) along the southern end of Inverness Ridge. Due to the dense Douglas fir forests, there are no far-reaching views. Hikers on the Greenpicker Trail can return to the Stewart Trail at this location. Continue straight on the Stewart Trail as it descends 2.7 miles (4.3 km) from the top of the ridge to Wildcat Campground.
The Hike from Wildcat Beach to the Falls
A well-worn trail leads along the south side of Wildcat Campground to the beach. From there, walk south for 1.1 miles (1.7 km) during a low tide to reach the base of the falls. If you arrive at Wildcat Beach and find that the waves are reaching the base of the bluffs, do NOT attempt to walk to Alamere Falls. If the tide is heading out, you could wait until the water level is low enough to allow safe passage along the beach. Be prepared to wait a while. If the tide is coming in, you may wish to come back on a future date rather than waiting for the tide to peak and then retreat. Be aware of tides and surf conditions. Before you visit, check the tide predictions and the National Weather Service's Watches, Warnings & Advisories page to learn whether there are any active warnings about the surf.