Cape Disappointment State Park - North Head

Ilwaco, Washington 98624

Cape Disappointment State Park - North Head

Cape Disappointment State Park - North Head Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Hike along a rugged headland through a salt-sprayed maritime forest to Cape Disappointment’s dramatic North Head Lighthouse. From the high headland and its 1898 lighthouse, take in breathtaking views that include thundering waves, windswept dunes, and scores of shorebirds skimming the crashing Pacific surf.

There are over 8 miles of hiking trails in 1882-acre Cape Disappointment State Park. Once the location of Fort Canby, a military reservation established in 1852 (before Washington statehood), the state park was created in the 1950s."

More Cape Disappointment State Park - North Head Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Birding Washington (Falcon Guides)
Rob and Natalie McNair-Huff
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"When the Lewis and Clark Expedition reached Cape Disappointment in November 1805, they made little mention of birdlife at the mouth of the Columbia River, except for a gathering of California Condor feeding on a dead whale, and that members of the expedition shot a Brant on the Oregon side of the river. They reveled in reaching the Pacific Ocean, but they were more concerned about the endless winter rains and finding shelter than bird-watching. Habitats: Saltwater marsh, freshwater marsh, sandy beach, mixed forest, cliffs. Specialty birds: Common Loon; Brown Pelican; Pelagic and Brandt’s Cormorants; Brant; Greater Scaup; Bald Eagle; Peregrine Falcon; Black-bellied Plover; Ruddy and Black Turnstones; Surfbird; Rock, Baird’s, and Pectoral Sandpipers; Heerman’s, Bonaparte’s, Mew, Thayer’s, and Western Gulls; Common Murre; Pigeon Guillemot; Band-tailed Pigeon; Shorteared Owl; Vaux’s Swift; Rufous Hummingbird; Pileated Woodpecker; Red-breasted Sapsucker; Pacific-slope Flycatcher; Hutton’s Vireo." Read more
Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula - 2nd Edition (The Mountaineers Books)
Craig Romano
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"Travel through a tranquil old-growth Sitka spruce and western hemlock forest perched on a bluff at the treacherous mouth of the Columbia River. And admire sweeping views of the fishing community of Ilwaco on Baker Bay, set against the rolling backdrop of the cloud-cloaked Bear River Range. Lined with alders and sword ferns, the trail immediately begins climbing, soon coming to a junction. Head right, you’ll be returning on the left. At 0.2 mile, come to a junction that offers a shorter loop (0.5 mile) option." Read more

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
3.6 miles
400 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
Additional Use
Cape Disappointment State Park
Local Contacts
Adventure Maps NW Coast Trail Map and Guide
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018