Cape Disappointment State Park

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Cape Disappointment State Park
Cape Disappointment and Cape Disappointment Light.jpg
South side of Cape Disappointment and its lighthouse
Location Pacific County, Washington
Coordinates 46°17′28″N 124°04′20″W / 46.2912111°N 124.0720989°W / 46.2912111; -124.0720989Coordinates: 46°17′28″N 124°04′20″W / 46.2912111°N 124.0720989°W / 46.2912111; -124.0720989[1]
Area 1,882 acres (762 ha)[2]
Operated by Washington State Parks
Open Year round
Official website

Cape Disappointment State Park, formerly known as Fort Canby State Park, is a 1,882-acre (7.62 km2) park located southwest of Ilwaco, Washington. The park is located on the southern part of Long Beach Peninsula, which is fronted by the Pacific Ocean.[2] The park is one of several state parks and sites in Washington and Oregon that make up the Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks. Sights in the park include 27 miles (43 km) of ocean beach, the North Head Lighthouse, Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. The Colbert House Museum is a nearby historic house that is open by appointment.


In 1862, during the American Civil War, a camp called Post at Cape Disappointment was established and fortifications existed here from that date to protect the northern approaches to the mouth of the Columbia River from possible attacks by Confederate raiders or foreign fleets. It was garrisoned by Company A, U.S. 9th Infantry Regiment and Company A, 8th Regiment California Volunteer Infantry in the District of Oregon. In 1863, its mate Fort Stevens was established on the south bank of the Columbia River. In 1864, the post was renamed Fort Cape Disappointment. Some Civil War-era fortifications still exist. They were called the Tower (or Right) Battery, Left Battery, and Center Battery.

Fort Cape Disappointment was renamed Fort Canby in 1875. Later Fort Canby became part of the three fort Columbia River harbor defenses as a subpost of Fort Stevens along with Fort Columbia.

Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center[edit]

The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center

The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center features exhibits about the 1803–1806 Lewis and Clark Expedition from St. Louis, Missouri to the Pacific coast. There are displays about the park's later history, including the lighthouses, U.S. Coast Guard and military activities, and the area's maritime and natural history. Other facilities include an observation deck, films and a gift shop.

The center sits on a cliff that overlooks the confluence of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean, and is open daily. There is an admission fee.

Colbert House Museum[edit]

Located in Ilwaco, Washington at the corner of Spruce and Quaker streets, the Colbert House is a historic house museum that is operated by Cape Disappointment State Park. The house was originally built in 1872 and moved to its current site in 1883.[3] The house was owned by a fishing family and was restored in 1994 to a late 19th-century appearance with Colbert family furnishings and decorative items. The museum is open by appointment only.

Colbert House is a Washington State Parks Heritage Site and on the National Register of Historic Places.

Other park facilities[edit]

North Head Lighthouse

Cape Disappointment State Park offers camping facilities, hiking trails, watercraft launch sites, and a park store. Visitors can tour the North Head Lighthouse.


Cape Disappointment State Park currently consists mostly of spruce and alder trees.


  1. ^ "Cape Disappointment State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2011-06-21. 
  2. ^ a b "Cape Disappointment State Park". Washington State Parks. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  3. ^ "Colbert House". Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission. Retrieved 2011-06-21. 

External links[edit]