Having seen all the lighthouses on the Oregon Coast, it was time to branch out in order to expand my list of illuminated sentinels. With that goal in mind, a camping trip to Brookings included a day trip over the border to coastal California’s northernmost county. Battery Point Vista Area sits at the south end of four miles of scenic seacoast encompassed by Crescent City and acts as the launch pad for Battery Point Lighthouse.
Comparing it to Oregon’s lighthouses, the Battery Point beacon most resembles Yaquina Bay Lighthouse: a short tower sits atop a rectangular building rather than the more traditional full length cylindrical shape; a covered doorway reached via stairs is centered under the tower; and a pair of symmetrical windows flanks each side of the entrance. Unlike the Yaquina Bay Light, though, the Battery Point architecture has a Spanish Colonial Revival flair typical of coastal California. And, unique from any lighthouse in Oregon, Battery Point Lighthouse rests on a tidal islet not far from the mainland. A 200-foot channel fills with water when the ocean rises preventing access unless the tides cooperate.
In order to get close to Battery Point Lighthouse you must plan your stop around the ocean’s natural rhythm – or just luck into good timing, as was the case for my husband and me.
Check out the Oregon Coast Lighthouse Roundup.
Battery Point Lighthouse
Access to Battery Point Lighthouse varies with the seasons and tides. The schedule is posted at the Battery Point Vista Area parking, yet is also flexible based on keeper discretion.
The initial ramp to sea level appears to be ADA accessible, which is rather strange since the ground to cross after the sloped walkway is at the ocean’s discretion. Rocks and gravel are guaranteed, but their placement changes with each cycle of ebbing and flowing.
The first leg of the walk is the longest, yet less strenuous than the climb up the islet’s side. Close to 450 steps (I don’t usually count higher than 200) reaches the first path-side bench. The climb from sea level to the doorway is quite steep. Fortunately, there are benches and picnic tables at intervals no farther than 75 steps apart.
You pass signs along the way reminding you that you are approaching a private residence; the role of lightkeeper is waning but not yet antiquated. The lighthouse building is the starting point for tours and also houses a museum and a gift shop.
|Terrain:||Paved ramp followed by gravel and rocks, ever-changing due to the ocean. A steep climb on sidewalk turns into gravel for the final section of the walk. Stairs reach the lighthouse doorway. Area surrounding the lighthouse is primarily gravel.|
|Seating:||Several benches and picnic tables along the path that climbs from the sand to the lighthouse, plus additional benches and picnic tables around the lighthouse.|
|Fee: No fee to visit the islet. A small donation is accepted for lighthouse tours. Approximate hours, based on tides, are posted on a sign in the Battery Point Vista Area parking lot.|
|Restrooms:||None available on the island. Nearest are on the north side of the parking lot.|
|Directions:||From Highway 101 in Crescent City, head west on Front Street. Turn left when Front Street ends at Lighthouse Way. Follow Lighthouse Way into the Battery Point Vista Area parking lot. The path to the lighthouse starts with a zigzag ramp on the south side of the parking lot.|
If the path to Battery Point Lighthouse is submerged when you arrive or the walk is too strenuous for your abilities, you can enjoy a view of ocean, pier, and the rocky mound footing Battery Point Lighthouse from seating adjacent to the Battery Point Vista Area parking lot. Take your pick from a table accessed via sidewalk or a lawn-encircled bench. Both provide an excellent vantage of the surrounding sights.
|Terrain:||Pavement and sidewalk to picnic table. Grass if you continue to the bench.|
|Seating:||Bench and picnic table|
|Fee: No fee|
|Restrooms:||Yes, on the north side of the parking lot.|
|Directions:||From Highway 101 in Crescent City, head west on Front Street. Turn left when Front Street ends at Lighthouse Way. Follow Lighthouse Way into the Battery Point Vista Area parking lot. View seating is found on the south side of the parking lot.|