Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, Ilwaco

4.3
#3 of 10 in Things to do in Ilwaco
The Cape Disappointment Light is a lighthouse on Cape Disappointment near the mouth of the Columbia River in the U.S. state of Washington.HistoryIn 1848, a lighthouse was recommended to be located at Cape Disappointment in what was then the Oregon Territory. An appropriation of US$53,000 was made in 1852. After the lighthouse was designed, a first-order Fresnel lens was ordered. When the lens arrived it was found to be too large for the tower. Rebuilding the tower took an additional two years. The first lighthouse in the Pacific Northwest was finally lit on October 15, 1856. In addition to the light, the station was equipped with a 1600lb bell powered by a striking mechanism. The keeper's residence was about a quarter-mile away.The lighthouse had several shortcomings. The fog bell was sometimes inaudible due to the roar of ocean waves. It was discontinued in 1881 and moved to West Point Light in Seattle, and eventually to Warrior Rock Light near Portland. Also, the light was not visible to ships approaching from the north. This problem was corrected by building a lighthouse at North Head, two miles from Cape Disappointment. The first-order lens was moved to North Head and a fourth-order lens installed at Cape Disappointment.
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Cape Disappointment Lighthouse Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
184 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • I found interesting that the person working at the lighthouse wouldn't even say hello when we hiked up that way. We truly enjoyed the hike, the lighthouse was just so-so. Thankfully the sun was out th...  more »
  • If you are up for a strenuous hike, it is worth the effort. I say it is all uphill, because it feels like like it when your done. Trail goes up, then down a ways, then you arrive at the paved incline....  more »
  • We really enjoyed this park. Yes, you have to pay $10 when you park but well worth the money. When you park, you have two different trails you can take. We started with the lighthouse trail. It is up ...  more »
Google
  • Cape Disappointment Lighthouse is accessed via a walking trail that is stated as being approx 1/2 mile from the parking lot, it seemed longer but perhaps that was because of the amount of things to see along the way. It’s not a flat trail and there will elevation changes on both directions, but it’s not difficult. You can see Dead Man’s Cove, the Coast Guard Station Cape ‘D’, and finally the Lighthouse. Incredible views overlooking the surrounding area and the Columbia River bar.
  • I'm glad I just had enough time to go to this space - absolutely stunning location at sunset. Yes, as some others have mentioned, it is a little walk, but folks of normal fitness levels should have no problem making the 10 minute trek.
  • We have a long history in our family in this state park area that includes the North Jetty - CLOSED to public access until 2019 for reinforcement. The lighthouse and Lewis and Clark museum and interpretive Center are well worth the time to visit. Take the main trail from the parking lot up and the alternate trail back down. Drive up disabled parking, loading/unloading available. You can skip the museum and go to the gift shop and hang out in the Rotunda for free! See a real lighthouse prism lens up close and personal as well as U.S. COASTGUARD Antiquities! You might even catch a glimpse of the Grey Whale migration thru the coin viewers or a volunteer's telescope. Bird poop on the cliffs below can make a stink!
  • Nice beautiful walk to the lighthouse! So blessed to have such an awesome place to visit! Beautiful ocean views!
  • Cool lighthouse. Has some interesting information about the history, as well as a great view of the bay (with an accompanying chart!).
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