Cape Disappointment State Park

Quick Facts

Cape Disappointment State Park

Washington

(360) 902-8844

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Cape Disappointment State Park (formerly Fort Canby State Park) is a 1,882-acre camping park on the Long Beach Peninsula, fronted by the Pacific Ocean. The Cape Disappointment Lighthouse was constructed in 1856 to warn seamen of the treacherous river bar known by then as "the graveyard of the Pacific." This is the oldest functioning lighthouse on the West Coast.

In 1862, Cape Disappointment was armed with smoothbore cannons to protect the mouth of the Columbia River from enemies. The installation was expanded to become Fort Canby in 1875. The fort was named after General Edward Canby, who was killed in the Modoc Indian War. The fort continued to be improved until the end of World War II. Gun batteries still sit uptop the park.

The park offers 27 miles of ocean beach, two lighthouses, an interpretive center and hiking trails. Visitors enjoy beachcombing and exploring the area's rich natural and cultural history. The nearby coastal towns of Ilwaco and Long Beach feature special events and festivals spring through fall.The park offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, Columbia River, North Head Lighthouse and Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. The park has old-growth forest, lakes, freshwater and saltwater marshes, as well as streams and tidelands along the ocean. Three vacation rentals are available.

Map of Cape Disappointment (WA)

Latitude, Longitude: 46.287766, -124.069119

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Activities

  • Boating

    One boat ramp and 135 feet of dock are provided on Baker Bay in the Columbia River. A watercraft permit is required.

  • Camping

    Cape Disappointment has 137 standard campsites, 60 full hookup sites, 18 sites with water and electricity only, five primitive campsites, fourteen yurts, three cabins, one dump station, eight restrooms (two ADA) and 14 showers (four ADA). Maximum site length is 45 feet (may have limited availability). Camping is available year-round.

  • Fishing

    The park store offers gifts, ice, wood, fishing gear and other camper essentials.

  • Golfing

    Please contact the main number for more information.

  • Hiking

    The park has seven miles of hiking trails.

  • Historic Sites

    While perched on a 200-foot-high cliff, staff tell the story of Lewis and Clark and their journey from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean. North Head Lighthouse is also open to visitors. No children under the age of seven. Appropriate footwear is required; no flip flops or shoes without heel straps. Federal or State passes are not accepted.

  • Horseback Riding

    Please contact the main number for more information.

  • Hunting

    Please contact the main number for more information.

  • Picnicking

    The day-use area has 20 unsheltered picnic tables, available first come, first served.

  • RVing

    Please contact the main number for more information.

Directions

Driving

Located two miles southwest of Ilwaco, Wash. in Pacific County.

From Seattle: Take I-5 south to Olympia, SR 8 west to Montesano. From there, take U.S. Hwy. 101 south to Long Beach Peninsula.

From Portland: Take I-5 north to Longview, then SR 4 west to U.S. Hwy. 101. Then drive south to Long Beach Peninsula. Follow signs to Ilwaco and the park.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(360) 902-8844

Permits

(800) 270-7504

Links

Comments

Love this park, and would return again. So much to do that we couldn't get it done in one trip. Went durning first week of June 2011. Weather was mid 70's!!