From a waterfall spilling into the Pacific Ocean to a series of cascading falls through redwood groves, some of Northern California’s most spectacular hikes are only a short drive from Napa Valley. Here are some postcard-worthy waterfalls to explore just beyond wine country.
Part of the Point Reyes National Seashore in nearby Marin County, Alamere Falls is a dramatic 30-foot tall waterfall that is difficult to reach. Get an early start and park at the Palomarin Trailhead located at the end of Mesa Road in the town of Bolinas. Follow the Coast Trail for 2.5 miles until you reach Bass Lake, where you may catch swimmers taking a dip on a hot day. After a quick swim, continue on the trail for another 1.5 miles until you reach Alamere Falls. The long eight mile there-and-back trek is worth it, as this beautiful coastal waterfall is a rare tidefall, plunging right into the ocean. For more safety and travel information, visit the National Park Service website.
This moderate 2.6-mile round-trip trail will bring you by several cascading waterfalls throughout the forest in the shadow of Mount Tamalpais. Pick up Cataract Trail at Bolinas Fairfax Road and begin your moderate uphill hike through shady redwoods. Take a break at the picnic area by the creek before you begin descending towards the upper falls. You’ll cross the creek several times on this dog-friendly trail, so quick-drying water shoes are recommended by some hikers. For a quieter hike, make sure to arrive early, as this trail is known to fill up fast.
Tucked amid huge boulders and lush greenery within Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in Sonoma County is the beautiful 25-ft Sonoma Creek Fall. If you are able to get one of the few parking spots along Adobe Canyon Road beyond the Goodspeed Trailhead, you can reach the waterfall in as little as a third of a mile via the easy-access Lower Canyon Trail. If not, park near the visitor center and take the Upper Canyon Trail down to the falls. The walk is under a half-mile each way, but is quite steep. For a longer hour-long hike, begin at the Pony Gate Trail and take the rocky terrain until you meet up with Canyon Trail. Prepare to pay the $8 parking fee.
Want to chase more waterfalls? Check out these Napa Valley waterfall hikes. After a day of exploring some of Northern California’s roaring falls, stay with the Wine Country Inn & Cottages for a relaxing retreat in the heart of Napa Valley.