Point Bonita hilltop


Pt. Bonita stands guard on the northern flank of the Golden Gate Straight. For well over a century lighthouse keepers, military spotters, rescue crews, and navigation aids have occupied these dramatic ocean bluffs. At the high point along the cliffs, between the Pt. Bonita Lighthouse and Battery Mendell, the hilltop has been scraped flat and here there are ruins from earlier occupations.

Marin Headlands - Point Bonita

Flying the kite from the hilltop.

The bluffs along this rugged coast break the force of the Pacific Ocean’s waves while the ridge running from north to south provides protection from the often-fierce wind. The lighthouse keepers built their homes in this buffered leeward zone and the trail out to the lighthouse enjoys its protection. The protected shore east of the ridge was home to piers serving the early days of Fort Cronkhite and Fort Barry. Here too was the 1899 Coast Guard lifeboat station that would launch boats to round the point on rescue missions.

Marin Headlands - Point Bonita

A stitched panorama showing the trail from the vicinity of the lightkeeper’s residence to the Pt. Bonita Lighthouse.

At the hilltop there is a contemporary radar installation, which I believe monitors Bay Area ship traffic. Scattered around the radar site are the ruins of earlier military structures. Several of these seem to have been lookouts and fire control stations for the adjacent gun batteries. Their current mantle of graffiti stands in sharp contrast to the military order that must have existed decades ago.

Marin Headlands - Point Bonita
Ruin of fire control station.

The original 1855 lighthouse was located on this 260-foot bluff  before being moved in 1877 to the lower elevations of the outer point where its beam would struggle less with the summer fog.

Here is a set of images from the session that I have posted to Flickr:




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