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Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park

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In December 2001, a section of the iron belt course on the exterior of the lighthouse fell off. The lighthouse will remain closed until the structure can be restored. The lighthouse may still be viewed from the grounds and the lens is currently on display in the fog signal building.


Perched on a cliff on the central California coast, the 115-foot Pigeon Point Lighthouse is one of the tallest lighthouses in America. Its five-wick lard oil lamp and first-order Fresnel lens, comprised of 1,008 prisms, was first lit at sunset on Nov. 15, 1872. The lens stands 16 feet tall, is 6 feet in diameter and weighs 2,000 pounds. The lens sat in a lantern room constructed at the Lighthouse Service’s general depot in New York before being shipped around the Horn. Although the original Fresnel lens is no longer in use, the lighthouse is still an active U.S. Coast Guard aid to navigation using a Vega Marine Rotating Beacon.

The coastal areas surrounding Pigeon Point Light Station are rich with life. Marine mammals, such as seals and whales, can be seen regularly from shore as they pass by beyond the surf. The intertidal zone along this part of the coast, particularly in the rocky reefs that flank the light station, contains a diverse and numerous variety of plant and animal life.

A small public beach is located 100 yards from the main parking lot.

Learn more in the California State Parks brochure.

Operating Hours

Day-use Area: 8 a.m. to Sunset


The lighthouse is located at 210 Pigeon Point Road, off Highway 1 just south of the town of Pescadero. It is about 35 miles north of Santa Cruz and 50 miles south of San Francisco.

Things to do

Interpretive Programs

Half-hour guided history walks around the lighthouse grounds are available 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Monday, when staffing permits.

Historical Exhibits

Although the lighthouse is closed for repairs, there are historical exhibits to view on the park grounds.

Wildlife Viewing

About 50 species of migratory and
native birds live here, including marbled
murrelets, an endangered species that
nests in nearby old-growth redwood forests
and feeds in coastal waters. Tide pools are
a short walk north of Pigeon Point.

Visitor Center

The gift shop is open Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., weather permitting.

Fees and Passes

Parking is free.


  • Services
  • Restrooms
  • Visitor Center
  • Accessibility: The boardwalk, the Fog Signal Building, exhibits and gift shop are accessible, as are parking, restrooms and the picnic area near the park entrance.
  • Visitor Center and Bookstore
  • Interpretive programs
  • Pay phone
  • Gift shop


Hosteling International runs the Pigeon Point Hostel for guests who are interested in staying overnight.


A three-day training class for volunteer docents is held every spring. Email or call the Docent Coordinator’s Office at (650) 879-2120.


Pigeon Point’s original name, Whale Point, was inspired by the gray whales that migrate past the point. California’s boom from Gold Rush to statehood brought many ships to these perilous waters. The clipper ship “Carrier Pigeon”, on her maiden voyage in 1853, ran into fog-blanketed rocks off Whale Point. The point was renamed Pigeon Point to honor the wrecked ship. Learn more.


  • Except for service animals, pets are not permitted on the lighthouse grounds.
  • Smoking is not permitted in the park.

More Info

(650) 879-2120 Thursday through Monday

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Events at Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park