Visitor Centers

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

All Visitor Centers are usually open throughout the year, but are closed December 25. 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.

Operational Changes which began on May 1, 2013:

Spring, summer, and early autumn hours from Sunday, March 8, 2015, through TBD:
The Bear Valley Visitor Center is open on:
Weekdays from 10 am to 5 pm
Weekends and holidays from 9 am to 5 pm

From July 3, 2015, through September 5, 2015, the Bear Valley Visitor Center will be open until 6 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Winter hours:
From TBD (early or mid-autumn 2015) through TBD (late winter or early spring 2016):
The Bear Valley Visitor Center will be 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. 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 which began on May 1, 2013:
Summer hours from Saturday, June 27, 2015, through Monday, September 7, 2015:
The Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center is open on:
Weekends and Mondays from 10 am to 4:30 pm.
Closed Tuesdays through Fridays.

After Labor Day, The Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center at Drakes Beach will be closed seven days a week through late December 2015. The Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center will then reopen for weekends and holidays from 9:30 am until 4:30 pm for the duration of the Winter Shuttle Bus System, which resumes operations on December 26, 2015.

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

The PRNSA Bookstore at Drakes Beach is open:
Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and federal holidays from 10 am to 4:30 pm
Closed Mondays through Thursdays

 
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. Allow 20–30 minutes to view exhibits.

Park- and ocean-themed books, guides, and postcards, and maps, along with coffee and packaged snacks are for sale in the PRNSA bookstore adjacent to the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center.

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.

Summer hours from Thursday, June 25, 2015, through Monday, September 7, 2015:

Hours: Thursday through Monday, 10 am to 4:30 pm.
Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
The stairs to the lighthouse are closed when winds exceed 40 miles per hour (64 km/h).

The Lens Room (the main chamber of the Lighthouse, which contains the Fresnel lens and clockwork mechanism) is only open (as weather & staffing permit): Thursdays through Mondays from 2:30 pm to 4 pm.

Operational Changes which began on May 1, 2013:
Hours of operations for the Lighthouse Visitor Center and the stairs leading down to the Lighthouse after September 7, 2015 are anticipated to will be similar to the reduced hours of the 2013–2014 and 2014–2015 fall-winter-spring seasons:
Open Fridays through Mondays from 10 am to 4:30 pm
Closed Tuesdays through Thursdays

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 Visitor Center at the base of some 300 steps—the equivalent of 25 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, Fridays 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 2015, the evening programs will only be offered on the first and third Saturday of the month from July 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 mph, 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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