Cattle Point Lighthouse

Color photograph of a white lighthouse with blazing light at sunset
The Cattle Point Lighthouse has been a beacon for sailors and island landmark since 1935

Kim Karu

Quick Facts
Friday Harbor, WA
Scenic and Historic Lighthouse

Beach/Water Access, Benches/Seating, Bicycle - Rack, Parking - Auto, Pets Allowed, Picnic Table

As you travel through our American Camp Unit on Cattle Point Road, the road narrows as you pass the Redoubt and the American Camp prairie. The views open up, providing a stunning place to watch sunsets and observe the Salish Sea. As you reach the park’s southern boundary, the road drops sharply in one of the steepest grades on the island; at the bottom of that steep hill is the Cattle Point lighthouse, a beacon which has been guiding mariners since 1935.

The first navigational aid at this site was erected in 1888, when a lens-lantern was placed near the site of the present day lighthouse. This light was maintained by the Jakle family, who were descended from an American Camp soldier and who homesteaded on our island at today's American Camp. A state-of-the-art (for the 1920s) radio-compass station was built here in 1921. The picturesque lighthouse, which is one of the most photographed lighthouses in Washington, followed in 1935

Today, Cattle Point is a part of San Juan Islands National Monument, which is a part of the Bureau of Land Management. The lighthouse is part of a natural area, where soaring bluffs provide majestic views of the seascape below. Visitors can walk down a steep and primitive trail to a rocky beach with excellent tide pools below the lighthouse. Eagles, foxes, and wildflowers are also found at and around the lighthouse; enjoy their company, but practice Leave No Trace principles and keep a 75 foot distance from wild animals and refrain from picking wildflowers during your visit.

San Juan Island National Historical Park

Last updated: July 26, 2022