I love lighthouses and have visited nearly all of them on the west coast, so there was no way I was going to stay in Crescent City and not visit the Battery Point Lighthouse And Museum.
So after spending the morning exploring the Simpson-Reed Discovery Trail and Leiffer-Ellsworth Loop Trails at Jedediah Smith State Park, we had to drive back into town for low tide. Why? During high tide, the island that Battery Point Lighthouse is on is surrounded by water and there is no way to get to it…
Battery Point Lighthouse is only accessible during low tide, when a two hundred foot isthmus connects Battery Point with the island.
Visiting Battery Point Lighthouse
We stopped at the picnic area above Pebble Beach and Preston Island for lunch then walked out to the beautiful lighthouse. It was perfect timing because we could walk out to Battery Point, explore the island and historic buildings, take in the spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, snap a bunch of photos, and not feel rushed — mostly.
I say mostly because time on the island is limited. You have to watch the time and be back on the mainland before the tide comes back in. The problem is that because it is only accessible for a short time each day, it is very crowded — there were a ton of people visiting the lighthouse!
About 30 people were waiting to enter the lighthouse museum when arrived. The tours were fairly long and after 20 minutes, no one came out of the lighthouse and no one went in. When a tour guide came out, they said only 10 people could enter at a time. When we realized that it would be hours before we could enter the lighthouse, we decided to just explore the island and peek in the windows!
About The Battery Point Lighthouse
Since the day the fourth-order Fresnel lens was first lit in 1856, the Battery Point Lighthouse has survived massive weather events and all sorts of changes, including:
- A structure fire in 1879
- The installation of a new fourth-order lens in 1907
- Automation in 1953
- A massive tsunami tidal wave in 1964
- It’s decommission in 1965
- Its relighting in 1982 as a private aid to navigation
Originally named Crescent City Light Station, the Battery Point Lighthouse and Museum is run by the Del Norte Historical Society.
Today, caretakers live in the lighthouse and conduct tours of the premises. On a tour, you can step into the personal quarters of light keepers and their families, climb into the light tower, view its Fresnel lens, and check out maritime artifacts, photographs, and documents that chronicle its history.
In 1855, the ship America burned in the Crescent City Harbor. Three cannons were salvaged from the shipwreck and mounted nearby on the point at the northern side of the harbor’s entrance. The cannons, which were often fired during Fourth of July celebrations, led to the point being named Battery Point.
Know Before You Go
- Battery Point Lighthouse is located at the foot of A Street at 235 Lighthouse Way, Crescent City, California 95531 in Del Norte County.
- The Lighthouse Museum is open April through September, tides permitting, between the hours of 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, every day. October through March, tides permitting, the lighthouse is open 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on weekends only.
- Admission is free for members of the Del Norte County Historical Society.
- The lighthouse is accessible by foot only during low tide. You can go inside the light house but only a small number of people are allowed inside at one time and the line gets VERY long.
- Be careful when walking the two hundred feet between the mainland and Battery Point Island if there is water in the area. Sneaker waves can threaten visitors standing on or near the rocks.
- The US Lighthouse Service ran the light station until 1936 when the US Coast Guard took over ownership until it was decommissioned in 1965. The light was reactivated as a private aid to navigation in 1982.
- The lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Crescent City Lighthouse. It is also a California Historical Landmark.
- A ghost is said to haunt the lighthouse residence.
- There are no public restroom facilities available on Battery Point Island.