Lighthouses stand sentinel atop windswept cliffs, sea smells waft up through the air and waves collide with a crash where the Pacific Ocean meets the Columbia River below.
Named for Captain John Meares’ first thwarted voyage to find the Columbia, Cape Disappointment is steeped in Northwest history. This is the place to explore U.S. military and maritime legacies and to experience the story of Lewis & Clark and the effect of their Corps of Discovery Expedition on Native American tribes.
Step into the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center for interactive exhibits. Find overgrown ruins of military bunkers and coast defense batteries, and hear tales of two lighthouses and the first attempts to reach the Columbia River by ocean.
Hike through old-growth forest, around freshwater lakes, saltwater marshes and ocean tidelands. Gape at the breathtaking views. Skippers, launch your boats from Baker Bay. Benson Beach is a popular clam-digging destination, and fishers love to set up on the North Jetty to catch salmon and crab. The beaches at Cape Disappointment also lure kite-fliers, sand castle-builders and those who love to walk and explore.
Don’t be surprised if you leave Cape Disappointment intrigued by its complex and multi-faceted history and enchanted by its legends and its vistas. This park will fill your senses and occupy your mind, and you will long to return.
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