Waterfalls are beautiful and unique. Some of them are even more photogenic with the perfect sunlight or need a heavy rainfall to unfold its beauty.
It's a tourist trap with massive crowds almost year-round. Spring, summer and fall bring the most crowds. Especially when the weather is pleasant.
How to Avoid the Crowds
A) Avoid weekends and public holidays:
Visit mid-week. Even less people during pouring rain: It's a great experience to hike to the top in quality rain gear.
B) Be there in the morning around 7:30 AM (at least before 9 AM):
The earlier you get there the better your chances of less tourists and getting a space to park. Maybe even right before sunrise, which is beautiful. Check times at: Sunrise Sunset Troutdale
C) Visit in the winter from November until February:
It's usually much less busy. But still, try to be there in the morning to ensure a solitude experience. Winter is also beautiful snow covered. Check the winter photos below. Quote from an employee: ' In winter, I have sat in the visitor information office and not had 4 people all day'.
Combine A) + B) and it's possible to have the place almost for yourself even during high season. Make sure to hike the very top and not just walk to the bridge like most people. Even better: Hike the Multnomah - Wahkeena Loop (see below) to get away from the crowds at any time.
Peak flow in late winter and spring: Higher water levels increase the flow and intensity. In summer months the waterfalls aren't flowing as much. However, it does not dry up as much as other falls.
any time of year, but mostly in Spring or after rains....can be muddy on trail going down
During summer from July to September, the Park is often covered in fog while the inland has sunshine and warm temps.
It is quite a popular park due to the close location to San Francisco. The Alamare Falls are much loved, and the Palomarin car park already fills up early morning at weekends. If possible hike to the falls mid-week. If you can’t get a parking space, you have to queue or leave. Shoulder parking is not permitted.
Best time to start the hike:
Start your hike to the Alamare Falls around two to three hours before low tide depending on the trail you choose.
Tide times for the hike to the Alamere Falls or check at the Bear Valley Information Center
Tip for photographers:
Best light for a good shot of the falls is after midday.
If you do the hike on a hot summer day bring your bath cloth for swimming in the Pelican Lake, the last on the right on your way back.
Points of interest inside the park:
If hiking to the falls try to combine your visit with one of the other attractions depending on the day and month of your visit;
Point Reyes Lighthouse built in 1870
300 steps leading down to the picturesque lighthouse with a spectacular view if it is not foggy. Unfortunately, only open from Friday to Monday.
The overlook is close to the lighthouse to spot elephant seals while breeding during December to March. Many visitors want to observe the spectacle which causes much traffic and shuttle buses are offered.
Tule Elk Reserve on Tomales Point
These specific elks were reintroduced in 1978. It’s a more than 9 miles / 15 km hike on the peninsula to Tomales Bluff and back. A shorter option is the 2 miles / 3.2 km hike to Windy Gap and back where you may spot elks at a spring. The Tule Elk Rut Season from around August to late October/beginning of November is a spectacular time.
- Migrating gray whales can be spotted around the lighthouse and Chimney Rock between mid-January to mid-March and again late April/beginning of May together with their calves.
Weather / Climate:
Point Reyes has a coastal climate with dry summer and cool winter. Only very view rain occurs from mid-April to October. Most of the precipitation happens from December to March. It’s often windy at Point Reyes, and very strong winds are common in November and December. Fog occurs in summer mostly from July to September. If it’s hot in the backcountry, the fog might stay until the afternoon.
If visiting for hiking start early morning to beat the midday heat. We even spotted a gray fox close to the Lodge although they are nocturnal. Foxes, skunks, and raccoons can be seen during the night.
The Pfeiffer Falls are very popular either hike to them in the morning or late afternoon. At the moment they are not accessible, the trail is closed due to the powerful storms that flooded the Big Sur Coast with nearly 100 inches / 2540 mm of rain.
If you like camping under the amazing redwood trees book the tent or RV site in advance at least 3 months before. Reservations can be made six months in advance on the first day of the month. The campground is extremely popular even in the winter due to the mild climate. Click here for campground reservation
It’s a moderate cool coastal climate with moist air. The average temperature is between 50 to 65°F year-round. Most of the precipitation occurs from October to April with up to 50 inch / 1270 mm. Fog happens between May and October usually from evening until late morning. If it’s hot in the backcountry the fog might stay until the afternoon. It provides moisture for the redwoods along the coast in the dry summer months.
The Marriott Falls State Reserve is worth a visit year-round. Marriotts Falls are most spectacular during winter and spring after heavy rainfall.
The falls are still a hidden gem and not overrun like the Russel Falls in Mount Field N.P.
Start your hike before 2 p.m. You need enough time for the climb and to enjoy the waterfall. Best at low tide, at high tide the waterfall goes into the sea and it's difficult to get close due to the surf. Don't climb during or after rain it might be too slippery and dangerous.
Roseau tide times
Best months are during the dry season from December until April. This is also the peak tourist season. May is also possible: Less tourists on the island but also very hot and humid, which makes hiking more strenuous. Rainy season is from June to November with the possibilities of hurricanes and flash floods. This hike could be too dangerous during some days in the wet season. Driest month is March and wettest is August.