When the lighthouse was originally constructed from Milwaukee cream city brick in 1869, it was the tallest brick structure in Door County. In the early 1900s, the brick was encased in protective steel cladding. Today, thousands of visitors climb the narrow spiral staircase for a birds-eye view of the area.
The 97 steps of the tower bring visitors to the watch deck. Just above the watch deck is the third order Fresnel lens that was hand-crafted in France. The light has been in continuous use since it was first lit, making it one of the few lighthouses in the U.S. whose original lens is still functioning as an active navigational aid.
Finally, climb through the narrow hatchway to reach the outside gallery deck. More than 100 years ago, the horizon was dotted with the billowing white sails of schooners. Now, visitors are treated to an unbroken Lake Michigan vista and a spectacular look at Moonlight Bay and the peninsula.
For your safety, we do have a few rules for climbing the lighthouse tower:
- We strongly encourage climbers wear closed-toe, comfortable walking shoes.
- The lighthouse staff reserves the right to restrict the size of groups and limit time at top.
- The tower may close without notice due to weather or other safety issues.
- Pregnant women, those who are claustrophobic or those with a fear of heights should not climb the tower.
- Parents may not carry young children while climbing the tower.
- You must be at least 5 yrs. old and 42 inches tall to climb the tower.
- The last tower climb of the day is at 4:30 p.m.
Please be aware that due to high lake levels, water now regularly flows over the causeway to Cana Island. We offer a complimentary tractor and wagon ride to shuttle you over to the Island. If you do choose to walk across, come prepared with boots or other footwear that can withstand the water and protect your feet.”