Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, Ilwaco

4.3
#3 of 9 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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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
  • Fun short hike for the family. Slightly muddy in February. I recommend taking the trail up to the lighthouse, going to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, and then taking the paved path back to the parking lot. I also had 4 children ages 3 to 16. Beautiful sites, but watch the little ones, there are some cliffs. Parking is $10 for a Washington State day park pass.
  • Wonderful hike, a bit steep in a couple of spots, but well worth the effort. The views are spectacular along the way, with multiple opportunities for photos.
  • Whole family loved the outing. Best part was walking the steep grade trail down to and exploring the beach cove immediately to the north of the lighthouse. It's like something out of a movie.
  • Great view of the mountains of the Columbia. Get a discover pass if you plan on seeing multiple state parks in the area since each one will charge 5 dollars for parking. There is about a mile hike up to the lighthouse with muddy trails if it's been raining.
  • Nice lighthouse within the Cape Disappointment park. The signage and building house plenty of history for the area. Very cool place to visit and spend some time learning
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