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Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park
Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park © Don DeBold / CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
View toward Highway 1 from the Pigeon Point Lighthouse, Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park, California, USA
Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park © Jitze Couperus / CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park, California, USA
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210 Pigeon Point Road, Highway 1
Pescadero, California   94060

Phone: 650-879-2120
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. Its five-wick lard oil lamp, and first-order Fresnel lens, comprised of 1,008 prisms, was first lit at sunset, November 15, 1872. The lens stands 16 feet tall, 6 feet in diameter, and weighs 8,000 pounds. It sits in a lantern room that had been 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 24 inch Aero Beacon.
Nature of the Area
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.

From the boardwalk behind the fog signal building, watch for gray whales on their annual migration between January and April. Walk through the tidepool area, 100 yards north of Pigeon Point, or through the amazing 1,000-year-old redwoods nearby. Explore Pescadero Marsh, the feeding and nesting place for more than 150 species of birds, and Ano Nuevo State Natural Reserve, the breeding site of northern elephant seals.
History of the Area
Pigeon Point Light Station, located in California, has a rich history dating back to the 19th century. It was first lit on November 15, 1872 as an important navigational aid for ships sailing along the central Californian coast. The lighthouse stands at a height of about 115 feet and is one of the tallest in America.

The light station got its name from "Carrier Pigeon," a clipper ship that wrecked off this rocky coastline around June 1853. Over time it became vital for maritime safety due to frequent foggy conditions making navigation treacherous.

In addition to being functional infrastructure aiding seafarers' safe passage through dangerous waters; over years it also served as housing quarters for three or four families who were responsible for maintaining operations until automation took place in late-1970s.

After more than hundred years under federal ownership (United States Coast Guard), management responsibilities transferred onto California State Parks system during mid-2001 with intent towards restoration efforts while preserving historical significance intact.

Today visitors can explore surrounding grounds which include hostel facilities managed by Hostelling International USA but access inside tower remains restricted due to ongoing preservation work since damage caused by storms during early part of year-2001 led authorities declaring structure unsafe till further notice.

Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park is located near Cupertino, Los Altos and Mountain View

1. Pigeon Point Lighthouse Trail: This is the main trail that leads to the historic lighthouse, offering panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and opportunities for whale watching during migration season.

2. Whaler's Cove Loop: A short but scenic loop around a small cove with beautiful ocean vistas, tide pools teeming with marine life, and historical remnants from whaling days.

3. North Beach Access Trail: Starting near the park entrance this path winds down towards an isolated beach area perfect for birdwatching or picnicking while enjoying stunning coastal scenery.

4. South Bluff Overlook Pathway: An easy walk leading up to a bluff overlooking dramatic sea cliffs where visitors can spot seals basking on rocks below or watch waves crashing against rugged coastline formations.

5. Tide Pool Nature Walks: These are not formal trails but guided walks led by rangers along rocky shoreline areas at low tides revealing fascinating intertidal ecosystems full of starfishes, crabs and other creatures adapted to harsh conditions between land & sea.

6. Ano Nuevo State Park Connector: Although technically outside Pigeon Point Light Station SHP boundaries it's worth mentioning as many hikers combine visits due its proximity (less than 10 miles south). It offers several additional hiking options including Elephant Seal overlook trail which provides close:up encounters with these massive animals especially in winter months when they come ashore here for breeding purposes.

7. Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve Trails: Another nearby location often combined into day trips featuring extensive network of paths meandering through diverse habitats like marshlands rich in birdlife, riparian woodlands home to deer families etc., providing more variety beyond purely coastal experiences offered within actual state historic park itself.

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Area Campgrounds
Santa Cruz North/Costanoa KOA
2001 Rossi Road
Pescadero, CA
Nearby Hotels

On California Highway 1, 20 miles south of Half Moon Bay and 27 miles north of Santa Cruz.

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California State Parks