Visitor Centers

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

The Bear Valley and Lighthouse Visitor Centers are usually open throughout the year, but are closed December 25 and may close at 2 pm on Thanksgiving Day. The Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center is now closed for most of the year, except for weekends and federal holidays from late December through late March or early April. Visit our Operating Hours & Seasons page for specific hours.

 
A gray barn-like structure (the Bear Valley Visitor Center) with a field of California poppies in the foreground.

Bear Valley Visitor Center
Phone: 415-464-5100

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

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 (currently inoperable) and a touch table. Audio-visual programs, shown in the auditorium, are available upon request. Natural history books, cards, posters, and other merchandise 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.

Additional information:

  • Good rainy day activity.
  • Handicap accessible.
  • Restrooms are available in the Visitor Center (when open) or in the trailhead parking lot (6 am to midnight).
  • 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.

Top of Page

 
The Point Reyes Lighthouse Visitor Center and Ocean Exploration Center with the Pacific Ocean in the background.

The Lighthouse Visitor Center and the Point Reyes Historic Lighthouse
Phone: 415-669-1534

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 700 meter (0.45 mile) walk (mostly uphill) from the parking lot/shuttle stop to the Lighthouse Visitor Center.
Directions from the Bear Valley 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. A touch table allows visitors to feel baleen and to closely inspect the skulls of various marine mammals. The Fresnel lens from the San Francisco Lightship is also on display. Attached to the Lighthouse Visitor Center is the Ocean Exploration Center, which highlights the spectacularly rich and globally significant ocean environment of North-central California.

Check out our Visit the Point Reyes Lighthouse page for more information to help plan your trip.

Top of Page

 
A wooden building (the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center) on the edge of a parking lot.

Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center
Phone: 415-669-1250

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

Special Event: Annual Sand Sculpture Contest on the Sunday before Labor Day weekend.

Additional information:

  • Good rainy day activity.
  • Handicap accessible.
  • Restrooms and outdoor shower are available from 6 am to midnight.
  • 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.

Top of Page

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

Phone:

(415) 464-5100
This number will initially be answered by an automated attendant, from which one can opt to access a name directory, listen to recorded information about the park (i.e., directions to the park; visitor center hours of operation; weather forecast; fire danger information; shuttle bus system status; wildlife updates; ranger-led programs; seasonal events; etc.), or speak with a ranger. Please note that if you are calling between 4:30 pm and 10 am, park staff may not be available to answer your call.

Contact Us