Sometimes life can be chaotic, and you just need a small break to step back, relax and reflect. This is exactly how I felt after I took my last final in the fall. People would describe me as a pretty anxious person that stresses way too easily. During RRR week and finals week, I went through a roller coaster of emotions and reached rock bottom when I found myself sobbing in Moffitt’s fifth floor restroom stall after one of my finals. I reached the last stretch of the race, but I could find neither the energy nor the motivation to finish. I was burnt out.
Fast forward to me taking my last final and finally getting the taste of freedom, but I still felt this weight on my chest that wouldn’t allow me to fully breathe yet. For me, being surrounded by the beauty and tranquility of nature is where I feel the most calm and relaxed. It’s where I am able to forget about the things going wrong in my life and just live in the moment — something I don’t do enough.
I did a Google search of “the best hiking trails in the Bay Area” and quickly found Alamere Falls. The next day, I dragged my friend to join me on one of the best hikes I’ve ever been on. Period.
We started our hike from the Palomarin Trailhead, which is about 45 miles (1.5 hours) away from Berkeley. I have to warn you, the drive there is pretty windy and narrow, and when you get closer to the trailhead, the road becomes unpaved and bumpy. But you’ll be surrounded by the view of trees, lakes and beaches the entire time, so it’s definitely worth it! There is a parking lot located at the trailhead and because we went during a weekday, it was pretty empty. There are restrooms located at the parking lot, which you should utilize because there are no restrooms on the trail. Once you reach the trailhead, follow the signs toward Coast Trail. This will lead you to Wildcat Beach, where Alamere Falls is located.
The hike to Alamere Falls from the Palomarin Trailhead is moderate and about seven miles. There is one long and steep hill, but you’ll get an amazing view of the coast the entire time.
Throughout the hike, you’ll encounter shaded areas, where you’re surrounded by trees and woodlands, and unshaded areas, where you’ll be able to get a glimpse of the astonishing Pacific Ocean and the beautiful Bass Lake and Pelican Lake. Once you reach Wildcat Campground, you’ll take a short hike down to Wildcat Beach and take a left (south) toward Alamere Falls.
I absolutely love Wildcat Beach. It’s honestly the most stunning and astonishing beach I’ve ever seen. Unlike many beaches in San Francisco and Marin County, Wildcat Beach is pretty deserted, as you can only reach it by foot. Therefore, you can enjoy the sound of the crashing waves without any distractions. I would recommend packing a lunch and eating it once you reach the beach. I’ve never felt more content than when I was sitting on the beach, watching the tides crashing in and feeling the ocean breeze combing through my hair and over my entire body. It was a blissful moment.
After we finished our lunch, we walked along the beach to Alamere Falls. Make sure you go during low tide, or you won’t make it without being soaked! Altogether, the hike to Alamere Falls and back took us about eight hours. So come prepared with snacks, water and a jacket, as it might get a little chilly on the beach. We started our hike around 10 a.m., so as we hiked back to Palomarin Trailhead, we were able to catch the sunset. This is definitely a hike I would recommend to all my friends. If we had to quantify it, it was a 10/10 hike that will make you happy and will bless your eyes with the beauty of nature!
Contact Kelly Fong at [email protected].