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Cape Disappointment State Park - Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

Southwest Washington

Location

Southwest Washington -- Long Beach Area
View map below

Length

0.6 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 150 ft.
Highest Point: 200 ft.

Rating

5.00 out of 5

 
 

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Discover Pass
 
 

Breathe in the sea spray on this anything-but-disappointing hike out to the scenic Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, which offers a trail through a coastal forest and glimpses of the powerful Pacific Ocean.

From the trailhead parking area, set out on a rolling trail through ferns, salal and evergreens dripping moss (and likely mist). The dirt (and probably muddy) path winds downhill to a low saddle, where a social trail to the right leads to a beach, ominously named Deadman’s Cove. Though the beach may be tempting, please stay on the true trail—the park has closed these social trails to prevent erosion.

Snap some photos of the little cove and continue on as the trail. Soon, it becomes paved because the last section of the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse trail is shared with the service road from the Coast Guard compound. The lighthouse is still active, so you may see Coast Guard staff inside or on the road. Leave them to their work as you poke around the lighthouse, snap a couple photos and return the way you came.

WTA Pro Tip: Home to several trails, campsites, cabins for rent and two lighthouses, Cape Disappointment also boasts a visitor center highlighting the journey of the Corps of Discovery—Lewis and Clark’s journey from Missouri to the mouth of the mighty Columbia. If you have time after your hike, make a stop here to round out your visit—it’s located just up the hill from the parking area for the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse.

 

Cape Disappointment State Park - Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 46.2785, -124.0527 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Southwest Washington -- Long Beach Area

Washington State Parks

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Getting There

Cape Disappointment is two miles south of Ilwaco. From Kelso, take Ocean Beach Highway to the tiny town of Naselle. Here, make a left onto SR 401, driving for 12 miles to a junction of Highway 101, where a left turn would take you over the Astoria Bridge. Drive straight through this intersection, continuing on Hwy 101 for 11 miles to the city of Ilwaco and the junction of SR 100.

From Portland: Take Highway 30 to Astoria, then merge onto Highway 101 north to cross the river and proceed on to Ilwaco. Once you get to Ilwaco head west from the stoplight (only one in town) following the signs to Cape Disappointment State Park.

Follow 100 spur past the North Head Lighthouse turn off and down the hill on Fort Canby Road. Pass the turnoff for the park office and continue through to the parking area for the Cape Disappointment trailhead and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. Discover Pass required here.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Discover Pass
 

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Cape Disappointment State Park - Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

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