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Waterfall

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.

Several trails are leading to the Alamere Falls. We'd chosen the shortest one. Continue reading to get all necessary information for an awesome hike and waterfall experience. During summer from July to September, the Park is often covered in fog while the inland has sunshine and warm temps.

Summer Fog at Point Reyes

Avoiding Crowds

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

Mid-week start your hike to the Alamare Falls around two to three hours before low tide depending on the trail you choose. At weekends and in the summer months start early to get a parking lot. 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.

Alamere Falls 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.

Point Reyes Pelican Lake for swimming

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.
     
  • Chimney Rock
    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 January to April. Humpback whales  migrate past Point Reyes from November to March. 
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.

Where to Stay (bookmark the links)

We recommend spending minimum two days in the Point Reyes National Seashore. The park has so much to offer; outstanding nature, wildlife, several hiking trails, and coastline. We'd been here already twice and still haven't seen all of its beauty. Situated inside the park is the HI Point Reyes Hostel. Next to the park in Olema is the quiet and lovely The Lodge of Point Reyes with an excellent restaurant. Probably the best accommodation in this area. 

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If visiting for hiking start early morning to beat the midday heat during summer. 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. They were not accessible in 2017 closed due to the powerful storms that flooded the Big Sur Coast with nearly 100 inches / 2540 mm of rain and remain closed. Opening was planned by February 2019 but it looks like they won't be open before mid-June 2019. Check closure

McWay Falls View from Highway One
Nearby along the Highwy One are the famous McWay Falls which can be already seen from the road

Weather

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 inches/ 1270 mm. Fog happens between May and October usually from the  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.

Camping 

Pfeiffer Big Sur Campground

If you like camping under the amazing redwood trees book the tent or RV site in advance at least 3 months before for the summer holidays even 6 months. Within the park are several campgrounds offering 189 tent and RV sites in total for $ 35-50 each night which includes the State Park fee of 10 $ (2019). From mid-June until September are two group campsites available which can accommodate up to 35 people. 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  

Best Accommodations at Big Sur
  • There are cozy little cabins and a campground as well just close to the Pfeiffer Big Sur Campground. The Riverside Campground and Cabins offers well equipped cottages with a kitchenette and bathroom and some share the facilities with the campground. It's beautiful located under redwood trees and an excellent alternative if the Pfeiffer Big Sur Campground is already fully booked,
  • Our luxury top tip is the Ventana Big Sur - An Alila Resort situated in a breathtaking scenery. The food at the on-site restaurant is incredible. You can really forget about everything except your time. Don't come here in a rush. You will love this cozy place and regret it if you stay here just for one night.
  • Excellent located at the park entrance is the Big Sur Lodge. The rooms are heated up with a cozy fireplace. The on-site restaurant offers tasty meals. Start your hike directly from the lodge and afterwards enjoy the outdoor pool during your stay.

 

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The best time to visit Dettifoss waterfall, depends on what you’re looking for: Total solitude and a fascinating landscape in winter or intense flow and pleasant temperatures in peak season during summer? Read on for the best tips:

Winter (mid-November – April): Less powerful flow but stunning snow and ice covered area. Also virtually no other tourists most of the time, especially in deep winter. Except maybe the small group you are travelling with. You definitely won’t have to fight for the best spots. Check out the amazing winter photos below. You'll also get a chance to see Northern Lights during this time. Please consider, that in winter a tour might be cancelled due to heavy snow storms. This might happen even in April.

Summer (June - August):  More powerful waterfall with a really intense flow and mild climate. Also the most daylight. However, it can get crowded. In the peak months from June to August it's often busy during the day. Particularly on the west bank.

Shoulder Months (May, September-October): Less crowded than in the peak summer month and less busy than other popular waterfalls in Iceland. However, Dettifoss attracts more tourists noow and you'll still be there with some others. 
 

Avoiding the Crowds


Just Chillin at Dettifoss by Vinnie Cartabiano, CC BY
Dettifoss is much less crowded than Gullfoss for example. However, especially in the summer there are still lots of tourists visiting Dettifoss. To enjoy the falls with less others go either earlier in the morning or later in the evening when most groups left already. If you only want to visit one side: The east side is quieter nowadays and less popular. The west side is more 'touristy'. 

Photography Tips

There is less daylight in winter. Only 5 hours in December (5-7 hours in Nov and Jan). However, some photographers love to go then, since the light is magnificent during that time. As if you've got almost 5 golden hours every day.

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Breathtaking! Multnomah Falls in Oregon is open again and definitely the most stunning waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge. However, 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.

Read our helpful season guide below or jump directly to the tips section:

 

Special Tip: If you're looking to do more than visiting Multnomah Falls in the Portland region, you'll love this Oregon guidebook: Fodor's Travel Oregon - Portland - Wineries - Waterfalls - Mountains. You'll also find sites in there, you probably couldn't have found without a guide. Now: Let's dive into the top tips before visiting Multnomah Falls:

How to Avoid the Crowds

  1. Avoid weekends and public holidays: Visit mid-week if your schedule allows it. There are even fewer people when the weather is bad, especially during pouring rain: It's a great experience to hike to the top in quality rain gear. The worst time in terms of crowds are the summer months (June, July, August). However, it usually starts to get extremely busy in spring (March, April, May) and it's still crowded in the fall (September, October). Visit during the week if you can!
  2. Be there early in the morning: The earlier you get there the better your chances of fewer tourists and getting a space to park. Maybe even right before sunrise, which is beautiful. Check times at Sunrise Sunset Troutdale. If you visit on a weekend be there around 7 a.m.! As of 2019 visitors report that it's already crowded around 9 a.m. and still quiet at 7 in the morning.
  3. 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'. However, that was a while ago. As of 2019 winters became a little busier. Still much less than in the warmer months.

Combine 1) + 2) 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. 

Highlight (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter)

Peak flow is 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. And while there is less flow in the summer, the falls seem higher in the 'dry' season. Less water does emphasize the height of the falls.  In the winter months, on the other hand, you can take amazing photos with a gorgeous waterfall covered in snow and ice. To sum it up: Regarding the waterfall itself, there isn't a bad season or month. Every season offers different but equally stunning photo opportunities. 

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The best time to visit Burney Falls? Find the answer right here. Additionally, we included  a complete guide with tips you must know! Although the park gets crowded in the pleasant summer months (read our crowd tips below) and cold in the winter, Burney Falls is an amazing year-round destination. The flow at 100 million gallons every day is excellent throughout the year. Other waterfalls have the most impressive flow during certain seasons only. The reason is its source from volcanic underground springs.

Make sure to scroll down to our '9 Top Tips and Facts' at the end of this article. 

Seasons Guide

The climate around Burney Falls is controlled by its predominantly mountainous topography. The highest elevation in the park is almost 3,100 feet (950 m). Please keep in mind that regardless of the season it’s cooler at the base of falls. Due to the mist visitors often say it feels about 10 degrees (about 5°C) colder down there at the pool.

 


Spring (March, April, May)

  • Weather: Mild, rainy in March
  • Crowds: Light in March, busier in April/May

Temperatures starting to rise, getting more pleasant. However, in March it’s often still chilly and drizzly (average high 57°F / 13°C). March is the month with the most rainfall in spring (early March snowfall is still possible). In April it’s getting a little warmer (average high 62°F / 17°C) and there is considerably less rain. But still, check the weather forecast and always bring a rain jacket and dress in layers as weather can change quickly. Although half of the trees at Burney Falls are coniferous and provide an evergreen forest year round, the other half (mostly California black oak) blooms in spring. Depending on the year and the varying temperatures, the trees begin to bud as the weather in April warms, leaves begin to shoot out and grow as we progress into and through May and by June the foliage is pretty full. There is also a period of nice flowering along the creek in mid-spring. Crowds: In April it starts to get busy, especially on weekends and public holidays, even more in May, when temperatures rise even more.

Summer (June, July, August, September)


Burney Falls (in July) by Jeff, PJ and Taiki, CC BY-ND

  • Weather: Warm and mostly dry
  • Crowds: Very crowded

Warm and lots of sunshine. The highest temperatures at Burney Falls can be experienced during the summer month with an average maximum of 89°F (30°C) in July and August. Even in September temperatures are still very pleasant. Rain is rare in the summer. When it gets hot in the summer months the waterfall and the mist at the pool provide some nice cooling effect. However, it can get chilly down at the falls at times, even in the summer months. Better bring an extra top. Highlight: In the morning with enough sunlight you can spot rainbow reflections in the mist above the pool. However, the waterfall itself is always in the shadow, even on the sunniest day. Unlike other waterfalls, Burney Falls has an impressive flow even during the dry summer months. It’s high season and heavily crowded, with a peak from mid-June until the end of August.

Fall (October, November)


'Burney Falls' (in October) by Piers Fearick, cropped, CC BY 2.0

  • Weather: Still pleasant, colder in November
  • Crowds: Lighter but still busy in September, less crowds in October

It gets colder but October is usually still pleasant (average high 69°F/21°C) while it’s getting chilly in November. There is also a possibility of snow later in November. The leaves start turning in October and you can experience the beautiful fall foliage with vibrant displays of gold, scarlet, and orange. Especially when you are down at the falls, you’ll spot beautiful reflections in the pool from the rich hues of autumn leaves. Although crowds start to dissipate slightly after Labor Day weekend, it’s still busy in September. In October crowds thin out even more, although it can still be busier on weekends. However, October is significantly less busy compared to summer and spring of course.

Winter (December, January, February)

  • Climate: Cold, snow, and ice
  • Crowds: Virtually none

It’s getting cold (average high 43°F / 6°C). However, even in the winter, it's a stunning experience when sometimes the whole park is covered with snow while the waterfall is still flowing.The mist from the falls is freezing in the trees, covering everything. It looks like you’re in a fairy tale. Also, tiny icicles decorate the cliff and make it even more gorgeous. A downside in the winter: Due to ice and snow it's sometimes impossible to get to the bottom to see the falls. This happens quite often from December to January and a few times in February. Even without snow, the path to the falls can be quite icy which makes it dangerous to walk down. Although there are some rails where you can hang on to, there is a danger of slipping. Especially kids or seniors should be very careful. Keep in mind that when you are down at the falls, it gets a lot colder because of the mist.

Avoiding Tourist Crowds


Theresa at McArthur–Burney Falls (Summer) by m01229, CC BY-SA, cropped
It can get very busy between April and October, especially on weekends and public holidays (California Public Holidays). The peak months with the highest visitation are from June to August. How to avoid the crowds and enjoy a much more pleasant stay at the falls:

Early / Weekday:
Try to go mid-week and be there around 8:30 or at least by 9 AM. Arrive even earlier if you visit on weekends. It usually gets crowded between 10 and 12 AM, with a constant stream of visitors on the trail into the afternoon. Particularly parking becomes quite difficult during peak season and on weekends. The parking lot is packed and tour buses come and go. Please note that if you park along Highway 89 outside of the park, your car can get towed! When you go on a weekday and combine it with getting there early, you’ll experience a much quieter park even in high season. Also, the light is perfect in the mornings until noon. If you visit in the winter months, it's possible to have this beautiful place all to yourself.

Sweet Spot Months:
In September after Labor Day (first Monday of Sept), the whole park gets a little quieter while it's usually still busy on weekends. The temperatures are still great and the light is wonderful. But still, try to visit mid-week in September if possible or be there early (see above). October is even better in terms of crowds. If you'd like to visit before the busy season starts, try late March or early April.

Opening Hours

Entrance fee: $8 - $10 (more info at the bottom of the article). Open From sunrise to sunset. In the summer from 6 AM - 6 PM. However, rangers at Burney Falls usually don't close at 6 PM sharp. 


Clothing (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter)

Depending on the season and climate you need different clothes at Burney Falls. In general, it's best to pack lightweight clothing items that work for every kind weather at the falls. It's also recommended to dress in layers if you visit in late autumn, winter or early spring, as it gets a lot colder when you are down at the falls. Dressing in layers allows you to make quick adjustments. We love to check Amazon Outdoor Clothes regularlyFrom our experience, they offer the best variety of high-quality clothes and other outdoor gear: Outdoor Recreation

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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 nearby Russel Falls in the Mount Field National Park. 

 

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