Point Reyes Lighthouse Visitor Center Trail

MODERATE 85 reviews

Point Reyes Lighthouse Visitor Center Trail is a 1.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Inverness, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
1.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
357 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

beach

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

Moderate 1.3 mile RT hike over paved trail to 300 steps to Point Reyes Lighthouse. Trail offers sweeping views of Point Reyes beach and rugged California coastline. The Point Reyes Lighthouse itself is another 150 meters (0.1 miles) beyond the Visior Center at the base of some 300 steps--the equivalent of 30 stories. The lens room, which houses the original clockworks and first-order Fresnel lens that were manufactured in 1867 and installed in 1870, is open from 2:30 pm to 4 pm, Fridays through Mondays, as staffing and weather conditions permit. The lower chamber of the historic lighthouse has exhibit panels on the history of the light and the keepers. The equipment building next to the lighthouse exhibits the two 1947 super typhon foghorns, the air compressors, and a backup power generator that were used at Point Reyes.

15 days ago

Good hike, beautiful views of the coastline. Only wish we would have been lucky enough to see whales!

1 month ago

beautiful view very windy and chilly those stairs were a bit hard on me but worth it

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful. Went there Saturday afternoon clear and 60° outside. Spent a few hours at the lighthouse property just observing the scenic views. Cannot wait to head back in the near future! Definitely another trip coming.

2 months ago

its just a path to get to the lighthouse but worth doing. done it with little kids w/o trouble. just take it easy on the way back up the 200+ stairs. worth going down. we did it in the month of March and you can see a lot of whales passing by. its just gorgeous!

hiking
4 months ago

In winter time, this trail is very popular for whale watching and only accessible by shuttle bus, $7 pp. Definitely worth to explore: beautiful landscape, dramatic cliffs, long beaches and rolling green hills that are speckled with cows. Once at the parking lot for the visitor center, a small hill awaits. Passing some resident housing and the visitor center, the lighthouse sits on a cliff below. 290 stair steps lead down to it. Volunteers are readily available to share historical details and stories.

walking
4 months ago

Visited in June. A spur of the moment decision when we were driving by and it was very busy. Almost didn't find a spot to park near the start of the walk to the lighthouse. Easy paved trail to the top of the stairs but a lot of narrow stairs to take to get down to the actual light. You have to at least walk to the top where the visitors center is because you can't see the lighthouse just driving by. The stairs were only difficult due to the amount of people going up and down and the wind which was blowing like crazy! However, the view was beautiful and I loved learning the history of the lighthouse and it's keepers.

hiking
5 months ago

Very windy and cold!

walking
5 months ago

Amazing place, you feel like your are at the end of the world. Was the most crowded place I went to in Pt. Reyes but still not too bad at all. The trail is paved and easy to the stairs. There are 308 stairs down to the lighthouse but it wasn't as bad as it seems. Got to see some grey whales on their migration from Alaska to Mexico!!

hiking
5 months ago

Great hike with kids. The stairs down to the lighthouse are a bit intense going back up. Beautiful views!

hiking
6 months ago

Crowdy. But still worth it

hiking
9 months ago

It's worth the drive. We went early , it was just the right time when we came in . By the time we left at around 11-11:30ish parking was so full other visitors are park on 2 side of the road that can add another mile of hike.

hiking
9 months ago

Kid friendly. Can be cold and windy any day on the year.

10 months ago

Can't take your dog anywhere. Too many people that don't know how to park or drive. Great views, but will have to come back without my dog. And possibly in the middle of winter at 4am so no one else is here.

11 months ago

wrong day for me to make it inside of the lighthouse... great geology up there... sandstones and some river rock deposits high on the hill...

11 months ago

One of my favorite stops on our Highway 1 Vacay!

hiking
Friday, May 19, 2017

The walk from the parking lot to the entrance of the stairs to the lighthouse was average. There were beautiful views of the water. Unfortunately the stairs to the lighthouse were closed due to 40 mph wind. The stairs were a steep set straight down, with no platforms for breaks. Area gets very crowded, even in cold, windy conditions.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Loved the Lighthouse hike. It gives you a decent workout on the way back up but there were a lot of places to stop and catch your breath, and just enjoy the scenery. Lighthouses are always great photography opportunities and this one is adorable!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Don't miss out the 10min intro of the lighthouse by the park ranger - some good history to learn!

walking
Monday, February 27, 2017

Easy enough to get down with kids and grandma... nice views and vegetation. Lots of humans though (there will be lines) and it can get chilly... make sure to check open hours before going ( a nice long ride in a car).

hiking
Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Be prepared to climb a lot of stairs and walk miles to get off just the road. This was a super busy trail with a few hundred people. As someone with bad knees, the stairs were daunting, but doable. Beautiful view!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Always a fun walk- be prepared for lots of wind!

walking
Sunday, November 06, 2016

been here at least six times, always enjoy it, it's never been the same experience, very popular destination

hiking
Monday, October 31, 2016

Very beautiful walk to a beautiful lighthouse with nice views of the ocean

walking
Monday, September 05, 2016

Another spontaneous trip for me where I didn't research beforehand. I was wearing 6" sandals when I walked this. My feet were sore, but so worth it! I made it to the lighthouse just in time to watch the sunset. This was the first trail I walked/hiked in California and will always hold a special place in my heart. ❤️

Friday, July 15, 2016

Easy hike down to lighthouse, but a little more difficult walking back up all the stairs. Was quite windy and misty when we were there, but had fun anyway. Did not see much wildlife, since visibility was not that great due to the fog.

hiking
Sunday, February 14, 2016

These directions are to the tomales bay trail, not the lighthouse trail. The bay trail is a nice hike but more strenuous and much longer.

walking
Monday, September 28, 2015

Frequent this place for a quick out of the city getaway. The walk down towards the lighthouse is easy .40 from the parking lot to the start of the lighthouse stairs then 308 steps to walk to the lighthouse. Walking up the 308 steps is what gives one a quick warm up (feel the burn).

Chimney rock has spectacular views (remember to look back as you walk the trails). Easy walk up the headlands about 2.5 miles total to see the elephant seals and walk towards chimney rock. Gets very windy sometimes, if you're luck you may see whales towards the pacific side.

hiking
Sunday, July 12, 2015

Beautiful location, not too strenuous. The hike back up from the lighthouse is a lot of stairs, but well worth it.

hiking
Friday, July 10, 2015

Completed

hiking
Friday, July 10, 2015

Wonder weather. Great hike.

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