Cape Mendocino Lighthouse
Shelter Cove’s most famous landmark and tourist attraction, the historic Cape Mendocino Lighthouse overlooks the ocean in centrally located Mal Coombs Park at the tip of Point Delgada — a short stroll from Inn of the Lost Coast. The lighthouse has a rich history as an important warning signal for ships navigating some of the Pacific’s most treacherous waters.
The lighthouse is named for its original location at Cape Mendocino, California’s rocky westernmost point. The first ship carrying supplies to build the lighthouse struck a rock on its journey and ran aground in 1867. When a steamer finally managed to land safely at the cape’s headland, the parts of the lighthouse were hauled up steep cliffs to a base 422 feet above the ocean. When the 43-foot tall tower was completed in 1868, it became one of the highest lighthouses in the nation.
After years of beating from weather and earthquakes, it was removed from Cape Mendocino before it could crumble into the ocean, with its lantern flown by helicopter 35 miles to Shelter Cove and the rest of the lighthouse following in pieces via truck. The Cape Mendocino Lighthouse Preservation Society went to work lovingly restoring the beacon to its original glory.