Point Sur Lighthouse
If nothing else, the Point Sur Lighthouse is dramatic.
I know that “dramatic” is one of those overused and shopworn words that are applied far too often.
But if dramatic doesn’t apply to this lighthouse on this coast – well, I don’t know where it should apply.
Point Sur Lighthouse Quick Facts:
Year built: 1889
GPS coordinates: 36.30625/ -121.90154
Height: 250 ft.
Light signature: Flashing – white – 15sec
Range: 25 miles
Fresnel lens: First Order – now located at the Museum of Monterey
Open to the public?: Yes – see details below
Park Office Phone: (831)625-4419
Accessibility: See below
Built On A Volcanic Rock
The Point Sur Light station sits on a 300+ foot high volcanic rock that is connected to the mainland by a sandbar. It is officially named the
Point Sur State Historic Park.
It is also the only complete (all buildings intact) turn-of-the-century light station in California that the public can tour.
The top 80 feet of the rock had to be blasted away so that the builders could have a level spot on which to construct the lighthouse.
Needless to say, this was a very isolated light station before the completion of Highway 1 in 1937.
Tips for visiting Point Sur Lighthouse
This may be California, but Point Sur sticks out into the ocean and our ocean here is cold. You will also be up more than 300 feet and will discover what the builders of the great Gothic cathedrals discovered – the higher up you get, the greater the force of the wind. Prepare for it. It can also get very foggy here – hence the need for a lighthouse. Layer your clothing in case you visit on a calm, sunny day.
If you are taking video, you might want to investigate a microphone with a windscreen if your video allows an auxiliary mic – or – you might want to try some experiments with putting a bit of foam over the place where sound enters your camera. The wind sound will be very loud if you don’t.
The house for the light was placed down the hill just a bit so that it would be below the level of summer fogs.
How to tour the Point Sur Light Station
The Central Coast Lighthouse Keepers lead three hour walking tours of the facility. It involves walking on a paved road less than a mile and stairs leading to the top with a gain of 360 feet.
Here is a link to the Central Coast Lighthouse Keepers with all the information you’ll need to tour the light station.
Note that there are special Moonlight Tours offered April through September on evenings when the full moon rises and two special fundraising Ghost Tours in October.
“A strenuous, steep and unshaded walk leads to and from the lighthouse. With prior arrangement, visitors with disabilities who can transfer to a park sedan may arrange a ride to a drop-off point above the lighthouse where they may view some of the restored lighthouse station buildings. A narrow path and a steep run of stairs lead down to the lighthouse, which is not open to the public. Those who cannot make the stairs can get a good view from the landing above them. Roadway conditions and lack of vehicle staging and turning space exclude private vehicles. Pending projects may enhance accessibility to at least some of the structures. RESTROOM: A portable restroom at the base of the hill is usable. PARKING: Limited dirt or gravel roadside parking is available.” Call (831)667-2315 or (831)625-4419 for more information.