Golden Gate National Recreation Area: Point Bonita Lighthouse


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The Golden Gate National Recreation Area protects over 80 thousand acres in Northern California. For this trip, we decided to explore the Marin Headlands section. The Marin Headlands is a peninsula just north of San Francisco on the Marin County side of the Golden Gate Bridge.


Point Bonita Lighthouse sits at the entrance to San Francisco Bay in the Marin Headlands. Point Bonita was the third lighthouse built on the West Coast (in 1855)  and was the last manned lighthouse on the California coast. It is maintained by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate NRA (The coast guard maintains the still-active signal) and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.


We hiked down the steep half mile trail through a tunnel in a hill and across a  suspension bridge to the lighthouse. There was a ranger inside whose grandmother had lived in this lighthouse as a child and he told us some her stories as we perused the museum displays.


Originally, Point Bonita was up higher on the cliffs and the light was often obscured by fog. The current lighthouse was built at a lower location in 1877. It is on a bluff 124 feet above sea level and a shipwreck from the Gold Rush years is just offshore from it.


Golden Gate National Recreation Area posts:


Location: 948 Fort Barry, Sausalito, CA 94965

Designation: National Recreation Area, NRHP

Date designation declared: 10/27/1972

Date of my visit: August 12, 2012