Point Reyes Lighthouse

Point Reyes National Seashore

Marin, California

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Point Reyes Lighthouse

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  • Point Reyes Lighthouse.- Point Reyes Lighthouse
  • The road to the Point Reyes Lighthouse. The lighthouse sits on the western tip of Point Reyes.- Point Reyes Lighthouse
  • Point Reyes.- Point Reyes Lighthouse
  • Point Reyes Lighthouse Visitor Center.- Point Reyes Lighthouse
  • Gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) skull near the visitor center.- Point Reyes Lighthouse
  • Over 300 stairs lead down to the lighthouse.- Point Reyes Lighthouse
  • Looking southeast from the lighthouse. Point Reyes juts from the California coastline seaward 10 miles.- Point Reyes Lighthouse
  • Point Reyes Lighthouse.- Point Reyes Lighthouse
  • The fog signal building.- Point Reyes Lighthouse
  • These retired fog signals once warned ships of the approaching headland. - Point Reyes Lighthouse
  • Point Reyes Lighthouse.- Point Reyes Lighthouse
  • The Lighthouse keepers' quarters.- Point Reyes Lighthouse
  • Point Reyes Lighthouse.- Point Reyes Lighthouse
  • Looking north up Point Reyes Beach from the Lighhouse access trail.- Point Reyes Lighthouse
  • - Point Reyes Lighthouse
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Vistas. Exposed lighthouse at the edge of Point Reyes.
Cons: 
Often enshrouded in fog.
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Region:
Marin, CA
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
No
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Summer, Fall
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Team

Built in 1870 to warn ships entering and leaving San Francisco Bay of the navigational hazard created by Point Reyes, the Point Reyes Lighthouse is now a museum managed by the National Park Service that welcomes visitors to it’s steep, exposed cliffs.

As a headland, Point Reyes juts out 10 miles to sea, and anyone visiting can easily imagine the havoc the point created when the fog rolled in prior to the invention of radar. Point Reyes is known to be one of the windiest and foggiest places on the Pacific Coast, and it is the site of nearly 75 shipwrecks. The lighthouse and fog signals filled a desperate maritime navigational need, and their presence assisted countless sailors in finding safe passage around the notorious point.

Constructed 250 feet above the ocean, the lighthouse sits on a precipitous terrace that is carved out of the cliff and still 300 feet below the cliff top. Access requires descending more than 300 stairs that begin past the visitor center and lead down to the lighthouse. The stairwell provides a stunning aerial perspective and a workout on the return.

To access the lighthouse, visitors must walk a half-mile west from the parking area along a park service road to the visitor center. Visitors can tour the lighthouse grounds, including the walkways around the lighthouse tower, a mechanical room housing the decommissioned fog signals, and the inn-keepers quarters. Hours change seasonally, so check the National Park Service’s Point Reyes Lighthouse website for current information. 

Regular high winds and fog mean timing can be tricky for lining up a scenic and comfortable visit. Your best bet is to plan a visit during a warm fall or winter day when a high-pressure weather system is in place. High winds and recurring fog are common in spring and early summer.

Consider combining your visit to the lighthouse with a hike out to Chimney Rock and the Elephant Seal Overlook, located a short distance away on the east edge of Point Reyes. 

 

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Nearby Camping + Lodging

(8 within a 30 mile radius)

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(43 within a 30 mile radius)

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