My husband and I have always enjoyed visiting and climbing, lighthouses. Lighthouses stand short and stumpy, tall and regal, romantic, or industrial. They stand on sandy beaches, high craggy bluffs, or cling precariously to the very edge of impossible bits of land. We are intrigued by all. Their purpose is clear. They are to stand, shine, guide, and warn – no matter what.
Each of the lighthouses we have visited thus far requires a short hike TO, and then a climb, UP. Not so at Point Reyes, California. When we arrived at the top of the mountain, we discovered that to reach the lighthouse, we would have to hike DOWN the 308 steps on the edge of a cliff, with winds of nearly 40 mph.
Winds above that magnitude would be capable of lifting us off the face of the craggy cliff, and blowing us away forever. The park ranger assured us that the winds had dropped to a mere 39 mph. and we would be safe to hike, provided we “hung on.” (Pretty close call at best).
The road leading to Point Reyes Light Station is a continuous curvy climb, and usually accompanied by high winds, humidity and rain. Leaving Inverness, California you’ll leave the Bear Valley Road and continue onto Sir Francis Drake Blvd. The road is good, the scenery even on a rainy day; phenomenal.
- Because of the high winds and humidity, make sure to bring along a jacket and gloves. Layering is a good idea. The bluff at Point Reyes Light Station is possibly the windiest point on the coastline.
- The views are incredible so come prepared with camera and binoculars. (Whale watching is best between December and April – but very crowded, so expect to use a shuttle from a parking area)
- Although there is a restroom at the visitor center, it is a long journey. A restroom stop before leaving Inverness on Sir Francis Blvd is recommended.
- The closest fuel station is 20 miles from the Lighthouse Visitor Center. The journey is 40 miles round trip (not including any side trips).
- There is no food available, nor bottled water for sale. Bring your own. There is a water bottle filling station.
- Also, it’s a good idea to call before you travel. The wind conditions might necessitate the lightkeepers close the staircase.
Reflections from My Visit
On the day we attempted to make that descent, I couldn’t help but think of the purpose of the lighthouse at the bottom of this wild craggy hillside. It is the same as the romantic, graceful lighthouse silhouetted by the wind-swept palm trees on a sandy beach. STAND. If it does not stand, there will be no light, no guide, no warning. God wants me to be His lighthouse. He desires that I stand, wherever He has planted me, in whatever circumstances He has allowed in my life – to stand. To stand firm and unwavering against all the storms that may howl around my very foundation. His desire is that I stand.
Whether lifted high, or brought low, Lord, help me be “always steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as [I] know that [my] labor is not in vain in the Lord” ( I Corinthians 15:58).
Are you a Lighthouse Adventurer? Share with me some of your favorite Lighthouses – I just might have to put them on my bucket list.
Point Reyes Light Station (27000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Inverness, CA) is part of the National park Service and is listed as a National Seashore. While in the area be sure to see Chimney Rock at Point Reyes, Drakes Beach, Drakes Estero Beach and the North and South Beach at point Reyes.