Point Sur LightStation
State Historic Park
Located just off Hwy 1 near Big Sur, California
Jutting out into the Pacific Ocean from the spectacular Big Sur Coast, the Point Sur Lightstation stands as a silent sentinel to a by-gone era. Point Sur, on the National Register of Historic Places, is the only complete turn-of-the-century lightstation open to the public in California.
From 1889 until 1974, families lived and worked in the buildings atop Pt. Sur. The Lightstation is now part of Pt. Sur State Historic Park and is being preserved for future generations. The unique stone lighthouse still guides ships with its light, though it is now totally automated. Restoration has been completed on many buildings, the rest fend off rain and wind as they have for 115 years, awaiting paint and shingles.
The number of people allowed into Pt. Sur is limited to preserve the sense of isolation and drama.
Tours are first come, first served so you want to arrive a little early of the tour time. Each car lines up in a space provided along Hwy 1 outside the gate. Approximately 30 minutes prior to the tour time someone will unlock the gate and give instructions where to park. In the parking area you will be divided into groups at the base of Pt. Sur's giant moro rock formation, where a guide will lead you on a leisurely uphill walk to the lighthouse, a half mile away. Your group will have plenty of time to climb the lighthouse tower for a look at the light itself, and to take a turn around the catwalk outside the light tower.
Check the weather at Point Sur LightStation
Guided 3-hour tour
Saturday: 10:00 a.m., then again at 2:00 p.m.
Sunday: 10:00 a.m. only
Additonal Summer Tours:
From April through October:
There is a Wednesday tour from 10:00 a.m. and again at 2:00 p.m.
July and August
Thursdays: 10 a.m.
Traveling south down Hwy 1 this is what you would see projecting out as you came near Big Sur.
Waiting outside the gate on HWY 1 for the guide to come unlock the gate.
Because there was no electricity for the light in the lighthouse, this housed a couple large holding tanks of oil used in the lighthouse.
It is only natural for nature to call and when it did, this was a relief point for the lighthouse keepers. (Of course, this was before EPA). I am sure there must have been some walls around it in the past, but that is only my guess.
Point Sur Lighthouse at the Lightstation
This is looking down the spiral stairs that lead up to the light in the lighthouse. Notice the center pillar going down to the bottom. This is where the heavy counter weights were to turn the fresnel lens. I will show you inside that dark hole at the bottom in the next picture.
As you can see inside this pillar the chain and heavy counterweight. This weight would be crancked up to the top by the Lighthouse Keepers and as the weight slowly came down it would rotate the large prisms lens to give the illusion out at sea the light was flashing.
Now that the Lighthouse has been automated with an electric beacon light. In the event of a power out there is a backup light that will flash.
Here I am with the light from the tower in the background
This is the Assistant Keepers' Quarters, which was a Triplex. One of the original buildings from 1889, it housed the assistant keepers and their families.
The Head Keeper's House. It was originally built as one-story in 1889, it housed coal and the steam-powered donkey engine which powered the tram system that moved people and supplies to the top of Pt. Sur. Later the head keeper's house was added to the top.