We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Be sure to check hours before you go...”

Point Bonita Lighthouse
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Early Bird 45-Minute Golden Gate Bridge Boat Tour
Ranked #12 of 190 things to do in Marin County
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Point Bonita today is part of the largest urban national park in the United States, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. A secret jewel of the Bay Area, Point Bonita is still an active lighthouse. The U.S. Coast Guard maintains the lighthouse and the National Park Service provides access to visitors. Point Bonita Lighthouse is reached by a half mile trail that is very steep in parts. Discover Point Bonita's wild landscape, geology and fascinating history. The tunnel halfway to the lighthouse is open only during visiting hours: Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Reviewed 13 March 2014

We really wanted to see this lighthouse- it looked really cool from a distance, but unfortunately it was only open to school groups the day we were there... very disappointing, but it was still a really nice hike down to the entrance. Beautiful scenery, another view of the Golden Gate, seals basking on the beach below, a couple of deer on the cliffs. It's a very picturesque area! Also very windy- hold on to your hats! Signage isn't obvious--- opening hours are posted on a board at the entrance of the hike, but if you're not paying attention (like us and everyone else that also made the trip out to see the lighthouse) you'll get all the way down and be turned away at the door... Oh well... maybe next time...

1  Thank KaChHa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a ReviewReviews (202)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
  • More languages
All reviews
"suspension bridge"
in 24 reviews
"light house"
in 21 reviews
"marin headlands"
in 18 reviews
"golden gate"
in 29 reviews
"rodeo beach"
in 7 reviews
"small bridge"
in 3 reviews
"sat mon"
in 5 reviews
"san francisco"
in 20 reviews
"hike downhill"
in 2 reviews
"beautiful viewpoint"
in 2 reviews
"long path"
in 2 reviews
"gun battery"
in 2 reviews
"steep cliffs"
in 2 reviews
"hawk hill"
in 5 reviews
"sea lions swimming"
in 2 reviews
"pacific ocean"
in 5 reviews
"awesome pictures"
in 2 reviews

134 - 138 of 202 reviews

Reviewed 7 March 2014

This was a treat! Check for days and times open. The views are amazing! The bridge to the lighthouse was fun to cross and the Park Rangers were very nice.

Thank LSwengr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 February 2014

Spend your afternoon on a trek hiking along jagged sea cliffs, through mountains, and across a knee-buckling suspension bridge on your way to a quaint lighthouse at Point Bontia. The car ride along Hawk Hill to arrive at the trailhead showcases incredible views with a background of the fog-blanketed city of San Francisco and a foreground of the Golden Gate Bridge. With steep cliffs and limited street railings, this one-lane road guarantees a white-knuckled driver. Upon arriving at the trail, a 15-minute hike awaits. The first leg is a journey along a jagged cliff that falls to the crashing waves of the San Francisco Bay. Sea lions flock atop rocks jutting from the bay just below the trail. The curvy path continues beside towering rock formations. The next part of the hike is through a tunnel cut into a mountain. This man-made tunnel is somewhat crude because the mountain is solid rock, but the obvious time expended truly builds appreciation. After emerging from the cramped tunnel, Point Bonita Lighthouse can finally be seen beyond a long suspension bridge. The lighthouse is barely visible from this point as the classic San Francisco fog almost never seems to burn away. Though the bridge was built less than two years ago, it still sways with the wind, reminding visitors that it is the thin barrier between a rocky cavern and the Pacific Ocean. Across the bridge sits the Point Bonita Lighthouse, a humble structure that lays atop one of the highest points on the Golden Gate. As evident from the numerous interactive checkpoints along the trail, its height proved to be an issue as the fog blocked the lighthouse’s rays from warning ships because it was so high. This illustrates how bigger is not always better, and that nature rules above man. However, when on the lighthouse, the seemingly endless California coastline can be seen. Red clay tiles that have been worn out from the harsh ocean air contrast beautifully with the emerald Pacific Ocean to the west, the exciting urban life in San Francisco to the southeast, and the stunning sea cliffs to the north. This overwhelming display of nature is sure to surprise anyone especially because of its proximity to the bustling city of San Francisco.

1  Thank michaelbarrett5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 February 2014

This lighthouse is one of the best that I have ever visited. It is an adventure just to get to it!! One of the roads to take to get to is a curvy, one-lane road along the edge of a mountain. Once you find it, you have to walk down a long path at a fairly steep incline until you come to a tunnel to walk through. The light itself is a little rusty and not very attractive, but all that is forgotten when you walk across the suspended walkway over to it. This is out over the rocky cliffs and the ocean and is just beautiful. The day my husband and I went it was extremely windy which just made it that much more adventurous. Also, on the way back up the walkway that day, a wildlife person was set up with a camera to watch the harbor seals down below. That was a bonus!!

Thank ChspkeGirl65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
See more reviews
Reviewed 29 December 2013

Whether you live in the Bay Area or are visiting, on a nice day this is one of the best hikes you can take - to the Point Bonita Lighthouse. The views are about the best available on the West Coast, allowing you to look back through the Golden Gate to the Bay along with sweeping views starting with SF and down the coast.

Tip: Take a lunch. At the start of the mostly paved walk down to the lighthouse, there are some grassy areas that just scream for you to stop,relax, have a bite, and enjoy the million dollar (probably billion dollar in today's economy) views. There are also lots of other great hikes and views around the area, including around the gun batteries.

Advisory 1: Currently the tunnel to the lighthouse is open only on Saturdays and Sundays starting at 12:30 for several hours. Because they allow only 49 people over the swinging bridge to the lighthouse at a time, you can stand waiting for a long time if you are not part of the first group in. So, be part of the first 49 waiting for the tunnel to open or be patient.

Advisory 2: The path down to the tunnel door and lighthouse is steep yet paved. The tunnel itself is not really paved and the path to the bridge is pretty much dirt. So a wheelchair may or may not make it. There is lots of handicapped parking, but I'm not sure if access is possible.

The lighthouse, built around 1855, is very historic and there is an info area in the small main building. Because there is no cost to get in, make a donation. A couple of docents are available to answer questions; they are very helpful. However, the big attraction are the views. There are probably few other locations on the West Coast where you can get out into the ocean via a spit of land that provides the vistas you'll see here. Because of its location, it can be very windy and chilly, so be prepared. But on a nice day, it is amazing!


1  Thank WineEng
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Point Bonita Lighthouse also viewed

Sausalito, Marin County
Sausalito, Marin County

Been to Point Bonita Lighthouse? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing