Cape Disappointment (Summer)

Directions: From Astoria, Oregon cross the bridge and take a left onto Highway 101. Follow 101 into Ilwaco and then follow signs for Loop 100 and Cape Disappointment. There are signs directing you to the lighthouse.


This hike starts at the parking area for the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. The paved trail starts at the end of the parking area. The path starts out uphill as you switchback once and end up at the Battery Harvey Allen bunker. It’s worth the quick side trip to wander around and check out the bunker. Once you’re finished exploring the bunker continue on the paved path that skirts around the interpretive center. Keep walking to the end of the paved path where you pick up a dirt and gravel trail that takes you into a wooded area.

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Once you’re back in the trees the trail starts heading downhill gradually as you wind you’re way around Dead Man’s Cove. Soon you’ll come to a sign marking a viewpoint for the cove or directing you left for the lighthouse. Stay heading towards the lighthouse and the trail will drop you at an access road used by the Coast Guard. Follow this road uphill, at some points pretty steeply, and you’ll soon reach the lighthouse.

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There is a little Coast Guard building in front of the lighthouse where they watch the Columbia River bar. The lighthouse isn’t in the best shape but it’s still pretty. It’s only used by the Coast Guard, so there’s no access for the general public.


Distance: 1.5 miles

Elevation: 200 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fee: $10 Washington Discovery Pass

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Overall: This isn’t the best lighthouse in the Cape Disappointment area and in our opinion not worth the $10 fee. It’s a good side trip if you’ve already purchased a day pass for other places in the area (like North Head Lighthouse).

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