Visit the Marin Headlands’ 145-year-old Point Bonita Lighthouse This Summer After a Two-Year Closure

Point Bonita

With its gorgeous views, vibrant wildflowers and ubiquitous wildlife-spotting, a hike in the Marin Headlands is to be treasured. But the best hikes always have an end goal, and now our pot at the end of the rainbow — the Point Bonita Lighthouse — is back, after a two-year Covid-19 closure.

“To see the cityscape of San Francisco and the rugged shoreline of coastal Marin County at the same time is something that you can’t do at very many places around the bay,” says Julian Espinoza of the National Park Service.

A 30-year member of the National Register of Historic Places, Point Bonita has been operated as an active lighthouse since 1855, one of the only Coast Guard lighthouses left in California.

Perhaps the most thrilling part of any visit is traversing the lighthouse tunnel and crossing the building’s attached suspension bridge — the only lighthouse in the entire country that still has one. The old Army buildings adjacent to the lighthouse, now used for environmental education programs, are also worth exploring.

Photo by NPS/Francis Ng.

The Point Bonita Lighthouse is now open for free self-guided tours (with the help of an audio app and staff along the trail) every Sunday and Monday from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Parking is limited, and lines can be long, so arrive well before 3:30 p.m. to ensure you get to cross the suspension bridge. As of May, you can also attend a Saturday docent-led sunset tour, which costs is $16 for adults and $10 for youth.

Note: Pets and bikes aren’t allowed on the Point Bonita trail. Don’t forget to bring binoculars to spot whales and porpoises in season

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Maria De La O is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and is an award-winning writer and editor, having contributed to publications including the Village Voice, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Curve and the Washington Post. She lives in San Francisco and New York with her partner and uber-cool daughter, Vivienne. She supports all manner of media nonprofits and volunteers for Dear Community, an initiative to revive San Francisco Chinatown and support AAPI elders.