Overlooking Trinidad Bay in Northern California, the Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse is home to the fog bell and Fresnel lens from the original Trinidad Lighthouse. The memorial lighthouse was built in 1949 by the Trinidad Civic Club, and it is such an accurate replica of the original that many tourist mistake it for the real thing. The actual lighthouse is located on Trinidad Head, which is viewable from the memorial and which creates the wonderful, but small, Trinidad harbor.
Trinidad was originally a busy port for ships during the gold rush. After the gold rush, the bay was mainly used by ships involved in the local lumber trade, and it was during this time that a proposal for a lighthouse was submitted and agreed upon. In the 1920s a whaling company was founded in Trinidad harbor to hunt for gray whales along the migratory routes just off the coast. Today it is still common to see gray whales as they migrate past Trinidad Head on their way from Alaska to Baja, California, where they give birth to their young. While whale sightings occur year-round, the best viewing is between November and April.
The memorial not only houses the original lens and bell from the lighthouse, but it also serves as a monument to those who have lost their lives at sea. A plaque with the names of those lost (and buried) at sea is located next to the memorial lighthouse, and the fog bell is struck daily at noon to recognize them. The memorial provides amazing views of the harbor and the California coastline. The original lighthouse is accessible via a short hike on the Trinidad Head Trail, which is located near the marina. The original lighthouse is still in use and is controlled by an automated system.