I love lighthouses, specifically the black and white striped ones. Boomer and I had visited a few lighthouses while in Oregon but on this day we were visiting two in one day. Cape Disappointment is located at the mouth of the Columbia River, across the river from Astoria Oregon. I chose to visit the park mostly because of the intriguing name but also because it would ensure our passage across the Astoria-Megler Bridge.
The Astoria-Megler Bridge can be seen from most of Astoria and spans an impressive 21,474 feet (6545 m). The rain and foggy morning took some of the fun away while traveling across this bridge, but none the less I still had fun driving up and over the impressive bridge.
We arrived at Cape Disappointment in a foggy mist. Which was not really a shocker as this spot is apparently one of the foggiest in the United States, with 106 days of fog. There are benefits of course to the moisture, a lush green forest that is almost rain forest like.
Boomer and I were on a mission to see both the North Head Lighthouse and the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. Our first stop was the North Head Lighthouse. We parked our car and paid the park fee at the automated pay station before heading down the gravel road to the North Head Lighthouse. It was an easy ¼ mile (402m) walk with a slight decent down to the lighthouse that was perched on the bluff.
There are tours offered for this lighthouse for $2.50 USD, however as I was traveling with Boomer I decided to skip the tour. The fog had lifted and we were granted a far reaching view out into the Pacific Ocean.
The shoreline was lightly peppered with people exploring the beach, even another fellow dog traveler taking in the park during the break in rain. As there was not much activity going on here I decided to head back so we could explore the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse.
Boomer and I took a different path back to the car, leading up some paved stairs and a path through the lighthouse keeper’s quarters, which happen to be rentable for vacationers.
We loaded back up into the car and found the trailhead for the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. Although the two lighthouses are connected by a 1.8 mile (2896 m) one way hike, it was marked as “moderate to difficult”. As a solo traveler and patchy cell phone service in the park I did not feel it would be the best idea to traipse off on a trail that was probably more than I wanted to handle that day.
The hike to the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse was moderate and weaved it’s way through the coastal forest. The hike was entertaining as it peeked out to the ocean a few times, once at Dead Mans Cove, where I swear I saw a condor and at the functioning US Coast Guard station.
As we climbed up the hillside along the paved road I was beginning to rethink this jaunt. I’m too fat for this stuff. Even my dog who generally pulls me up the hillside was lollygagging. After getting over my bellyaching we finally reached the lighthouse.
This lighthouse is manned by the coast guard and at the door of the lighthouse it is asked that you do not disturb the person inside the outlook. Of course Boomer did not heed this warning and made his presence known. The person inside the lookout spotted him and told him how adorable he was. Ugh, he’ll never learn people if you don’t ignore him.
It was a calm day on the ocean with again not much activity on the water so Boomer and I decided to head out. The condor (just let me have it – it’d be awesome to see a condor in the wild), was gone as we made our way back to the car, but we saw a few bunnies and squirrels along the way back.
Also found at this location is the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. Time did not allow me to pop in there but from my research it did look like a well done museum along with impressive views of the Pacific Ocean and the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse.
If you would like to visit Cape Disappointment it is located at 244 Robert Gray Drive Iiwaco Washington. A state park pass is required for entry.