North Head Lighthouse, Ilwaco

4.7
#2 of 10 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
4.7
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
  • This is a premiere lighthouse location that you can visit. The setting is exceptionally dramatic on the sheer cliffs above the pounding Pacific. A trail loop offers ever changing grand views, from huge moss covered trees to barren cliff tops. The handsome lighthouse quarters nearby can be rented for those more adventurous.
  • One of the more accessible and beautiful light house on the west coast. Short walk from the parking lot (don't forget your parking pass) to the light house where volunteers provide the history and renovation plans. Small entry fee and up the spiral staircase you go to the top, where another volunteer provides more details while you enjoy the amazing views. We passed on visiting the gift shop, but you can rent rooms in the old light keepers houses just a short distance from the light house. A must see location if you are at Cape Disappointment State Park!!!
  • The views from this Lighthouse are incredible. I will never get tired of listening to the ocean. This one is open for tours at certain times and it is just a short walk from the parking lot. Easy access for the whole family. A well maintained lighthouse for any who enjoys these awesome structures.
  • Beautiful view and when you go on a foggy day, the vibe is mysterious and peaceful. The history of this light house is interesting as the region has many shipwrecks which makes for an awesome place for anyone interested in Pacific Northwest history. Come check it out. Perfect for photographers!
  • Beautiful location, took the quick hike down the trail to lighthouse. Area was starting close up. Went a few years ago. Breath taking views and amazing history. A must visit enjoy the scenery.
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