Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

Cape Disappointment State Park

Ilwaco, Washington

Hwy 100

The Cape Disappointment Lighthouse went into service in 1856, making it the oldest lighthouse in the Pacific Northwest, and the oldest lighthouse still in use on the west coast. Its purpose was to help guide ships through the Columbia River bar, the unusually treacherous area where the Columbia River flows into the Pacific.

Because of the strength of the river current and direction of the prevailing surface winds, surface conditions, sandbars and shoals at this area combine to make crossing the bar a challenge. In fact, since 1792 more than 2000 large ships have sunk in the waters in and around the Columbia River bar. The top of the bluff where the lighthouse is located provides great views of the Columbia River and the Columbia River bar.

Cape Disappointment State Park is one of a number of places in Oregon and Washington that comprise the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, a unit of the National Park Service.


cape disappointment lighthouse

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse (W11A0239)


cape disappointment lighthouse

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse (W11A0250)
The lighthouse sits on a bluff 200 feet above the mouth of the Columbia River.

Related Sights

You may also like these Cape Disappointment sights:

Nearby Sights

While you're in the area, check out these sights:


decorative image copyright notice