• The Point Reyes Beach as viewed from the Point Reyes Headlands

    Point Reyes

    National Seashore California

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  • 2014 Harbor Seal Pupping Season Closures

    From March 1 through June 30, the park implements closures of certain Tomales Bay beaches and Drakes Estero to water-based recreation to protect harbor seals during the pupping season. Please avoid disturbing seals to ensure a successful pupping season. More »

  • 2014 Winter Shuttle Bus Operations Have Ended

    March 30, 2014, was the last day for the 2014 Winter Shuttle Bus System. Sir Francis Drake Blvd. is open daily from now through late December 2014. More »

  • Operational Changes Took Effect on May 1, 2013

    The Lighthouse Visitor Center is now only open Fridays through Mondays; closed Tuesdays through Thursdays, including Thanksgiving. The Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center is open on weekends and holidays when shuttles are operating. More »

Visitor Centers

Visitor Centers - Bear Valley ¦ Kenneth C. Patrick ¦ Lighthouse

All Visitor Centers are usually open throughout the year, but are closed December 25. However, the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center will be closed through late May 2014 and from September 2, 2014, through late December 2014. Visitor Centers may close at 2 pm on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Call 415-464-5100 for hours of operation on these holidays.

 

Bear Valley Visitor Center
Open: Year round.
Closed: December 25.

Winter hours began Sunday, November 3, 2013:
The Bear Valley Visitor Center is open on:
Weekdays from 10 am to 4:30 pm
Weekends and holidays from 9 am to 4:30 pm

Phone: 415-464-5100
Directions

 
Bear Valley Visitor Center

The park's primary Visitor Center provides an orientation of the park's roads, trails, and human and natural history. The Bear Valley Visitor Center was designed to blend in with the historically significant ranching culture of this area and is located in the heart of the Olema Valley. The interior exhibit space provides a glimpse of the diverse ecosystems and cultural heritage of the park and includes a seismograph, touch table, auditorium, and book sales area. Audio-visual programs, shown in the auditorium, are available upon request. Natural history books, cards and posters are for sale in the bookstore. Reservations and permits for backcountry camping, as well as beach fire permits, may be obtained here. Allow at least 45 minutes to view exhibits and to watch an audio-visual program.

The Bear Valley Visitor Center is located 0.8 kilometer (0.5 mile) west of Olema, CA along Bear Valley Road.

Additional information:

  • Good rainy day activity.
  • Handicap accessible.
  • Restrooms are available in the Visitor Center or in the trailhead parking lot 24 hours a day.
  • A picnic area with barbecue grills is located across the driveway. Only charcoal briquettes may be used in the grills. Woodfires are prohibited.
  • Many trailheads are located near the Bear Valley Visitor Center.

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Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center

Operational Changes Began May 1, 2013:
The Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center is scheduled to be closed for most of the year, but is scheduled to reopen for weekends during the summer (Saturday, May 24, 2014, through Monday, September 1, 2014). The Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center will be open on weekends and holidays from 9:30 am until 4:30 pm when the park operates the Winter Shuttle Bus System.

Phone: 415-669-1250
Directions from the Bear Valley Visitor Center

 
Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center

Located at beautiful Drakes Beach, the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center contains exhibits that focus on 16th century maritime exploration, marine fossils and marine environments. A minke whale skeleton is suspended from the ceiling. Natural history books, cards and posters are for sale in the bookstore. Allow 20-30 minutes to view exhibits.

The Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center is 30 minutes from Bear Valley on Drakes Beach off of Sir Frances Drake Blvd.

Special Event: Annual Sand Sculpture Contest, Labor Day Sunday.

Additional information:

  • Good rainy day activity.
  • Handicap accessible.
  • Restrooms and outdoor shower are available 24 hours a day.
  • A pay phone is available outside the Visitor Center.
  • There are picnic tables and barbecue grills nearby. Only charcoal briquettes may be used in the grills. Woodfires are only permitted on the beach.
  • Drakes Beach Café, located next to the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center, is indefinitely closed.

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The Lighthouse Visitor Center and the Point Reyes Historic Lighthouse
Open year round.
Closed December 25.

Operational Changes Began May 1, 2013:
The Lighthouse Visitor Center and the stairs leading down to the Lighthouse are open on:
Fridays through Mondays from 10 am to 4:30 pm
Closed Tuesdays through Thursdays.
The stairs to the lighthouse are closed when winds exceed 40 miles per hour (64 km/h).

The Lighthouse Visitor Center, the stairs leading down to the Lighthouse, and the Lens Room are scheduled to reopen on Thursdays from May 29, 2014, through August 28, 2014.

Phone: 415-669-1534
Directions from the Bear Valley Visitor Center

 
Lighthouse Visitor Center

The Lighthouse Visitor Center offers exhibits on the historic Point Reyes Lighthouse, as well as on whales, seals and sea lions, wildflowers, birds and maritime history.

The Lighthouse Visitor Center is located 45 minutes west of Bear Valley on the Point Reyes Headlands, at the end of Sir Francis Drake Blvd. On weekends and holidays from late December through mid-April when visitation by whale watchers to the Point Reyes Lighthouse area is heavy, visitors may be required to ride a shuttle bus from Drakes Beach to the Lighthouse and Chimney Rock areas. There is a 650 meter (0.4 mile) walk (mostly uphill) from the parking lot/shuttle stop to the Lighthouse Visitor Center.

 
Point Reyes Lighthouse

The Point Reyes Lighthouse itself is another 150 meters (0.1 miles) beyond the Visior Center at the base of some 300 steps--the equivalent of 30 stories. The lens room, which houses the original clockworks and first-order Fresnel lens that were manufactured in 1867 and installed in 1870, is open from 2:30 pm to 4 pm, Thursdays through Mondays, as staffing and weather conditions permit. The lower chamber of the historic lighthouse has exhibit panels on the history of the light and the keepers. The equipment building next to the lighthouse exhibits the two 1947 super typhon foghorns, the air compressors, and a backup power generator that were used at Point Reyes.

Special Event: Evening programs illuminating the historic light have in the past occurred on the first and third Saturday of the month, April through December. Please Note: For 2013, the evening programs will only be offered on the first and third Saturday of the month from June through August. There is no fee, but reservations are required. Please call 415-669-1534 between 10 am and 4:30 pm on the day of the program to reserve a spot.

Additional information:

  • Allow at least 2 hours round trip for travel to and from the Lighthouse from the Bear Valley area and another hour to tour the Visitor Center and Lighthouse.
  • Please take your time walking from the parking lot to the Visitor Center and climbing the stairs.
  • Visitors will likely experience high winds, cool temperatures, fog and/or rain along the 800 meter (0.5 mile) walk to the Lighthouse, so dress appropriately.
  • When wind speeds exceed 40 m.p.h., the stairs leading down to the lighthouse are closed for visitors' safety. Wind Forecast
  • Restrooms are available 24 hours a day.
  • A pay phone is available outside the Visitor Center.

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White Shark. © Scot Anderson

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