The Cape Lookout Lighthouse is open for climbing from the third week in May to the third weekend in September. Self-guiding tours of up to 10 people* will begin every 15 minutes during the hours of operation.
The lighthouse may close at any time if conditions (i.e.: temperature/humidity, lightning, or high winds) are determined to be unsafe.
Tickets are required.
Each ticket is good only for the date and time stamped on the ticket. Ticket holders should arrive at the lighthouse 10 minutes before their scheduled climb. Tickets will not be refunded for late arriving guests.
* The safety limit of 10 people in the upper levels of the lighthouse was established by engineers after they examined the structure.
Warning: The climb to the top is strenuous. It may be hot, humid, noisy and dim inside the lighthouse. Climbing the 207 steps to the gallery is roughly equal to climbing a 12-story building. The stairs are narrow and groups going up will share the stairs with groups returning to the bottom.
Visitors with heart, respiratory, or other medical conditions -- or those who have trouble climbing stairs -- should probably not attempt the climb. Visitors who do not wish to climb can view the four outside "View from the Top" exhibits located near the lighthouse Keepers' Quarters, the panorama located in the Keepers' Quarters Museum, and the online panoramas on this website.
Children must be at least 44 inches tall to climb the lighthouse due to the often strong winds at the top that can knock children off their feet.
Climbers who are 12 years old or younger must be accompanied by someone 16 years of age or older.
To keep hands free for handrails, no person may be lifted or carried. Food, drinks, and bulky personal items (e.g. backpacks, tripods) should be left outside the lighthouse.
Shoes are required. Heels should be less than 1½ inches. Flip-flops are not recommended.
Last updated: January 16, 2020