We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“The whole park is spectacular”

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse
Ranked #3 of 15 things to do in Ilwaco
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Kenmore, Washington
Level Contributor
27 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“The whole park is spectacular”
Reviewed 15 October 2013

This is one of 2 lighthouses in what, it turns out, is a giant park.
You have to hike to the actual lighthouse, but it's easy and pretty and rambles past relics of old Forts. You can see the lighthouse and everything from the Interpretive Center as well.

Visited September 2013
Thank Lainie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

154 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Seattle, WA
Level Contributor
44 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Walk to a view”
Reviewed 4 October 2013

We really enjoyed the short walk through a Pacific NW coastal forest to the lighthouse. The views of the mouth of the Columbia and the coast were gorgeous.

Visited August 2013
Thank MountainVistas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
54 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Cape Disappointment was a disappointment”
Reviewed 2 October 2013

We drove the 4 mile bridge into Washington to see Cape Disappointment after viewing it's history at the Columbia River Maritime Museum. The trail map was deceiving in its distance estimation. The lighthouse needs a good coat of paint. The Coast Guardsman who was present at the lookout was not very informative as to the history of the light house and seemed relieved when we left. Avoid the light house and go to the interp. center instead.

Visited October 2013
1 Thank odamae9464
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Larkspur, Colorado
Level Contributor
457 reviews
250 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 252 helpful votes
“A Must Do on Your Northwest Lighthouse Adventure Route”
Reviewed 26 September 2013

First of all, invest in an annual Washington State Park pass for $30.00 (good for the calander year), as almost all cool lighthouses and bridges such as Deception Pass are located within Washington's State Parks. It's a great cause, so get the pass, and use it in twenty or more cool places, all of which have amazing scenery.

The Cape Disappointment or Ft. Canby State Park (seems like one in the same) is near the town of Ilwaco, WA. Outside of this small town is where the lighthouse is located, It is hard to find but if you miss the first turn off of the main road in to the park, then take a right before the Ilwaco ship building yard fence which is before the marina. Once you have turned right you go about a mile up a steep winding road. The walk to the lighthouse is beautiful and almost better than seeing the lighthouse.

Deadman's Cove, that is viewed on the walk to the lighthouse, is stunning along with other deep coves and driftwood filled beaches. A man on the path told me that Deadman's Cove was shown in the original Goonies movie, which he said was filmed in an around the Astoria, OR area. This lighthouse/park is about 20 miles west of Astoria,

The final hill climb to the lighthouse is steep (good shoes are a great call) but with amazing vistas. At the top of the hill you can observe where the Columbia River meets the ocean. Bring the monocle as you can spot seals and other marine life from this point. Because the Columbia River created a treacherous bar, the lighthouse was built in the late 1800s for ancient and modern day mariners in this area. The lighthouse station is managed by the US Coast Guard, in which a staff member is often in the watchtower/lighthouse guest center at the top of the hill.

Yes, the lighthouse needs a fresh coat of paint, otherwise, rain or shine, these structures were very majestic and picturesque. If you are in this area do not miss the North Head Lighthouse nearby like I did. There is also a Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center within the state park which an extra fee. All of this area is considered to be part of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Park which has interesting insights as to the local native people versus the early explorers to this area.

Visited September 2013
Thank Oceandweller7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
19 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Middle of two worlds”
Reviewed 20 August 2013

You have to go up to top of the lighthouse. But make sure to bring shoes, you cannot go if you have flip flops. Also, you will need to have a park pass or buy one when you go. Awesome view.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank Ilove2travel55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Cape Disappointment Lighthouse also viewed


Been to Cape Disappointment Lighthouse? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing