North Head Lighthouse, Ilwaco

4.6
#2 of 9 in Things to do in Ilwaco
North Head Lighthouse is an active aid to navigation overlooking the Pacific Ocean from North Head, a rocky promontory located approximately two miles north of Cape Disappointment and the mouth of the Columbia River, near Ilwaco, Pacific County, in the U.S. state of Washington. It is part of Cape Disappointment State Park.HistoryThe North Head Light was constructed in 1897 after mariners complained that the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, installed in 1856, was obscured to ships approaching from the north by the headland extending southwest from the light. The new lighthouse was designed by Carl Leick, with a 65ft tower set on a 130ft cliff directly facing the ocean and clearly visible to ships traveling from the north. Other buildings included two oil houses east of the lighthouse, a keeper’s residence, duplex housing for two assistant keepers, a barn, and outbuildings, all of which remain on site.The first-order lens at the Cape Disappointment Light was moved to North Head and was first lit at its new location in 1898. In 1935, the first-order lens was replaced by a fourth-order lens. That lens was eventually replaced by an aerobeacon in the 1950s, and later by a modern optic mounted outside the tower. A Crous-Hinds aero marine beacon was put into use at the lighthouse August 1, 1961, and the light was automated in December of that year. A VRB-25 aerobeacon was installed in 1999. The original first-order lens is on display at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Cape Disappointment State Park. The fourth-order lens is exhibited at the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, Oregon.
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North Head Lighthouse Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
176 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • Very scenic hiking trail from Cape Disappointment to get there. Outstanding views and wonderful sea breeze, a great day out.  more »
  • Of all the West Coast light houses, this is one of the easiest to walk to once you park. Once you get out there, it is a great view. Didn’t see any whales the day we went, but this would be a great pl...  more »
  • I had a hard time finding any information on the light house keepers houses that the Washington State Parks Department rents out. We stayed in the Head Lighthouse Keeper's house two nights. I was amaz...  more »
Google
  • *CLOSED FOR RENOVATION* As of April 6, 2018. No completion date posted. Bathrooms and pay station (must have Discovery Pass to visit). Nice gravel walk to lighthouse. Scenic views. Parking available (with pass).
  • excellent place to visit. fun walk beautiful area. worth the trip. make sure to take a jacket it can be chilly up on the bluff even on nice days!
  • Nice views and interesting history. Be prepared for unpredictable weathers!
  • Lovely views and offers ADA trail to the Bell Overlook. If you stay in Cape Disappointment you can hike here
  • Enjoyed visiting the area but unfortunately the lighthouse as of 08/17/17 was still surrounded by scaffolding etc. Understandable since the Lighthouse is under renovation, just would have been nice to know ahead of time. Gift shop is great, as are the surrounding buildings and trails. Volunteers were a great aid as well.
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