Perched on a cliff on the central California coast, 50 miles south of San Francisco, the 115-foot Pigeon Point Lighthouse, one of the tallest lighthouses in America, has been guiding mariners since 1872. This small park will enhance a leisurely coastal drive. At the one-room visitor center you’ll find a lot of educational interactive displays, a knowledgeable docent eager to share stories of the lighthouse and on display is an impressive First-order Fresnel lens, comprised of 1,008 prisms. Although the original Fresnel lens is no longer in use, the lighthouse is still an active U.S. Coast Guard aid to navigation. Behind the visitor center is an observation deck that offers breathtaking views of the rugged coastline. It’s a good vantage point to look for whales during migration from Dec. to March. A park store is located in the historic carpenter's shop.
A short compacted dirt trail at the south side of the park has various vantage points to look for Marine mammals as they pass by beyond the surf.
The Pigeon Point Hostel located here is accessible.
Trails and Pathways
- Coastal Trail
- Time to Complete:
- 15 minutes
- Trailhead Location:
- Across the park road from the parking lot
- Trail Length:
- Less than .5 mile
- Typical Width:
- 30 in. to 4 ft.
- Typical Grade:
- Typical Terrain:
Trail Overview: This short blufftop trail follows the coastline overlooking Whaler’s Cove. At the circular rest area follow the trail to the right to reach the wooden viewing deck; there's another trail to the left but we did not follow it. You’ll get a good view of the lighthouse to the west. If you backtrack a little bit the trail continues a very short distance to a large dirt area scattered with a few picnic tables and the service road just beyond. From here, you can travel in the road to the visitor center or return to the parking lot.
More Info: May be muddy after rains
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%
- Accessible Restroom:
- Yes – Adjacent to the parking lot.
- Accessible Picnic Table:
- Yes – firm & stable path to tables, firm & stable surface, 27" or greater knee clearance
- Accessible Visitor Center:
- Good to Know:
- Weather permitting, park docents give tours among the old buildings and around the grounds from Thursday through Monday.