Point Reyes: Alamere Falls

Point Reyes

Point Reyes

On our way from San Francisco to Point Reyes to hike Alamere Falls, I ask…

“How hard is this hike?”

“How long is this hike?”

“Is there a lot of uphill?”

My boyfriend looks at me with a straight face and says, “I don’t know. I haven’t done much research on this hike, but there is a waterfall at the end.”

I sit back, placated by this response…there’s a waterfall. That’s a good sign. The hike should be pretty and have something for me to photograph.



The hike didn’t disappoint. It was stunning with beautiful ocean views and abundant wildflowers (we went in late spring) and we stopped for many photography opportunities. The inclines were gentle enough and we walked by a peaceful lake on the way to the falls. We passed a horse as well, and whenever they’re around, be sure you don’t accidentally dirty your shoes in their not-so-little “deposits.” Also, the trails said “No Dogs Permitted”, but I saw all kinds of cute furry pooches along the way.



It wasn’t entirely perfect though. At one point, I wanted to take a picture of a lizard (there are lots of them!) that came out from the plants and stood in front of me. I called my boyfriend to come look at it and as he started to walk back, a 6-foot long gopher snake decided to come take a look as well. It slithered across the trail, coming straight towards me. Avid outdoorsy girl that I am (NOT!), I froze and stood there paralyzed. Finally, I stepped back and I’m not sure who was more scared…me or the snake. The snake decided to let his lunch go and slither away and I almost had a nervous breakdown. At least the lizard was saved. Other than that, the hike was great.

Alamere Falls

Alamere Falls

At the end of the hike, the waterfall descends straight into the ocean (only one other waterfall in California goes to the ocean, McWay Falls in Big Sur). It was a beautiful day and we sat on a hill, with views of the waterfall and the ocean, and had a picnic.

On our way back to the car (it was an out-and-back hike), I asked my boyfriend:

“So how long do you think that hike was?”

He responds, “Probably 8.5 miles.” Just then we pass the entrance sign and it says the hike was 8.6 miles. Didn’t do any research, my ass! He knew all along how long it was, but didn’t tell me for fear that I would have balked at an 8 mile hike. But it’s true, if he had told me the truth, I probably wouldn’t have gone.

Overall rating: Flip-flops for difficulty; Pumas for duration

Rating system:

  • Heels: So easy you can hike it in heels
  • Flip-flops: Too long or hard to hike in heels, but flat flip-flops would work
  • Pumas: A nice stroll not much harder than walking in the city
  • Trailblazers: If you want to be nice to your feet on this hike, they’ll need some more serious protection and support.
  • Hiking boots: Pull out the ugly shoes and summon your closet granola. This hike is going to kick your ass.

Tip #1: Do your own research. Boyfriends will often pretend to know nothing when the facts get in their way.

Tip #2: A fancy picnic lunch with smoked salmon, fresh bread, smelly cheese, and red wine is not optional, so stop at Cowgirl Creamery before hitting the trail and you’ll both be happier when the glucose levels drop.

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Alamere is one of my favorite hikes. I think I have it scheduled next April. If you are really into waterfalls, try “California Waterfalls” by Ann Marie Brown. As an side, check out my website. (which is down right now, but should be back up soon) I lead hikes once a month and many are in the bay area. We should join up some hike. You take great pictures. Mine are pretty sad and my website doesn’t even allow uploading of pictures.

also. what is it with boyfriends and hiking? i swear that my boyfriend and his friend always take the hardest possible way when we girlfriends go with them. but when the guys go buy themselves they go much easier way and keep to the trial. crazies. :)