Cape Disappointment State Park

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Cape Disappointment State Park
(Fort Canby State Park)
Washington State Park
Cape Disappointment and Cape Disappointment Light.jpg
South side of Cape Disappointment and its lighthouse
Country United States
State Washington
County Pacific
Elevation 20 ft (6 m) [1]
Coordinates 46°17′28″N 124°04′20″W / 46.29111°N 124.07222°W / 46.29111; -124.07222Coordinates: 46°17′28″N 124°04′20″W / 46.29111°N 124.07222°W / 46.29111; -124.07222 [1]
Lowest point Sea level
Area 1,882 acres (762 ha)
Established Unspecified
Management Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
Location in the state of Washington
Website: Cape Disappointment State Park

Cape Disappointment State Park, formerly known as Fort Canby State Park, is a 1,882-acre (762 ha) Washington state park located southwest of Ilwaco, on the southern part of Long Beach Peninsula, which fronts 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 2 miles (3.2 km) of ocean beach, the North Head Lighthouse, Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.


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]

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.[3]

Other park facilities[edit]

Cape Disappointment State Park offers camping and other overnight facilities, 8 miles (13 km) of hiking trails, watercraft launch sites, and picnicking. Visitors can tour the North Head Lighthouse.[2]

North Head Lighthouse


The park's diverse landscape includes old-growth forest, freshwater lakes, freshwater and saltwater marshes, and oceanside tidelands.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Cape Disappointment State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  2. ^ a b c "Cape Disappointment State Park". Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission. Retrieved April 17, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center". Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission. Retrieved April 17, 2015. 

External links[edit]