Lime Kiln Lighthouse

Lime Kiln Lighthouse

The amazing photo (you should see the high res version) has been provided by Alan Niles a professional photographer and the captain of our whale watching cruise.

This is the Lime Kiln Lighthouse which was built in 1919 by the U.S. Coast Guard.  Set on a rocky bluff at the west end of San Juan Island, Lime Kiln Point is considered one of the best land based whale-watching spots on earth. The species of whales you may see include orca, humpback, minke and sometimes gray whales. They pass through the area every May through September, with peak times being influenced by the salmon runs.

The lighthouse was automated in 1962, and the need to have lighthouse keepers on site was eliminated.  The Coast Guard still maintains the lighthouse as an active aid to navigation. Lime Kiln light has a “period of 10 seconds” meaning it will be lit for less then 5 seconds then dark for more then 5 seconds, the light can be seen for 17 nautical miles and is located 45 feet above the mean water level, the tower itself stands at 31 feet in height.  The light house is standing gaurd of Haro Straight, aimed to the west at Vancouver Island, Canada.  Haro Straight is a major shipping route that links Puget Sound to the Strait of Georgia.  Presently, the  light house is also used for orca whale research, interpretation, and lighthouse tours.

In 1984, the Coast Guard turned the area over to Washington State Parks and the park was created.  One of the lime kilns was acquired by State Parks in 1996 and has been renovated and interpreted for the public.  Today the Lime Kiln Point is a 41-acre day-use park that is easily accessed by car or by bike from Friday Harbor

The story behind the name, in 1860, a lime producing operation began to operate in what is now part of the park. For 60 years, the area adjacent to the park was quarried for limestone. Kilns were built to fire the limestone to produce lime. Buildings were built, roads were cut and much of the island was logged to feed the fires of the kilns. The U.S. Coast Guard operated the area adjacent to the lime operation as a lighthouse preserve.

For more technical details on the lighthouse and a history of the construction, head over to friends of the lighthouse.

About the photographer Alan Niles…

Alan started photography as a way to record his mountaineering trips in the pacific northwest. “I discovered the beauty of light and nature. I gained unique perspectives in the high wild places and discovered that I found a great joy in telling my stories with photos. I have gone on to many other types of adventures and telling many other stories.”

San juan islands Alan niles

My love for mountains has extended to the oceans and the latter half of my life has been devoted to the sea. I love sailing and diving and bringing to light the wonders held within through photographs.  My daily activity as a Eco-tour captain in the San Juan Islands, as well as travels on my sailboat, put me in close proximity to some of the most magical ocean scenery and animals.

Head on over to Alan’s web site to see his amazing work and maybe pick up a print for your living room.  His landscape works are show stoppers and are eye popping, especially when printed on aluminum.  Ask him about this amazing way to print images.         Alan Niles Photography   


All of these sites will be served up for you on our 6 day San Juan Islands bike vacation

To chat about the trip give us a call at 800-272-4141

Wilderness Voyageurs, 103 Garrett Street, Ohiopyle PA 15470