Blog California

Don’t walk on the jetty though

October 14, 2021

One of California’s lesser-known lighthouses sits on a tiny islet on Battery Point, just south of Crescent City. To get there, you have to wait for low tide. At high tide, the islet is surrounded by water.

That path and all the gravel in front of it only appears at low tide.

We’re almost always in the Crescent City/Eureka area on Labor Day weekend and this place has been on my to-do list for a couple of years. There are a million things to see in this part of California and I don’t think I will ever get tired of visiting. I put some of my favorites in an article I did for Lonely Planet a few years ago and I wish I’d also included Battery Point Lighthouse because it’s worth a drive to Crescent City all by itself.

If you get there slightly before low tide, you can (in theory) walk out on the Crescent City Jetty, which is a breakwater covered at the end with giant concrete dolosse. These things look like really big anchors and were put on the jetty to help break up the waves during winter storms. 

Now that this experience is in the past, I’m actually going to not recommend walking out on the Crescent City Jetty. There are signs everywhere warning of deadly waves that can come crashing over the jetty even at low tide. Evidently, people get killed there occasionally, which might have given me pause if I’d actually known about it before I took my entire family and four children for a walk all the way to the end. In my defense, it was a calm, late summer afternoon and we did not see anything even close to a rogue wave. 

Don’t actually go out here though.

There was a long wait to get into the Battery Point Lighthouse, which is only open for a few hours a week given that you can’t get there until low tide and it’s small and potentially COVIDy when there are a lot of people inside. So they let in one family group at a time, which means you get a private tour and can actually go up the narrow staircase into the lantern room at the very top. The Fifth Order Drum lens they use in this still-functioning lighthouse is huge, fragile, and worth like a million dollars and I’m not just using that number randomly because it’s a big number, the lens is literally worth like a million dollars. So I really am not sure why they would let my kids up there because my kids can break things with their minds. Seriously they should all be students at Hogwarts. They can also trash the entire house when they’re not even in it. 

This is a literal million-dollar glass lighthouse lens.

Anyway I’m happy to report that my kids did not break the Battery Point Lighthouse lens. And the trek to the lighthouse at low tide, the walk on the jetty, the private tour, the experience of standing in the lantern room next to a working lighthouse lens, well, it was a good day. Until we got back to the hotel and the kids fought loudly with each other and I wanted to hide under a bed, but that’s just another day in the life of the Robins family.