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Point Reyes Lighthouse Visitor Center Trail [CLOSED]

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Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes Lighthouse Visitor Center Trail is a 2.1 kilometer 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 bird watching and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 2.1 km Elevation Gain: 109 m Route Type: Out & Back

kid friendly


nature trips


bird watching


partially paved


wild flowers



no dogs

It has been reported this trail has a temporary closure due to COVID-19. Please see the park's website for up to date information. NOTE: the stairs may be closed Tuesday through Thursday. Moderate 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.

2 months ago

No access to go down the stairs (closed Tues-Thur). Bummer, will try again. But great views of Point Reyes Shoreline.

3 months ago

I loved this. Most of it is stairs but it’s a great well maintained set of stairs. It’s beautiful

5 months ago

5 stars for the lighthouse view, what a frame! Most of the trail is stairs with easy break points. Ride to the trailhead is equally amazing.

5 months ago

Drive to parking lot is beautiful, road a bit bumpy in areas. Trail to lighthouse overlook is paved and easy. Lighthouse is closed Tuesday-Thursday. Shuttle Bus service from Drakes Beach will be in operation during weekends and holidays through end of March or mid-April 2020 (this includes Chimney Rock Trail as well).

5 months ago

Amazing view, rough road to get there. Public restroom very nice and easy parking, ( Sunday early morning 12/15/2019) It is restoration in November 2019.(I’m so lucky). Marvelous place, with good visitors facilities. I missed chance to chitchat with the rangers to learn more about it.( I should since I really want to be one of them). 308 steps down to see while tower and red lantern, 6 sided tower with balcony stand on the top of blue ocean under.( I’m in the heaven). Come and visit it. ( don’t forget to check there schedule before you heading there).

The lighthouse reopens yesterday. The hike is really scenic though it is foggy ~ highly recommended!

Fri Nov 09 2018

Attempted 5 days ago, made it to Drakes Beach, only confirming, that yes, the lighthouse is closed. Bummer.... Walked Drakes Beach and took in its stunning, beautiful, ocean and mountain view’s!! The drive is gorgeous!! Worth our little “disbelief”. ALSO, there is next to no cell service up that way. If you plan on hiking, make sure you have downloaded maps on your phone to pull up, or best bet, have old fashioned, hard core, hiking topo maps!

scenic driving
Mon Nov 05 2018

the light house trail is currently close for maintenance. Scenic drive heading to the light house. Saw a lot of deers & some elks hanging out with the cows

Sun Sep 09 2018

Awesome little lighthouse and views. Enjoyed this but enjoyed it even more from the water looking up!

Mon Jun 04 2018

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

Sun May 13 2018

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

Tue Apr 24 2018

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.

Thu Apr 19 2018

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!

Fri Mar 23 2018

Wow - what a view. Short trail, but A LOT of stairs. The drive over to the lighthouse was phenomenal as well.

Mon Jan 29 2018

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.

Fri Jan 19 2018

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.

Sat Jan 13 2018

Very windy and cold!

Fri Jan 12 2018

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!!

Sat Dec 30 2017

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

Wed Dec 06 2017

Crowdy. But still worth it

Sun Sep 17 2017

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.

Thu Aug 24 2017

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

Wed Jul 26 2017

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.

Thu Jun 29 2017

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...

Tue Jun 27 2017

One of my favorite stops on our Highway 1 Vacay!

Fri 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.

Mon Apr 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!

Mon Apr 10 2017

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

Mon Feb 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).

Wed Feb 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!

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