Lighthouses stand sentinel atop windswept cliffs, sea smells waft up through the air and waves collide with a crash where the Pacific Ocean meets the Columbia River below.
Named for Captain John Meares’ first thwarted voyage to find the Columbia, Cape Disappointment is steeped in Northwest history. This is the place to explore U.S. military and maritime legacies and to experience the story of Lewis & Clark and the effect of their Corps of Discovery Expedition on Native American tribes.
Step into the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center for interactive exhibits. Find overgrown ruins of military bunkers and coast defense batteries, and hear tales of two lighthouses and the first attempts to reach the Columbia River by ocean.
Hike through old-growth forest, around freshwater lakes, saltwater marshes and ocean tidelands. Gape at the breathtaking views. Skippers, launch your boats from Baker Bay. Benson Beach is a popular clam-digging destination, and fishers love to set up on the North Jetty to catch salmon and crab. The beaches at Cape Disappointment also lure kite-fliers, sand castle-builders and those who love to walk and explore.
Don’t be surprised if you leave Cape Disappointment intrigued by its complex and multi-faceted history and enchanted by its legends and its vistas. This park will fill your senses and occupy your mind, and you will long to return.
Cape Disappointment is a 1,882-acre camping park on the Long Beach Peninsula, fronted by the Pacific Ocean and looking into the mouth of the Columbia River. The park offers yurts, cabins and unique historic vacation homes to meet travelers’ diverse lodging needs.
Discover Pass: A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to state parks for day use. For more information about the Discover Pass and exemptions, please visit the Discover Pass web page.
Automated pay stations: This park is equipped with automated pay stations for visitors to purchase a one-day or annual Discover Pass.
The North Head Lighthouse will be under construction for the duration of 2016. Access to the interior of the lighthouse for tours and weddings will not be available during this time. The grounds will remain open.
The North Head Lighthouse is open to visitors 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from May to Sept. 30. Tour admission is $2.50 per adult and free for ages 7 to 17. Children under the age of seven are not permitted. Appropriate footwear is required, no flip flops or shoes without heel straps. Federal and state passes are not accepted for admission. Call the center at (360) 642-3029 for more information.