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Organization Title

Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park

Park Information

Contact Information

(650) 879-2120

Park Hours

Day-use Area 8:00 am to Sunset

Driving Directions to Pigeon Point Light Station SHP

On California Highway 1, 20 miles south of Half Moon Bay and 27 miles north of Santa Cruz.

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Camping and Lodging

Online reservations are not available for this park.

Brochures and Campground Maps


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. It sits in a lantern room that had been 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 24 inch Aero Beacon.

Temporary Closures
The lighthouse is currently closed to the public, but the grounds remain open. In December 2001, a section of the cornice 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 current updates, call the park hotline at 650-879-2120.

Location/Directions
The park is located along California Highway 1, 20 miles south of Half Moon Bay and 27 miles north of Santa Cruz. You can't miss the 115 foot tower just west of the highway.


Seasons/Climate
The weather can be changeable; layered clothing is recommended.

Facilities/Activities
Tours
Half hour guided history walks around the lighthouse grounds are available 10am to 4pm Friday through Monday, except on rainy days.

Hostels
The lighthouse keeper's housing is restored and operated as a Hostel.

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.

From the boardwalk behind the fog signal building, watch for gray whales on their annual migration between January and April. Walk through the tidepool area, 100 yards north of Pigeon Point. Explore Pescadero Marsh, the feeding and nesting place for more than 150 species of birds, and Año Nuevo State Park, the breeding site of northern elephant seals.

*Map not to scale

Dogs are prohibited at all times.

Smoking is prohibited.

Announcement: Restoration Work in Progress

In November 2011, the First Order Fresnel lens was moved from the tower's lantern room to the fog signal building.  The tower itself has been closed to the public since December 2001.  The massive Fresenel lens will be on display in the fog signal building while the tower is restored; once the restoration is complete, the lens will be returned to the tower's lantern room.  Our partners, the California State Parks Foundation, www.calparks.org, and the Coastside State Parks Association www.CoastsideStateParks.org, are spearheading the effort to raise private funds for the restoration.  

The park remains open to visitors daily. A dedicated group of volunteer docents is on-site Thursday through Monday to host the bookshop, lead tours around the historic grounds, and organize a shore whale watching program each spring. An interpretive center is located in the fog signal building and includes a replica lighthouse showing the interior structure of the lighthouse tower.

Pigeon Point Light Station is located off Highway One near Pescadero, California, approximately fifty miles south of San Francisco. For more information, call the Pigeon Point information line at (650) 879-2120 Friday through Monday.   Educational program support is provided by California State Parks and the Coastside State Parks Association www.CoastsideStateParks.org. To find out more about the restoration efforts and to read updates, visit http://www.calparks.org/programs/improving/pigeon-point-lighthouse.html.

Volunteers Needed at Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park

Did you ever wonder how Pigeon Point got its name if there are no pigeons at the point?  Have you wondered about the history of this iconic structure as you drove along Highway One?  Did you always want to be a “wickie”?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, and would like to share the answers with visitors from around the world, join us for the three-day training class to learn the history of the lighthouse, the surrounding area, and the plants and marine life of the point. Training is held every spring. If you would like to be a part of the volunteer team, please send an email  to Volunteers.PigeonPoint[at]parks.ca.gov or contact the Docent Coordinator’s Office at (650) 879-2032.

Sponsored by California State Parks & Coastside State Parks Association