This hike is one for the bucket list. A beautiful hike from start to finish, Bolinas's Coastal Trail yields spectacular views of the ocean. And if awe-inspiring cliff-side views don't convince you, the hike's climax should seal the deal: a rare tidefall named Alamere Falls dropping 50 feet from cliff to beach.
This is a moderately difficult hike. No dogs or bikes allowed. Watch out for poison oak. To make an overnight trip of the hike, reserve a campsite at Wildcat Camp
The best time to visit this rare tidefall (a waterfall that runs directly into the ocean) is after a good rain, but the waterfall and killer views persist year-round.
Even with light flows in Alamere Creek, this is one of the Bay Area's most beautiful waterfalls. From the brink, it cascades 40 feet over rock to the beach below, cuts an ever-changing mosaic in the sand and then runs into the ocean. At moderate or high flows, it charges over the cliff in a wide sheet of whitewater. Just to the right of the waterfall's brink, try lying prone on the rock and then peer over the cliff. You can seemingly watch a single water droplet fall over the side and all the way down to the beach below.
Small paths leave Coast Trail to explore the handful of tiny ponds to the west. Descending, Coast Trail passes through a grove of alder trees as it continues toward Bass Lake. Small streams cross the trail and can be heard emptying into the Bass Lake watershed in winter and early spring. Willows thrive along the path, along with coyote brush, California coffeeberry, and ceanothus. On a sunny day in early February, dozens of California tortoiseshell butterflies floated through the sunshine; you may get a good look at them soaking up moisture from any muddy patches on the trail.