Point Montara Lighthouse

Montara, California - 1928 (1875**)

Photo of the Point Montara Lighthouse.

History of the Point Montara Lighthouse

From what I have read, due to many ships being lost in the area, a fog signal was first placed near the coast here in 1872. It remained a fog signal station until the first lighthouse was built in 1900. That light served for thirty years until the current light replaced it in 1928.

Although only 30 feet tall, the Point Montara light actually has a focal plane of 70 feet thanks to the ledge that the light sits atop. That coupled with the fourth-order Fresnel lens made the light visible fourteen miles out to sea. The Fresnel lens has since been removed in favor of a modern optic, and the fog signal was replaced with an offshore sound buoy.

The station was automated in 1970. The lighthouse stands on the grounds of a hostel.

Directions: The lighthouse sits just off of Highway 1 near Montara, California. Don't be driving too fast or you will zip right by it. It is a fairly small lighthouse and is blocked by some of the houses that sit on the American Youth Hostel grounds. When I was there, the gates to the grounds were closed. I pulled over on the opposite side of the street and walked across to the roadside. I used a 210mm zoom lens and snapped a few shots off.

View more Point Montara Lighthouse pictures
Tower Information
Tower Height: 30.00'
Focal Plane: 70'
Active Aid to Navigation: Yes
*Latitude: 37.53650 N
*Longitude: -122.51930 W
See this lighthouse on Google Maps.


* Please note that all GPS coordinates are approximated and are meant to put you in the vicinity of the lighthouse, not for navigation purposes.

** This year denotes a station date. This is the year that a lighthouse was first reported in the vicinity or at that location.

All photographs and information on this site is copyright © 2016 Bryan Penberthy unless otherwise specified. No content may be used without written permission. Any questions or comments, please email me.