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Cape Disappointment State Park - Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

Southwest Washington > Long Beach Area
46.2785, -124.0527 Map & Directions
Length
0.6 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
150 feet
Highest Point
200 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Easy
The view of Deadman's Cove from the trail to the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. Photo by Anna Roth. Full-size image
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Old growth
  • Good for kids
  • Wildlife
  • Coast

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Discover Pass

Breathe in the sea spray on this anything-but-disappointing hike out to the scenic Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, which offers a trail through a coastal forest and glimpses of the powerful Pacific Ocean. Continue reading

Rating
5.00 out of 5

Hiking Cape Disappointment State Park - Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

Breathe in the sea spray on this anything-but-disappointing hike out to the scenic Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, which offers a trail through a coastal forest and glimpses of the powerful Pacific Ocean.

From the trailhead parking area, set out on a rolling trail through ferns, salal and evergreens dripping moss (and likely mist). The dirt (and probably muddy) path winds downhill to a low saddle, where a social trail to the right leads to a beach, ominously named Deadman’s Cove. Though the beach may be tempting, please stay on the true trail—the park has closed these social trails to prevent erosion.

Snap some photos of the little cove and continue on as the trail. Soon, it becomes paved because the last section of the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse trail is shared with the service road from the Coast Guard compound. The lighthouse is still active, so you may see Coast Guard staff inside or on the road. Leave them to their work as you poke around the lighthouse, snap a couple photos and return the way you came.

WTA Pro Tip: Home to several trails, campsites, cabins for rent and two lighthouses, Cape Disappointment also boasts a visitor center highlighting the journey of the Corps of Discovery—Lewis and Clark’s journey from Missouri to the mouth of the mighty Columbia. If you have time after your hike, make a stop here to round out your visit—it’s located just up the hill from the parking area for the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse.

Hike Description Written by
Anna Roth, WTA Staff

Cape Disappointment State Park - Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 46.2785, -124.0527 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

See weather forecast

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Discover Pass

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

Cape Disappointment is two miles south of Ilwaco. From Kelso, take Ocean Beach Highway to the tiny town of Naselle. Here, make a left onto SR 401, driving for 12 miles to a junction of Highway 101, where a left turn would take you over the Astoria Bridge. Drive straight through this intersection, continuing on Hwy 101 for 11 miles to the city of Ilwaco and the junction of SR 100.

From Portland: Take Highway 30 to Astoria, then merge onto Highway 101 north to cross the river and proceed on to Ilwaco. Once you get to Ilwaco head west from the stoplight (only one in town) following the signs to Cape Disappointment State Park.

Follow 100 spur past the North Head Lighthouse turn off and down the hill on Fort Canby Road. Pass the turnoff for the park office and continue through to the parking area for the Cape Disappointment trailhead and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. Discover Pass required here.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

Southwest Washington > Long Beach Area

Washington State Parks

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Cape Disappointment State Park - Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

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