Hiking in West Marin
Point Reyes Lighthouse (1.2 miles)
Start at the lighthouse parking lot and head uphill past the gate. The visitor center is half a mile in (open Thursday–Monday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.). If you can, climb the 308 stairs at the lighthouse. The viewing platform is one of the best places in Marin to see the gray whale migration in early January.
Hwy 101 to Sir Francis Drake Blvd exit. West on Sir Francis Drake to Olema. Right on Hwy 1 for 200 yards. Left on Bear Valley Rd. Left on Sir Francis Drake past Inverness to the headlands.
Bolinas Ridge (11.5 miles one way)
What many of us know as a picturesque undulating ridge above our beloved Stinson Beach is the consequence of millions of years of plate tectonics on the northern section of the San Andreas fault. The Bolinas Ridge Trail rises from Olema and continues through cow pastures and redwood forests as it runs parallel to Shoreline Highway and ends at Ridgecrest Boulevard on Mount Tamalpais. Vistas include Bolinas Lagoon, Inverness Ridge, Tomales Bay, and Black Mountain. The wide path is shared by bike riders, horses and hikers. Dogs on leash OK.
Hwy 101 to Sir Francis Drake Blvd exit. Head west on Sir Francis Drake Blvd toward Olema. The trailhead is about three miles past the entrance to Samuel P. Taylor Park.
Coast Trail to Alamere (8.2 miles)
This out-and-back hike is more about the destination than the journey, but the journey is pretty darn good. Start at the southern entrance to Point Reyes National Seashore at the Palomarin trailhead. Travel north along the gradually sloped and well- maintained Coast Trail. Admire the beautiful Pacific views before turning inland, where the journey continues past two scenic lakes, the first being Bass. Just past the second, Pelican Lake, look for the small path that veers left toward the bluffs
and eventually to Alamere Falls. Watch for poison oak on this part of the trail, as the path is not maintained. Hike down to the upper portion of the falls to get a memorable view of the falls dropping off the bluffs.
If you are feeling surefooted, scramble down the cliff to the beach to get the full magnitude of the falls as it takes its last drop of 40 feet onto the beach sand. Rain and tides can make access tricky, so plan accordingly. Dogs OK on leash.
North on Shoreline Hwy past Stinson Beach and left on the unmarked Bolinas-Olema Rd. Continue left at the Horseshoe Hill Rd intersection. Right on Mesa and continue several miles to the Palomarin trailhead parking lot (the last mile on dirt road).