Perched on a cliff on the central California coast, 50 miles south of San Francisco, the 115-foot Pigeon Point Lighthouse, one of the tallest lighthouses in America, has been guiding mariners since 1872. Its five-wick lard oil lamp, and first-order Fresnel lens, comprised of 1,008 prisms, was first lit at sunset, November 15, 1872. The lens stands 16 feet tall, 6 feet in diameter, and weighs 2,000 pounds. Now on display in the Fog Signal building, it sat in a lantern room constructed at the Lighthouse Service's general depot in New York before being shipped around the Horn. Although the original Fresnel lens is no longer in use, the lighthouse is still an active U.S. Coast Guard aid to navigation using a Vega Marine Rotating Beacon.
The coastal areas surrounding Pigeon Point Light Station are rich with life. Marine mammals, such as seals and whales, can be seen regularly from shore as they pass by beyond the surf. The intertidal zone along this part of the coast, particularly in the rocky reefs that flank the light station, contains a diverse and numerous variety of plant and animal life. Lighthouse Closed for Repairs
In December 2001, a section of the iron belt course on the exterior of the lighthouse fell off. The lighthouse will remain closed until the structure can be restored. The lighthouse may still be viewed from the grounds. For more information go to Lighthouse RestorationSeasons/Climate
The weather can be changeable; layered clothing is recommended. Afternoons can be very windy.Facilities
The park has restrooms near the parking lot, a pay phone, and limited picnic tables. A park store is located in the historic carpenter's shop.
Also located within the park, Hosteling International runs the Pigeon Point Hostel for guests who are interested in staying overnight.
A small public beach is located 100 yards from the main parking lot. Activities
Half hour guided history walks around the lighthouse grounds are available daily at 1pm, staff permitting, or upon request by calling 650-879-2120