Cape Disappointment State Park

June 8, 2016

North Head Lighthouse, Cape Disappointment State Park

North Head Lighthouse, Cape Disappointment State Park

We approached out road trip to Cape Disappointment State Park with the spirit of adventure.  Neither my husband nor I had ever been there before.  It is in the far southwest corner of Washington state, where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean.  It was here that Lewis and Clark fulfilled the mission of their expedition to find a route to the Pacific Ocean.  For them, it was a journey of 4, 132 miles.

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The confluence of the Columbia River and the ocean is anything but pacific.  The currents, surf, fog, and shifting sand bars make it a notoriously difficult place to navigate.  In fact, Cape Disappointment got its name from a sea captain who, to his frustration, could not even find the Columbia River despite searching hard for it.

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These days there are two long jetties that mark the entrance to the Columbia River from the ocean — one on the Oregon side of the river and one at Cape Disappointment.

You can see the jetties in the distance.

You can see the jetties in the distance.

Cape Disappointment State Park is spread out across a large area and contains two lighthouses, miles of beach, a huge campground, hiking and biking trails, a jetty and boat launch, an interpretive center, forested slopes, seagulls, cormorants, and raccoons among other wildlife.  It felt so good to be outside experiencing the wild ocean (always awesome) and natural environment.  It even felt good to sleep in a tent.  Here are some photos to give you a sense of the place:

North Head Lighthouse

North Head Lighthouse

North Head Lighthouse

North Head Lighthouse

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

Wild beach at Cape Disappointment

Wild beach at Cape Disappointment

The beach just a few steps from our campsite.

The beach just a few steps from our campsite.

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Now that we are back at work in Seattle, I can’t believe how often my thoughts turn back to our weekend away.  I remember how much I like camping, but we so rarely do it.  We were drawn to the Pacific NW for its accessibility to mountains, ocean, hiking trails, etc.  but have fallen away from making effort to enjoy those things.  I will have to make outings a higher priority this summer and in the years to come.

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3 Responses to “Cape Disappointment State Park”

  1. bobraxton Says:

    thank you – amazing space.

  2. Diana Studer Says:

    Life happens. We were going to walk on the beach. Often.

    Today was a beautiful day, with a hot berg wind, and the sea like a turquoise lagoon.


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