Trip Planner:   USA  /  Washington State  /  Ilwaco  /  Historic Sites  /  North Head Lighthouse

North Head Lighthouse, Ilwaco

(140+ reviews on the web)
Lighthouse Tourist Spot
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.
To visit North Head Lighthouse and get the most from your holiday in Ilwaco, create itinerary details personal to you using our Ilwaco vacation builder.
Create a full Ilwaco itinerary

Plan your trip to Ilwaco

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.
  • Only giving three dots because the light house cannot be reached due to construction, but you can get pretty close. The hike itself and views are still worth it thought. The only thing is the informat...  more »
  • Very easy walk to the lighthouse, but unfortunately it is currently under restoration and covered with scaffolding. The views of the coast are well worth the hike. Light keepers houses near the start ...  more »
  • Lighthouses are always enjoyable to visit. Each one has its own flavor. This one is nice and small (cute?). It's a short walk from the parking area to the lighthouse. As of May 2017 its undergoing a r...  more »
  • This Lighthouse has a spectacular views. It's by far the better of the two lighthouses in this park. I've been here with my family a few times and we've always enjoyed it.
  • First lighthouse I have ever been in. Awesome view and educational at the same time. Worth the trip!
  • Great place to visit. Nice views of the beach. The sign board says 7 years and older are allowed to climb the light house for a fee of $2.50 per person, but when i went it was closed. Parking available for approx. 15 vehicles. Don't forget your discovery pass. There is a kisok in the enterence as well where you can buy Discovery pass in case you don't have one.
  • Typically very windy and the lighthouse currently undergoing some maintenance but beautiful view
  • Once an active lighthouse with quarters and now available for rentals. They are doing some restoration so closed temporarily. The gift shop is open though and you can walk around on a variety of trails. Beautiful views of the ocean.