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Name: Point Reyes Light  

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Nearest Town or City:
Inverness, California, United States

Location: Gulf of the Farallones, Point Reyes Peninsula.

Click to enlarge: Photo   
Photo: Sue & Ed Maciej
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Managing Organization:
Point Reyes National Seashore

Telephone: 415-669-1534


This was a very difficult station for keepers due to the constant winds and fog. Leased by Coast Guard to the National Park Service in 1966. In 1967 a son of a Coast Guardsman was killed by the rotating lens, so the lighthouse was closed to the public. In 1975 the lighthouse was discontinued (the light was moved to a modern apparatus on the fog signal building) and it was reopened to the public in 1977. Much of the 1980 movie "The Fog" was filmed here. The lighthouse is a great place to observe California gray whales on their annual migration from Alaska to Mexico in January and February.

Tower Height: 35

Height of Focal Plane: 294

Description of Tower: Cast iron (with brick lining) white, conical tower with red lantern roof.

This light is not operational

Other Buildings?
1960 two story triplex wood frame keeper's house, 1928 wood fog signal building, two cisterns, oil house, garage, two storage buildings.

Date Established: 1870

Date Present Tower Built: 1870

Date Deactivated: 1975

Optics: 1870: First order Fresnel lens (still in tower).

Fog Signal: Fog sirens, then diaphone horn (moved in 1934).

Current Use: National park exhibit.

Open To Public? yes

The lighthouse is open to the public Thursdays through Mondays from 10 am to 4:30 pm. For weather information at the lighthouse call (415) 669-1534. There are 300 stairs from the observation platform at the lighthouse station and the actual lighthouse below. Walking up the stairs is equivalent to walking up the stairs of a 30-story building. The lens room is open as weather and staffing permit. There are no entry fees. There is a shuttle bus connecting parts of the park; the fare is $3.50 for individuals over 12 years old.

From Highway 1, head west on Bear Valley Road from Olema or west on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard from Point Reyes Station. In Point Reyes Station the turnoff from Highway 1 is located at the Green Bridge at the south end of town. The driving time from Point Reyes Station or Olema is about 40 minutes. For public transportation, call Golden Gate Transit at (415) 923-2000 for information.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Keepers: John Bull (1870-1875), E. G. Chamberlin (c. 1885), John C. Ryan (1888-?), Jerome W. Sweet (3rd assistant, 1900-1901), P. Nilsson (c. 1916), Fred Kreth (c. 1929), Gustav (Gustave) Zetterquist (1930-1951)


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