If you’re crazy about the ocean, a hike on Bolinas’ Coast Trail will quickly become one of your favorites, with one killer cliff-side view after another. Start early, so you’ll have time to get to the climax of the trip: Alamere Falls, which plunges 50 feet from the cliff into the sea. This trek begins on the wide, well-kept Coast Trail and meanders 4.1 miles one-way from the Palomarin Trailhead along the edge of the Pacific. Along the way, you’ll see beautiful Bass Lake and Pelican Lake, and red-tailed hawks coasting. About a mile past Bass Lake, you’ll find the Alamere Falls detour. (Watch out for a lot of poison oak on this narrow and densely foliaged trail. It’s a good idea to wear long sleeves and long pants.) The short trail to the falls is not park-maintained, but if you tread carefully, it’s more than worth it. You’ll be rewarded with one of the most spectacular spring waterfalls in the state.
From Hwy 1 just north of Stinson Beach, take a left on Olema-Bolinas Rd. near Bolinas Marsh. Turn right on Mesa Rd. and follow it all the way (6 miles) to the Palomarin Trailhead. Follow the Coast Trail signage past Pelican Lake. When you come to a little bridge, take the unmarked creek-side path on your left to the falls. Or, to avoid the poison oak route, walk another mile past the cutoff until you reach Wildcat Beach and then walk back on the beach. This adds 4 miles to your walk (map). No dogs. Photo courtesy of S. Vivek.