The Cypress Tree Tunnel, made famous by throngs of Instagrammers, lines the 0.25 mile driveway leading to Point Reyes National Seashore North District Operations Center inside the Historic KPH Maritime Radio Receiving Station.
The Monterey cypress trees, planted around 1930, have grown together over the road to create a natural tunnel that is simply stunning. You can see the Cypress Tree Tunnel about from about a mile away, but nothing prepares you for the beauty of the filtered sunlight shining through the leaves of the trees.
After parking, we walked to the end of the road and back, snapping photos and taking in the view. We then checked out the Historic KPH Maritime Radio Receiving Station, but it was closed.
KPH Maritime Radio Receiving Station
The historic KPH Maritime Radio Receiving Station, also called the Marine Coast Station KPH, is an Art Deco-designed wireless telegraph station near Point Reyes Beach where operators tapped out Morse Code messages from the shore to ships at sea.
The station dates back to the radio era in the early years of the twentieth century. KPH began operations at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California, using the callsign “PH.” Forced out by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, the station moved from one temporary site to another until it was acquired by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) and relocated to Marin County.
The station was retired in the 1990s. It was set to be demolished, but Globe Wireless acquired the site in 1997. Luckily, the radio, Morse communications, and teletype equipment — some of it dating to the World War II era — remained intact.
In 1999, the Maritime Radio Historical Society (MRHS), working with the Point Reyes National Seashore, began restoring KPH to full operation. It is now maintained by former employees and members of the MRHS. North America’s only surviving Morse Code coast station is now used to broadcast on numerous frequencies, including KPH.
Know Before You Go
- The Cypress Tree Tunnel at the North District Operations Center of Point Reyes National Seashore is located north of San Francisco at 19472 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, Inverness, California 94937 in Marin County.
- The Cypress Tree Tunnel is not on the park map, but you can get directions at the Visitor Center. It sits halfway between the Lighthouse and the Visitor Center. Look for the “North District Operations Center” sign. The tree tunnel is just beyond on the right.
- Park in the parking lot on the left at the end of the driveway closest to the Historic RCA Coast Station KPH. Do not park along the driveway, you will damage the roots of these historic trees.
- Most Saturdays throughout the year, Maritime Radio Historical Society (MRHS) members welcome visitors and provide guided tours of the Historic KPH Receiving Station from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Visitors can experience Morse code being sent and received, and even send a radiogram to someone.
- Opportunities to use the Receiving Station’s restrooms are limited. If closed, the nearest restroom facilities are located at the Estero Trailhead and at the North Beach parking area.
- You can hear the KPH public coast radio station on air every Saturday from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm.