Point Reyes National Seashore: Lighthouse at Sunset
When your friend calls you up and says let’s check out the Point Reyes Lighthouse at sunset and watch some whales, you cancel all your plans and say yes!
Saturday afternoon, I hopped in the car and drove out to Point Reyes National Seashore. We were super lucky and had almost no fog obscuring our view. The curtains in the lighthouse were rolled back, showing off the golden beams on the rocks around us. We got the chance to pop into the lighthouse lens. The glass was handmade in France in 1867 before it made its voyage to Point Reyes.
The Point Reyes Lighthouse sprung to action December of 1870 warning ships entering or leaving San Francisco of the Point Reyes Headlands which jut ten miles out to sea. It was a functional lighthouse up until 1975 when the US Coast Guard installed an automated light on the cliffs below. The lighthouse was then transferred to the care of the National Park Service who maintains and preserves this historical spot today. Visitors can access the lens room and lighthouse keeper’s quarters to get a sense of what life may have been like.
If you’re looking for a quick getaway from San Francisco with some lightweight activity, the lighthouse is an easy half mile walk to the Visitor Center. From there, you descend down a flight of 308 steps, complete with several benches if you get tired. In the summer, an evening program called Illuminating the Point Reyes Light is available for visitors to experience the lighthouse just before sunset.
Because Point Reyes is the windiest spot on the Pacific Coast, the lighthouse and steps will not always be open. When winds reach up 40mph, the steps are closed for visitors’ safety. Helicopters can’t reach you in crazy wind if you get blown off the walkway. Check wind forecasts before you go and when in doubt, call the Visitor Center to check on conditions.
All photos by Alex Manelis.