Everything to know about the Bay Area hike

The whole lot to know concerning the Bay Space hike

Alamere Falls is nothing wanting gorgeous. A 40-foot waterfall surrounded by majestic cliffs, the waters from Alamere Creek drop straight onto Wildcat Seaside after which into the Pacific Ocean. Considered one of solely a handful of tidefalls on the earth — waterfalls that spill straight into an ocean — Alamere Falls is on many hikers’ bucket lists, accessible from the Level Reyes Nationwide Seashore in Marin County.

Earlier than setting out on any hike, together with the lengthy and reasonably difficult hike to Alamere Falls, a number of planning steps and ideas could make a distinction between a cheerful hike and a depressing one.

Spoiler alert: The largest tip is to not use the harmful “Alamere Fall’s Shortcut;” SFGATE’s editor in chief discovered the laborious method about its perils.

How lengthy is the hike to Alamere Falls?

There are three important beginning factors, or trailheads, that result in Alamere Falls: Bear Valley, 5 Brooks and Palomarin. Although the space varies a bit from every start line, count on the hike to be roughly seven miles a method, or about 14 miles spherical journey.  A hike from Palomarin is 13.2 miles spherical journey; 5 Brooks is 15.6 miles spherical journey; and Bear Valley is 14.8 miles spherical journey.

The hike is acceptable for hikers of all ages who’re match sufficient to go the space in a day. Alternatively, you may break the hike up into two components by spending the night time at Wildcat Campground. This may increasingly additionally show a very good technique in timing the tides (extra on that beneath).

What’s the very best path to Alamere Falls?

Earlier than hitting the paths, we advise consulting the Nationwide Park Service on-line mountain climbing information for Alamere Falls. We additionally recommend printing topographical maps which can assist you to monitor the place you’re going as you hike alongside, and think about different routes all through. Another choice is to talk with a ranger and decide up a map on the Bear Valley Customer Middle (test hours earlier than you go.)

For the needs of this text, I made a decision to start out on the Bear Valley Customer Middle, following the Bear Valley Path to Wildcat Campground and onto the northern arm of the Coast Loop Path to the falls overlook. (The tide was in so I couldn’t entry the falls from the seaside — learn on for extra about tides.) By the point I arrived on the overlook, my pedometer instructed me I’d already hiked 7.9 miles. On the return, hoping to keep away from the steep uphill from Wildcat Campground, I took the Previous Out Highway Path, looping left to hook into the Stewart Path and proper onto the Glen Path earlier than returning to the Bear Valley Path. Doing this added three-tenths of a mile to the hike, however I think I moved quicker because the grade was gentler. All in, I clocked 16.1 miles.

Having printed maps of the paths and the Level Reyes Nationwide Seashore proved to be useful and reassuring throughout my hike. I had no cell service after leaving Bear Valley Customer Middle till I reached the ocean, after which service solely got here again whereas I used to be standing at a vista level about three quarters of a mile north of the falls. Others I handed on the hike had intermittent cell service and had been capable of entry on-line mapping instruments, comparable to AllTrails. (For a payment, you may obtain AllTrails maps forward of time so that they’re accessible offline. This, and printed maps, might be invaluable when navigating in a pinch.)

In the event you do select to make use of AllTrails as a information, remember to think about the trailhead you might be ranging from earlier than deciding on the route. Situations differ alongside every path and the so-called “Alamere Falls Shortcut” is not part of a hike from 5 Brooks or Bear Valley – do not take this.

A smaller waterfall within the cliffs above Alamere Falls in Marin, Calif., on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021.

Charles Russo/SFGATE

Climbing on Wildcat Seaside

Among the best methods to expertise Alamere Falls is from beneath, getting an oceanside view from Wildcat Seaside, which might be accessed from Wildcat Camp. The seaside right here is slender, nonetheless. When the tide is in, the water will come proper as much as the cliff edge. Relying on the tides, there is a threat of getting caught by a wave and pushed into the rock face, or trapped on the cliff by a rising tide. That is avoidable by checking a tide chart and planning your arrival to the seaside at low tide solely. The surf might be tough at any time of yr and must be a consideration earlier than strolling alongside the seaside to the tidefall.  

Is mountain climbing to Alamere Falls laborious?

By most accounts, a hike to Alamere Falls is tough not as a result of it’s significantly steep or technically difficult, however as a result of it’s lengthy. Most paths are huge — some components of the trail are even previous entry roads — and well-traveled. Due to the space concerned, the hike can appear extra strenuous because the day wears on and our bodies tire, even for the fittest hikers.

SFGATE editor in chief Grant Marek traverses a stream leading to Alamere Falls in Marin, CA, on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021.

SFGATE editor in chief Grant Marek traverses a stream resulting in Alamere Falls in Marin, CA, on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021.

Charles Russo/SFGATE

Relying on the time of yr you hike, circumstances might be fairly muddy, and timber and branches could block your path, necessitating a scramble. Situations may require parking exterior of the sanctioned parking areas, including time and distance to the hike. Elements of the path could also be muddy or impassable after moist climate. And, after all, chances are you’ll get soaked by the ocean if you don’t time your hike on the seaside to match low tide.

We have seen youngsters on this hike, however principally those that have some mountain climbing expertise, are a bit older and have loads of snacks and a affected person guardian guiding them. This hike might not be appropriate for youthful youngsters or individuals who have issue with mobility.

Situations at Alamere Falls

Like San Francisco, the Marin coast is legendary for its fog and wildly altering circumstances. Layers are all the time beneficial, together with a heat hat, windbreaker and gloves ought to the fog roll in. Lengthy pants are virtually all the time beneficial for mountain climbing in wilderness areas to maintain out issues like ticks and poison oak, each of that are plentiful within the Level Reyes Nationwide Seashore. Sturdy sneakers or mountain climbing boots that may deal with mud, sand, excessive grass and scrambling over downed timber are additionally a good suggestion.

SFGATE editor in chief Grant Marek walks the Palomarin Trail in search of Alamere Falls in Marin, Calif., on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021.

SFGATE editor in chief Grant Marek walks the Palomarin Path searching for Alamere Falls in Marin, Calif., on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021.

Charles Russo/SFGATE

The notorious “Alamere Falls shortcut”

SFGATE’s editor in chief Grant Marek beforehand reported on a problematic shortcut to the falls, a route mentioned to lop six miles off the hike, turning a 13- or 14-plus miler into an eight-mile hike. The shortcut follows an unsanctioned path that isn’t maintained by the park service and is topic to frequent erosion. It’s simple to journey, slide and fall; emergency helicopter rescues have change into a standard incidence on this route. Climbing this route additionally damages native natural world. This shortcut shouldn’t be beneficial by the park service. 

The great thing about a hike to Alamere Falls

Any time spent outdoor incorporates some aspect of hazard, however a little bit of prior planning means a day of enjoyment, not concern. Many individuals go to the falls in winter months, when Alamere Creek, which feeds Alamere Falls, is commonly full, making for a spectacular waterfall.

One of the crucial magical issues about this hike is that, if the tide is correct, you may swim within the ocean proper from the seaside. Alamere Falls splashes over the cliff edge so there is not actually a strategy to swim below the falls, however you may cool your toes within the creek’s recent water because it makes its method the quick distance to the ocean. We promise, it is an extremely memorable expertise, and a good way to reward your toes for making all of it that method.

This story was edited by Hearst Nationwide Editor Kristina Moy; you may contact her at kristina.moy@hearst.com.

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