In 2008 I spent 6 months abroad studying in Lausanne, Switzerland. Clair, one of my friends from my time in Switzerland, was in town last weekend. This was his second time in the Bay Area, and, like the last time he was here, we went on a hike. Last year we went to Berry Falls in Big Basin and this year we continued the waterfall theme, but added in some ocean and beach.

Like our previous trip, we picked up our lunch along the way. (This time at Shervin's favorite deli in San Bruno.) After an intense parking experience at the crowded parking lot, we started off along the trail and passed a pair of lakes before arriving at the junction with the Alamere Falls trail. Although the sign indicated that the trail was not actively maintained, we saw signs of recent pruning and later decided that the unmaintained status was all about the descent to the beach rather than the trail to that point.

Overlooking the falls

Instead of eating lunch at the trailhead when we arrived, we decided to eat somewhere along the trail. Unfortunately, we didn't find any lunch spots until we were near the beach. Around 3:30 p.m., we lunched midway down the descending trail to the beach in the plateau just above the falls. At this height we were flanked by waterfalls. The quintessential Alamere Falls is right along the beach, but there are quaint upper falls that is slightly higher than our lunch spot.

After our late lunch we made our way down to sea level where we could properly enjoy the falls. The second descent into the falls is easily the sketchiest part of the trip. On the way down we took it as slowly as we could, but on the return trip the wind blew sand into our eyes greatly increasing the difficulty of the scramble. That said; Alamere Falls is definitely worth doing the scramble!

Shervin, Clair's friend, found what we first thought might be bits of plastic bottles if it weren't for the sheer quantity and constancy of them. After some examination we decided they might be jellyfish; however, as we didn't see any tentacles, we weren't sure if they truly were or even if they were still alive. Unwilling to risk a sting but still curious, we gently pushed one into the surf, but there was no change. A quick internet search at home revealed that what we saw were velella velella, which are closely related to jellyfish. Recent currents have brought swarms of them to the California coastline.

The saturation attempt

After admiring the massive quantities of velella velella along the coastline and walking a decent length of the beach, we started our return trip. We again passed the lakes and walked along the coastline. Once we got into the forest of Eucalyptus trees near the parking lot, Bryan and Shervin found a small, black and yellow snake when it crossed the trail.


Distance: 9.06 mi
Elevation Gain/Loss: 2140 ft
GPS Elevation Profile


Lovely hike! There's some ocean, some lakes, and, of course, some water falls. What's not to like? Well, other than needing to wear long pants to avoid poison oak exposure, nothing that we could find.

This was our first time to the southern part of Point Reyes, and it was just as beautiful as Tomales Point in the north.

As one can imagine, we are looking forward to Clair's next visit and the hike we'll do!


+ Deluxe Takeout Sandwiches

+ Trail Mix