Cape Disappointment (Washington)

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Aerial view of Cape Disappointment. View is to the northeast.
South side of Cape Disappointment and the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

Cape Disappointment is a headland of the Pacific Northwest, located at the extreme southwestern corner of Washington, United States on the north side of the Columbia River bar. The point of the cape is located on the Pacific Ocean in Washington's Pacific County, approximately two miles (3.2 km) southwest of the town of Ilwaco. Cape Disappointment receives about 2,552 hours of fog a year—the equivalent of 106 days—making it one of the foggiest places in the US.[citation needed]

The cape was named on April 12, 1788, by British fur trader John Meares who was sailing south from Nootka Island, Canada in search of trade. After a storm, he turned his ship around just north of the Cape and therefore just missed the discovery of the Columbia River.[1][2] George Vancouver credits John Meares in his account when he saw Cape Disappointment on April 27, 1792.[3]

Cape Disappointment State Park is located on the cape, as is the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. United States Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment is situated on the river near the state park. The station's crewmembers respond to 300–400 calls for assistance every year.


  1. ^ Denton, V.L. The Far West Coast, p. 174. Toronto, 1924.
  2. ^ Mears, John. Voyages made in the years 1788 and 1789, from China to the N.W. coast of America. London, 1791.
  3. ^ Vancouver, George. Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean, and Round the World in the Years 1791–95, volume 1, pp. 209-210. London, 1798.