Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park

  • Visitor center
  • Picnic
  • Accessible Restrooms
  • Accessible Parking

Features

  • Visitor center
  • Picnic
  • Accessible Restrooms
  • Accessible Parking

Information

Website:
visit link
Address:
Pt. Cabrillo Drive and Lighthouse Rd.
Region:
North Coast
Phone:
Info: 707 937-0816
Hours:
Preserve grounds: Sunrise to sunset. Visitor center: Generally open 11 am to 4 pm.
Dogs:
Not allowed, service animals OK
Last Visited:
September 2010
Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park sits on a headland that juts dramatically into the ocean; pounding waves have cut channels to the north and south, almost rendering it an island. The park covers 270 acres of coastal bluffs and prairie, and many of the light station's original buildings (light tower, three keeper's residences, coal buildings, carpentry shop, smithy, and oil house) still stand today. The buildings and the light’s fresnel lens have been extensively restored, along with the surrounding native habitat, thanks to a collaboration between the State Coastal Conservancy, State Parks, and the Point Cabrillo Lightkeepers Association. The British-made third order fresnel lens is unusual: It is clear rather than the blue hue used in the more prevalent French-made lenses. Only two other British-made lenses remain in operation in the United States.

 

The 1st Assistant Lightkeeper house is a period museum that has been restored to the way the house would have looked in the 1930s. There is a ramp but some doorways may be narrow for some wheelchairs. The lightkeeper’s house and two cottages (one wheelchair-accessible) are available as vacation rentals.
 

Trails and Pathways

Trail:
Pathway from lower lot to lighthouse
Time to Complete:
15 minutes
Trailhead Location:
Lower parking lot
Trail Length:
Less than .5 mile
Typical Width:
30 in. to 4 ft.
Typical Grade:
Level
Terrain:
Firm
Trail Overview: Only a few hundred feet of the South Trail by the lower parking lot are accessible, and even that stretch is rough riding on a two-track dirt road. Had I known beforehand about the lack of trail access, I would have parked in the upper lot and taken the park half-mile entry road down to the light station. This paved road dips and rises past open grasslands, and will give you the sense of isolation that no doubt was experienced by the lightkeepers who once lived here. From the lower parking lot, a 30-inch-wide walkway leads you past the head lightkeeper’s house, several cottages, the carpentry shop, and the smithy and to the lighthouse a few hundred feet farther.
More Info: If you park in the upper lot and hike the half-mile access road to the lower parking lot and lighthouse, there are some slopes greater than 8 percent.

Accessibility Features

The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
Accessible Parking:
Yes – designated accessible parking, van accessible, firm, level or slope no greater than 2%;

At upper and lower lot (light station). With a disabled placard you can drive the park access road (only open to authorized vehicles and pedestrians) a half-mile to the light station; otherwise, you can park in the upper lot and walk the half-mile paved access road to the light station.


Accessible Restroom:
Yes – Located at the upper parking lot and by the Lightkeepers House Museum.

Accessible Picnic Table:
Yes – firm & stable path to tables, firm & stable surface, 27" or greater knee clearance; The most accessible tables are next to the lighthouse. A few by both the upper and lower parking lots require travel across firm grass.

Accessible Visitor Center:
Yes – Step inside the restored 1904 lighthouse to find knowledgeable volunteers from Point Cabrillo Lightkeepers Association that are eager to talk about the history of the light station and the timber industry's evolution in this region. There are displays on the history of the Pomo Indians, including artifacts, and on the sinking of the Frolic, a clipper brig bound for San Francisco during the Gold Rush in 1850. A replica of the ship and a cannon that was rescued by divers are among the exhibits. A small gift shop has books, gifts, and lighthouse and nautical-theme items.

Nearby, the blacksmith and carpentry shop contains an exhibit on marine science; a three-inch threshold at the entry limits wheelchair access.

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