Woods, Water, Wildflowers

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls

The Coastal Trail to Alamere Falls is the most gorgeous hike I’ve done in the Bay area yet. The 8-mile loop is beautifully maintained, with constant changes in terrain, elevation, and plant life. There are bodies of water (lakes! waterfalls! the Pacific Ocean!); woods, lovely dark and deep; narrow, brambly passages on the trail; climbing down a rocky cliff face; a waterfall flowing onto the beach — interesting, interactive, and just plain gorgeous. This ranked up there with Cinque Terre as one of my favorite hikes — and to think! It’s just an hour drive away from the city.

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls

It’s really incredible how diverse the terrain and vegetation is along this trail. From one vantage point, you have a classic Pacific coastal view.

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls - Lake

Turn a corner, and you could be in upstate New York.

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls

Point Reyes - Coastal Trail to Alamere Falls

So lush & green! It hardly seems like California.

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls - Tree

This tree fell in the perfect place to mark a gateway from one landscape to the next. Once you pass under it, the scenery changes from grassy greenery to a tall forest lined with ferns.

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls - Ferns

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls Trail

This sign invites you to branch off the Coastal Trail into a brambly section that in parts is hedged so tightly that you can’t even pass someone going in the opposite direction. At one point, having gone about halfway deep into a narrow passageway, we had to back up when we met hikers coming towards us.

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls

It was quite romantic, in an Anne of Green Gables way.

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls

Once we came out of the bramble to the open ocean views, we scrambled down rocks to get to the falls.

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls

See where that lady is coming down (upper-right)? Here’s what it looks like:

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls

This view was pretty and all, but then we were like:

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls

So, how do we get down there?

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls

Picnicking and “hanging out” at the cliff’s edge.

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls - Cliff

We scrambled down the cliff to get to the beach. As you can see from the ginormous pile of shards at the bottom, the rock face is quite loose, and pieces of it came right off when I tried to get a handhold. It’s doable, but better with hiking boots for sure!

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls - Beach

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls - Beach

Dipping your toes in the ocean never felt so good.

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls

Absolutely gorgeous. This was sheer happiness. I’m really getting spoiled living out here!

Plus: the fact that wildflowers were everywhere made this daytrip absolutely perfect. Because I love wildflowers.

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls

Learning about wildflowers When I visited the Lake District in England, I took photographs of pages and pages out of our host’s book on wildflowers because I wanted to learn the names. Some Google searching helped me identify some of the flowers I saw yesterday, but on the whole these databases are overwhelming. A fairly helpful photo gallery of wildflowers in Northern California. A National Park Service PDF on flowers you can find in Point Reyes. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. And other searchable-by-name databases on California flora. But I think I’ll buy a book and be done with it. There really is such a thing as too much information!

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls - Morning Glories
Convolvulaceae / morning glory
Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls
Orobanchaceae / which has the very unfortunate alternate name of broom-rape

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls - Wildflowers

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls - Berries

We saw lots of too-bright berries along the trail that screamed “Eat me and DIE!”

Side note: there is also lots of poison oak along the trail, so beware! Long sleeves and long pants recommended.

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls - Flowers

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls - Flowers

Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls - Flowers
Fabaceae / legume family on the left (I think?), and Polypod on the right
Point Reyes Coastal Trail - Alamere Falls - Wildflowers
Thistle
Ice Plant / carpobrotus edulis
Ice Plant / carpobrotus edulis
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4 thoughts on “Woods, Water, Wildflowers

    1. Yes, and such a beautiful day! I hear that the water”fall” is just a trickle in dry seasons, so we were lucky in terms of timing!

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