I have said it numerous times before, but I'll gladly repeat it again here: I love lighthouses. Until now I never got to visit a traditional lighthouse with a big light tower and located in a picturesque fashion on cliffs as it overlooks the ocean. Luckily for me, such a gem was to be found on the Pacific Coast Highway. This was our last stop for the day and it was the perfect time for a visit. The lighthouse is an hour drive away for San Francisco, our first big destination of the road trip. But first let's say goodbye to a wonderful day spent driving on the Pacific Coast Highway, here on the cliffs of the Pigeon Point Lighthouse.
A sign on the side of the road will lead you to the lighthouse, but if you have a GPS with you, you should use it, since you can miss the lighthouse easily. As we drove up the sun was setting over the Pacific ocean and the most wonderful, tranquil atmosphere could be felt in the air.
Pigeon Point Lighthouse FactsThe Pigeon Point Lighthouse was built in 1871 to guide ships on the Pacific coast of California. It is the tallest lighthouse (tied with Point Arena Light) on the West Coast of the United States and is still an active Coast Guard aid to navigation. The tower is 115-foot (35 m) high, and because of its location and access from the main highway, Pigeon Point entertains a large number of public visitors. Nowadays the guard houses nearby are transformed into a hostel. During our visit we saw people who stayed in the hostel, but just from looking at it briefly I wouldn't advise staying there. This place is more suitable for a short visit.
The lighthouse and the land around have been preserved as Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park, a California state park. The lighthouse is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and designated as a California Historical Landmark. It's said that the lighthouse is one of the most picturesque lighthouses on the Pacific coast, and I can certainly see why. We were immediately charmed by it.
What to do at the Pigeon Point LighthouseFirst off you can explore the outside only. The inside of the lighthouse is not open to visitors, due to the fact there is damage inside. Cast iron was used rather than steel with the unfortunate result being that cast iron absorbs water rather than repelling it like steel, thus the walkways are severely rusted, as are the major binding ring bands at the base of the tower. You can explore the front and back sides of the lighthouse, and even walk down to the shoreline, which I did later on. I would suggest that you walk down the walkway towards the open sea. That's where the best views are!
Sunset over the PacificI can't begin to describe how amazing the sunset over the ocean was. I think we were all in awe at the beauty of the surroundings. I didn't even take so many pictures as I thought I would. Mostly, we were sitting on the benches talking, but also quietly gazing at the happenings in front of us. The sounds are a big part of it too. You can look down the cliffs and see (and hear) as the strong and wild waves of the ocean crush into them.
The views from this side were breathtaking. The setting sun helped me in getting the perfect light for these last few images. But I mostly kept starring at the beauty of nature here, the wild ocean as well as the lighthouse. You really have to take a step back here and just make sure you experience it all. But as with all the sights on this second day (and remember parts 3, 4 and 5 of this travel series were all from the second day of travel) it was all a bit overwhelming.
We kept driving further north towards San Francisco. The last miles of our drive on the Pacific Coast Highway were being driven. I felt very melancholic, even though so many new things waited for us. I think we all loved this part of our trip, but luckily for us, at the very end of the 15 day journey we would see the ocean again...
End of Part Five
To be continued...