Cape Disappointment is home to a wide selection of trails, whether you're looking for elevation gain or a paved outing. The most-frequently photographed lighthouse is North Head, with precarious position on a steep bluff above the crashing waves. The short trail to the lighthouse provides a nice, wheelchair-accessible outing, and adding the 0.3-mile long Bell's Overlook trail nearby rounds out the experience nicely.
Hiking to North Head lighthouse is a short jaunt on a wide gravelled path. Explore around the lighthouse grounds and when you head back to the parking area, look to your left for the Bell's Overlook Trail.
This paved, quarter-mile trail leaves from the North Head parking area. Bell’s Overlook was the first part of Cape Disappointment State Park that was protected as a county park. The trail passes an old water tower (whose origins go unexplained but was probably for the city of Ilwaco), old gun batteries and lookouts, and concludes at a boardwalk overlook of the Pacific.
Along the way, you'll enjoy a hike through lush coastal forest complete with informational signs regarding Cape Disappointment’s role in weather prediction, martial protection, and history.
WTA Pro Tip: Explore the park! The other trails add up to 12 miles of trails in all! For other options, consider the North Head Trail (which departs from the same parking area and descends to the beach below) the Coastal Forest Loop or the Discovery Trail.