Two breathtaking tidefalls on California’s coast to add to your bucket list immediately!
Although the smoggy city has managed to cement itself in our hearts for life, sometimes switching up the skyscrapers for cliffside havens and fresh air is the break we need to appreciate it all the more. And what better way to take in the awe-inspiring natural beauty along the West Coast, than with two of only three tidefalls in the whole of the United States?
While L.A. is home to a fair amount of alluring waterfalls, thanks to relentless heat reducing them to mere streams, they tend to be rather elusive. Not to mention the task of navigating the tricky surrounding terrain in the hopes that you reach it before it dries up again. So when you have a waterfall spilling over into a beautiful sandy beach (which is what a coastal waterfall or a tidefall refers to) that merges with the ocean, not only is an incredibly rare sight, but you’re guaranteed flow all year long.
Californians are blessed with two of these marvels, the famous McWay Falls in Big Sur and Alamere Falls in Marin County. While Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, where McWay is located, is currently closed due to the wildfires, you can still plan for your next road trip.
1. Alamere Falls
We know the quest to find cascading beauties is at least half the excitement, the thrill of finding the treasure often lies in the journey. This is why this lesser-known gem in Bolinas is a real treat. The 40ft fall is a beautiful creek that cascades over the bluff and onto Wildcat Beach below. During its heaviest flow, it can sometimes reach up to 25 feet wide.
You’ll need to hike 7 miles (so it’s a 14-mile roundtrip) but it’s mostly flat, wildly scenic, and, of course, well worth it. The trail starts at Point Reyes National Seashore where you can park free of charge and begin the hike at Palomarin Trailhead. You’ll want to bring snacks, plenty of water, your swimsuit and a camera for this adventure.
Location: Palomarin Trailhead, Bolinas, CA
2. McWay Falls
If you’re planning a road trip along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway then you’ll undoubtedly be heading to one of the most recognizable coastal waterfalls in the world. McWay Falls may be incredibly popular, but it’s for good reason. Onlookers will be able to view the 80-foot fall plunging from the granite cliff into the Pacific below. The beach, Saddle Rock and Mcway Falls within Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park are strictly off-limits, but the panoramic views from the Overlook Trail and higher elevations along the trails east of Highway 1 will take your breath away.