Scenic USA - California

Point Reyes Lighthouse

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Point Reyes Lighthouse - California

Photo by Amanda Haddox
Amanda Haddox Photography

     Located 300 feet below the cliff tops, this classic view of the Point Reyes Lighthouse emphasizes the need for late 19th century lighthouse. Blasting out a site from these dangerous looking cliffs, the lighthouse was positioned in one of the windiest and foggiest places in North America. Placed below the natural layer of fog, lighthouse materials were tediously brought in on ox carts and carefully lowered to the awaiting foundation.
     First lit on December 1, 1870, the first-order Fresnel lens, the most powerful beacon of the time, could broadcast its beam to the horizon 24 miles away. The 6000 pound lens made a revolution every two minutes, emitting a signature flash every five seconds. Here at Point Reyes, a headland that juts out 10 miles from the mainland, a fog signal was a must. Powered by steam, light keeper duties also included essential fog signal maintenance.
     Point Reyes is one of California's most notable coastal preserves. Here along the coast, national seashore visitors may find nearly 45 percent of North American avian species, plus 18 percent of California's plant species. Lighthouse visitors must walk a half mile from the parking lot to the visitor center and descend the 300 steps to the lighthouse. Lantern room visits are provided when park staff members are available. The lighthouse, now a museum, is open Friday through Monday from 10 am to 4:30 pm PST.

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