Oceanview trek’s sensory pleasures reward at every turn.
This hike north of the town of Bolinas follows a section of the Coastal Trail to Bass Lake and Alamere Falls. If you’re not up for the full hike to the falls (8 miles round-trip), just follow the portion to scenic Bass Lake (5 miles round-trip). Even if you only walk a mile or so, you’ll be rewarded with ocean and wildlife views.
Access the Coastal Trail at the Palomarin Trailhead (directions below). You’ll soon come upon a grove of tall eucalyptus, some with intertwined trunks supporting numerous sturdy stalks. Courtesy of the ocean breeze on this Pacific-view trail, you can smell their strong scent before you encounter them. In spring, wildflowers accentuate the visual drama, which at any time of year you might find yourself observing alongside a squirrel or small fox while hummingbirds flit by.
This eucalyptus-scented interlude sets the stage for the sensory pleasures found farther along at Bass Lake (2.5 miles one-way) and Alamere Falls (about 4 miles one-way).
Tip: If you follow the trail all the way to the falls, which cascade right onto the beach, keep in mind that the last half mile includes rocky slopes hikers not in shape or nimble enough may find tough to negotiate. The National Park Service has more info about this part (scroll to bottom of page).
Coastal Trail to Bass Lake and Alamere Falls Details
Difficulty level: Easy, except for final (moderate) approach to Alamere Falls.
Why locals love it: Those views; wildlife; spring flowers.
Cut to the chase: At the eucalyptus grove, veer off the Coastal Trail on the Palomarin Beach Trail 0.6 mile to Palomarin Beach and then return to the parking lot.
Reward yourself: Backtrack on Mesa Road to the Olema-Bolinas Road and head south (right) into Bolinas for a meal and a dose of local color at the Coast Cafe.
To reach the Palomarin Trailhead from Bolinas, take the Olema-Bolinas Road north and Mesa Road west. Mesa Road dead-ends at the trailhead.
Mesa Rd., Bolinas 94924
More Hikes Locals Love
Battery Mendell to Battery Townsley
Coastal, Wolf Ridge, Miwok Trails Loop
East Peak Mount Tamalpais
Mount Tamalpais Muir Woods Loop
Olompali State Park
Rodeo Lagoon to Point Bonita Lighthouse
Rodeo Lagoon Trail Loop
Roy’s Redwoods Open Space Preserve
Steep Ravine to Matt Davis Loop
Tule Elk Preserve