- Roundtrip Loop: 4.2 miles
- Elevation Gain: 300 feet
- Fees/Restrictions: Discover Pass required; dogs must be leashed.
Like the Westport Lighthouse, the beacon gracing Cape Disappointment’s North Head on the Long Beach Peninsula was also built in 1898. But this lighthouse only stands at 65 feet tall as opposed to Westport’s towering 107 feet. However, what makes this lighthouse so dramatic is its setting. It sits upon a 130-foot coastal headland overlooking one of the most treacherous sections of coastline on the Pacific.
As with Westport’s lighthouse, you can easily access North Head by driving to a short paved path. But why? We’re here to hike, right!? Instead, reach it via a wonderful 2.1 mile route over rugged North Head. The North Head Trail is one of the wonderful hiking options in the 1,884-acre Cape Disappointment State Park. Lewis and Clark named the wild seaside bluff back in 1805, during a miserable winter.
Start through a flat marshy area before heading up onto a small rugged ridge. Pass through mist-saturated groves of ancient Sitka spruce. Found primarily along the coast from Northern California to Southern Alaska, Cape Disappointment harbors nice stands of this scaly barked conifer.
At 1.8 miles, come to a parking lot. Turn left and continue .3 mile down a trail leading to the lighthouse. Savor the views and embrace the full force of the Pacific from this treacherous spot. Good thing there is a lighthouse here.
If you still want to explore, check out the lighthouse on Cape Disappointment, also in the park. Built in 1856, it’s the state’s oldest. Consider following the Westwind Trail one mile down to Beard’s Hollow on the beach.