Point Reyes + Hiking Alamere Falls
I hope you guys don’t mind that we’re taking a break from the recipes today! I’ve been wanting to share pictures from our time exploring Point Reyes since our family came to visit last year and after our recent hike to Alamere Falls, now seemed like the perfect time.
If you’ve never been to this part of Northern California, it definitely deserves a spot on your list. Looking out at the Pacific Ocean from here makes it feel so vast and expansive, almost like there is no beginning and no end.
We took our family to visit the Point Reyes Lighthouse back in November and it turned out to be a memorable day. It started with lunch at the Station House Café in Point Reyes Station before making the hour drive to the coast. I ordered the house-made veggie burger and Brandon went for a salad with creamy polenta grits and greens.
I actually ate about half of his meal because it was so good. Seriously, that was probably the best polenta I’ve ever had. Be sure to stop here if and/or when you visit!
From there we made the beautiful, albeit very curvy drive to the lighthouse. If you like cows this is the place to see them, outside and roaming free. There are a ton of dairy farms in this area and we even saw a mama cow giving birth out in a field!
Point Reyes is also known as the windiest place on the Pacific Coast and it was in full force the day we were there. Bundled in layers with hoodies on, we made the trek down the 300 steps to the lighthouse to take in the magnificent views.
As we were leaving, we spotted a group of Tule Elk grazing at sunset. They’re such majestic animals. I would have happily made the drive out just to watch them!
So that was back in November of last year. Fast forward to earlier this week, we decided to make the trip back to Point Reyes to hike to Alamere Falls. The hike is roughly 8 miles round-trip which, in addition to the two hour drive to get there, is a little too long for us to leave Coco at home alone. Instead we decided to stay in Petaluma which is only an hour away from the trailhead. This also allowed us to take advantage of the time to visit the wine country. Hiking and wine. Not a bad combo, right?
First off, we made the 30-minute drive north to Healdsburg for lunch at a place called Shed. I wanted to visit Shed not only because of it’s appealing farm-to-table cuisine and fermentation bar(!), but also because of their adorable market that’s filled with goods for foodies alike. Let me tell you, I had to practice some serious self-restraint from buying all the things!
The food was interesting, to say the least. But in a good way! My salad was made with edible flowers and our potatoes were garnished with what looked like grass. It really felt like they foraged in the wild for our meal.
After that we paid a visit to Christopher Creek Winery which has an open-air patio with a beautiful view of the surrounding hills. The service and the wine were both amazing. Plus they’re pet friendly so we were able to enjoy a tasting outside with Coco while taking in the view.
The next morning we started the 8-mile out-and-back hike to Alamere Falls at the Palomarin Trailhead. Unfortunately we didn’t see any whales that day but we did luck out with great weather! It was in the high 60’s without a cloud in the sky.
The beginning of the trail is wide open without many trees to block the sun, but eventually it dips into the forest to offer plenty of shade and lush greenery.
Once you reach Pelican lake (pictured above) you should be approximately 4 miles in. Not too far from this point is the trailhead for Alamere Falls, which we passed the first time thanks to confusion from all of the graffiti. It says the trail is unmaintained but considering that it’s so popular, it really wasn’t all that bad.
When you reach the falls, you’ll have to do a bit of climbing to get down. The first set is fairly easy to get to but the big daddy that flows into the ocean requires a little more maneuvering.
The picture above is the wall that you have to scale to get down to the beach. Most everyone that was there that day didn’t seem to have much trouble getting down. I would rate it a 7 on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the most challenging.
For what it’s worth, the prize at the bottom is definitely worth the trouble.
We sat down in the sand for a picnic lunch and got hit with a huge wave that washed ashore, hence the reason why I didn’t take any pictures of our food. Take it from me, sit as close to the wall as possible if you don’t want to get wet!
Thankfully we managed to salvage most of the food and enjoyed our lunch with wet bottoms. After that we made the climb back up which left me gasping for air. Brandon thought it was an opportune time to take my picture.
On the way back to the car, I tried to take in every moment amongst the soothing scent of the eucalyptus trees. That is a smell that can’t be bottled, my friends!
That is an incredible view! I love hiking along the Pacific. It’s just so relaxing and calming. That burger is pretty incredible too.
Ok, this I have to add to our bucket list!!
Beautiful pictures! :)
Thank you, Jerliyn! Nature made it easy for me. ;)
Hello gorgeous! I was totally lusting after your adventures over Snapchat, and I’ve pretty much decided that I need to get my butt back to the Pacific Coast. I’ve always loved Oregon and Northern Cali, and there’s so much left that I haven’t explored yet! I’ll watch out for the waves, though ;)
Those waves were no joke! ;)
I was lusting over your mountain adventures today. Those mountains are stunning!!
You captured the beauty of Point Reyes beautifully Sarah and I love the moody sky in those first few shots; peaceful and dramatic at the same time. It is one of our favorite places to explore but I haven’t spent time investigating the foodie scene there yet – we should really commit a weekend and visit the Station House Café & Alamere Falls. So much to discover in that area. Eucalyptus… have you tried hanging a few branches in the shower? – (I just suspend it with elastic/cord from the shower head) the humidity draws out the scent for weeks ♥
Thank you, Kelly! The food was really fresh, thanks to all of the farms located nearby. It’s such a wonderful place.
And yes, I have done that with the eucalyptus! It was years ago though, I need to do it again. It makes the shower smell so good! :)
Wow, those views are so amazing! When I was in CA in September, I was amazed at how gorgeous those cliffs by the ocean are. That’s just not something we have here on the East coast. I could totally get used to having that near by!
It is so different than the East Coast! I grew up on the beach in Florida and I’m constantly reminded of it. It might be stunning but it’s much colder and windier!
Your travel posts are some of my very favorites! Especially when it’s close by. I love Alamere Falls. I did it a few years ago with my best friend and want to do it again with David but he hates hiking without Ryder. I wish more places allowed dogs! When I went, I was way too scared to actually go down to the beach though.
I’m so glad you guys had a good time visiting the area. I’ll have to add Christopher Creek to my bucket list of wineries. It looks really beautiful there.
There was actually a dog there when we went! Maybe because it was a weekday and it wasn’t as busy. Also, the climb down might have been harder when you went. I think I read on one of the hiking sites that it used to be worse than it is now, because of erosion or something.
I hope you’re having a great weekend, Kelli!
Beautiful landscape; I love waterfalls and hike to them whenever possible. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks Pam! :)
So.many.gorgeous.photos!! From delicious looking eats to the hiking views, I’m loving this post! I’m a big lover of waterfall hikes. They’re so neat to see and always make the hike more satisfying to me!
We’ve been to the Point Reyes lighthouse and I can’t wait to go back and look at those breathtaking views (which you’ve captured perfectly)! I would love to visit the falls, too — that looks so beautiful!
Sublime, Sarah! I’ve not been to Alamere Falls… we just couldn’t squeeze it in on our trip last Fall. But when we come back, it will be a destination to explore. A hike worthy of the effort for sure. Wine and hiking would be my ideal weekend, anytime, too. Over and above just about anything else. You’ve beautifully captured the scenes. I can’t wait to go! Now I just need to find some eucalyptus so I can suspend them in the shower (thank you Kelly!). :D What a fabulous trip!
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