Woven into Humboldt County's rich maritime history are the lighthouses that can still be seen today.
The Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse
The Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse is a 25’ concrete replica of the original lighthouse on the tip of Trinidad Head. It was built in 1949 by the Trinidad Civic Club as a memorial to those lost or buried at sea. Special services are held every Memorial Day weekend by the Trinidad Civic Club.
Location: South facing bluff within City of Trinidad at Trinity & Edwards Streets.
Viewing: The Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse and garden is free, 24 hours daily.
Both lighthouses participate in the Lighthouse Passport program sponsored by the U. S. Lighthouse Society. Passports and stamps are available at: Trinidad Museum - 400 Janis Court at Patricks Point Dr. 707-677-3883, Thurs-Sun, 12:30 p.m.-4 p.m.
Trinidad Head Lighthouse
The Trinidad Head Lighthouse began its operation in 1871 and is still in service today as a Maritime navigational aid. In 1946, the lighthouse keeper was replaced by automation and the bell that had been added in 1898 was replaced in 1942 by a compressed air horn. In December of 1914, the lighthouse was struck by the highest recorded wave to strike the west coast. The wave extinguished the light 196’ above sea level but was back in service within four hours thanks to Lightkeeper F.L. Harrington, the keeper from 1888-1916.
Location: sits out on the southwest facing cliff on Trinidad Head overlooking the ocean.
Viewing: The lighthouse is visible from an observation platform on the Trinidad Head trail above the lighthouse or from a distance, off the viewing platform south of the granite cross that commemorates the Spanish landing in 1775.
Tours: Only open for tours conducted by the US Coast Guard on the second Sunday every June during the Trinidad Fish Festival. A special shuttle van takes visitors to the location.
Table Bluff Lighthouse at Woodley Island
The first lighthouse to mark Humboldt Bay was located on the northern entrance to the bay in 1856. It served as both a coastal and a harbor light. Prone to flooding and obscured by fog, it was relocated in 1892 to Table Bluff, four miles south of the entrance to the bay and 165 feet high. In 1975 powerful new range lights were established at the entrance to the harbor and the Table Bluff lighthouse was deactivated. History
Location: The lighthouse tower was relocated to Southwest end of the Woodley Island Marina, Eureka in 1987. The original Fresnel lens is now on display at the Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum in Samoa (just outside Eureka). The museum also has the cupola from the original Humboldt Bay Lighthouse, which was found in the sand on the northern spit in 1987.
Viewing: Woodley Island is open to the public. The lighthouse can be seen from the Don Clausen Embarcadero. It is also quite visible from the Eureka Boardwalk.
Cape Mendocino Lighthouse at Shelter Cove
This lighthouse was originally built on a cliff on Cape Mendocino, the westernmost point in California in 1868. The 43 foot tower was 422 feet above sea level. The station was automated in 1951. The light was moved to a nearby pole and the Fresnel lens to Ferndale where it can be seen today at the fairgrounds. Only the tower remained until 1998.
Location: Mal Coombs Park - Shelter Cove. In 1998, the Cape Mendocino Lighthouse Preservation Society moved the tower to Shelter Cove, 30 miles south of Cape Mendocino. After two years of restoration, the tower was opened to the public in May 2000. MAP
photo courtesy Rudolph Rico.
Viewing: Located on BLM property, the grounds are open to the public.
All that remains at the original site is the tower's foundation and a nearby plaque commemorating the lighthouse.
Punta Gorda Lighthouse - Lost Coast
After losing nine ships along this isolated section of the “Lost Coast” the Punta Gorda Lighthouse was put into operation in 1912. Replaced by a navigational buoy in 1951, the lighthouse was closed. Surrounding outbuildings were burned down by the BLM in 1970 leaving the tower and oil house that remain today. It was restored in 1989.
Location: Remote stretch of beach on the Lost Coast in the King Range Conservation Area southwest of Petrolia. Access to this location is from the parking lot at the end of Lighthouse Rd -- 3.5 mile sandy beach hike with a portion that cannot be passed at high tide and wading a creek during the winter months. MAP
photo courtesy Rudolph Rico
Viewing: Located on BLM property, the grounds and lighthouse are open to the public - FREE
Guided hike to the Punta Gorda Lighthouse by Lost Coast Adventure Tours 707-986-9895