Big Sur
Pont Sur Light Station
Neil Wiley


When it comes to dramatic landscapes, it’s hard to beat Big Sur. A narrow highway threads its way by huge, rugged mountain cliffs in a rainbow of colors thrust up from the deep blue and wide Pacific Ocean. The views are spectacular.

The weather is dramatic, too. When I drove by the Point Sur Light Station at 10 a.m., I couldn’t find it. The fog was so thick I couldn’t see the lighthouse, or even the entire mountain on which it sits.

When I reached the base of the giant moro rock formation, the wind was so strong that it knocked me down. Visitors’ cheeks turned pink. Hats were lost. And the docent had to shout to be heard. As we walked a half-mile up the 360-foot mountain and up to the top of the tower, the winds got even stronger, but as the fog lifted, the views were worth it. They were stunning.

We also received some respite from the wind as we toured several buildings at the summit. After walking up inside the lighthouse and around a turn on the exterior catwalk, we walked up more stairs to visit the granite triplex, the head keeper’s house, a barn, workshop, oil house, three-car garage, tower-fog signal building, and a newer one-story building built by the Coast Guard.

A museum displayed many historical artifacts and pictures. Last, but not least, we visited a gift shop where we paid our bill. (It’s too bad we couldn’t visit the store first. Many of us needed sweat shirts for the walk up. On the other hand, we could replace lost caps.) After the fog lifted, the sunshine was glorious.

I recommend this tour, but here are a few hints. Be sure to bring a jacket and headgear that won’t blow off. Be prepared to walk a half-mile up a relatively steep grade. The road is paved, but with few guardrails. Children must be supervised. No pets are allowed.

Be early. Tours fill up quickly. (The limit is forty people per tour.) No reservations are accepted. To get in line, park at the signed farm gate located on the west side of Highway 1, approximately 19 miles south of Rio Road in Carmel. If you drive by the entrance to the Point Sur Naval Facility, you’ve gone one-quarter mile too far.

From April to September, day tours are on Saturdays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and one tour on Sundays at 10 a.m.
Moonlight tours are available on Sunday, August 26, and Monday, August 27. Both start at 6:45 p.m. Moonlight tours on Monday, September 24, and Tuesday, September 25, start at 6 p.m.

The three-hour daylight tour is $15.00 for adults, $5.00 for children 6 through 17. Moonlight tours are $25.00 for adults, $10.00 for children from 6 to 17. Children five years of age and under are admitted free. Credit cards are accepted.

For more information, visit, or call 831-625-4419.