The Lighthouse Board first ordered a light to be constructed at Pt. Reyes in 1855. Due to difficulties in purchasing the site and difficult construction, however, it was not lighted until December of 1870. The magnificent 1000-prism first-order fresnel lens is still in place. Point Reyes Lighthouse was retired from service in 1975 when the U.S. Coast Guard installed an automated light and transferred the old lighthouse to the National Park Service.
Pt. Reyes is one of the foggiest places in North America, and for this reason the lighthouse was built just above the water, below the characteristic "high fog" of the Bay Area.
The Lighthouse Visitor Center is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Thursday through Monday, with the 300 steps leading down to the lighthouse open, weather permitting, 10:00 am to 4:30 pm.