Across the water from San Francisco in the Marin Headlands, Point Bonita Lighthouse is a beautiful spot that is worth the somewhat tricky planning to get to. This lighthouse sits out on a rock and has a suspension bridge that allows visitors to get across. The views from the lighthouse and the bridge are just incredible. It is only open two days a week though so you need to do some planning to make it work, here is all the information.
- Limited parking near the trailhead
- 1 mile round trip hike with 300 feet of elevation
- Only open two days a week for a limited time, find more information on open times here
- This information is from my visit in 2018
- Read more of my favorite San Francisco spots here
The lighthouse is located on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge, and you need a rental car to get there. There may be public transit options, but I am not aware of them, so if you are, leave that info in the comments. I recommend getting out there an hour or so before the lighthouse trail opens. That way you can get a good spot, and you can explore the surrounding areas and batteries (old bunkers) while you wait. There are some fantastic coastal views from these trails, so it’s worth getting there early.
The Lighthouse Trail
You can hike the trail any time, but the small cave passageway through the rock is only open when the lighthouse is open. It takes about 15 minutes to get down to that part of the trail so people will often go down there and wait for the door to open.
We just waited till noon (when they open the gate) and started the trail down to the lighthouse, so when we got to the door, it was already open.
The trail is beautiful, with lots of great views of the coast and back at the Golden Gate Bridge, so you will want to take your time.
Once you get to the rock, you go through the old tunnel, and then when you come out, you will see the lighthouse only about 100 yards in front of you.
Since it only open a few days a week, there are always many people who want to see it. Because of that, there is typically a line to wait in to go across the bridge.
I appreciated that though as they didn’t rush you, and it made it so there were fewer people on the small plot of land that the lighthouse sits on.
The bridge is really cool as well, so take your time walking across it and look down at the waves crashing below you.
Once you get over to the lighthouse, there is not much to do, but the views are epic.
The lighthouse is not open to walk to the top of, but you can walk into the bottom floor, which has a few exhibits.
I spent probably 20 minutes over here just walking around and taking in all of the views before going back across the bridge. It is a beautiful part of California and an awesome thing to do in San Francisco. Here is a video I made on the area as well, and let me know what you think in the comments.