It was 70 and sunny and I was standing on the beach. Any hike that includes such a moment is a success in my book.

This was my umpteenth trek to Alamere Falls, part of the Point Reyes National Seashore and a place that never gets old. In winter, spring, summer and fall, it’s a worthwhile hike. For one thing, the absolute only way to reach the falls on land is by hiking about eight miles round-trip to get there. But don’t be dissuaded if the distance sounds a bit much. It’s an easy path with only a couple of gradual ascents. Other than the very prevalent poison oak, no reason for even novice hikers not to check out this trail as a day hike. We added a loop to the Wildcat Campground further north up the coast which probably made the day about 12 miles or so.

Along the hike, someone noted that the falls is actually a “tidefalls,” which means it’s a fairly rare example of a waterfall going directly into the ocean. I hadn’t heard the term, but it’s an accurate description. Fortunately, the tide was out so we could stand/sit on the beach and enjoy a rare midwinter “cocktails ‘n’ sand-in-your-toes” outing. If you hit this hike at the wrong time of day, you can be forced to stay on the cliffs about 50 feet overhead and not get a chance to come down to the beach at all.

After a previous waterfalls hike, someone sent me a link to a website that had the “10 Most Beautiful Waterfalls in the World” featured. Nice to see ol’ Alamere Falls in the #3 spot. A truly local treasure.

Update: A reader noted that directions to some of these hikes would be helpful. Indeed. I usually just type the trail name into Google and follow the map that way, but for those who have been around Point Reyes but are not familiar with Alamere Falls, here’s how to get there: Just north of the town of Bolinas on Olema-Bolinas Road is Mesa Road to the west. Follow it until it ends, about 4-plus miles. You’ll pass a large Coast Guard communications station as well as the Point Reyes Bird Observatory. And the end of the road is the large parking lot and trailhead for Alamere Falls. Outdoor facilities available.

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