The Coast Trail - South begins from the Palomarin Trailhead and parking area in a eucalyptus grove. The wide doubletrack trail starts out nearly level, crossing small creeks and offering views of the ocean. After a moderate climb, the trail passes a handful of seasonal ponds and approaches the northern edge of beautiful Bass Lake
. To visit the lake, keep going until you reach the Bass Lake Connector
, about 100 yards after you first glimpse the lake. Popular with picnic-ers, anglers, and swimmers- it can feel very crowded on summer weekends. Off-peak times are more relaxing, with ducks and other waterbirds paddling about.
Just after the junction with Crystal Lake trail, the descent starts with a spectacular vision of Pelican Lake perched high on a bluff. The Pacific Ocean peeks out between two hills (called Double Point) that form a "V." Hard to describe, easy to enjoy! A spur trail goes from here to the craggy overlook of Double Point, a favorite place for whale watching in March.
For many people, Alamere Falls is the highlight of this trail. To visit the unique spectacle of a waterfall crashing directly on to the beach on an incoming tide, follow the Alamere Falls
trail description. Once you're finished admiring Mother Nature's work on the falls, return to the Coast Trail - South and continue north, up and over another hillside passing Ocean Lake and Wildcat Lake. Arrive at Wildcat Beach after a steep descent and spend the night at Wildcat Camp if you have a permit.
The Palomarin Trailhead parking lot typically fills up by 10 am in the summer, so get there early! Note: bikes are not allowed on this trail.
Indian paintbrush, Douglas Iris, lupine, broom, coffeeberry, rabbits, sea lions on the sand, seabirds. Binoculars help see migrating grey whales in March.