The Cape Disappointment Lighthouse is located at the very southwestern tip of Washington overlooking the mouth of the Columbia River, and it is a part of Cape Disappointment State Park. This short hike will take you to what was the the very first lighthouse built in the Pacific Northwest, which was finally lit in 1856 after numerous construction delays. It is understandable that it was the first: the Columbia River Bar* is notorious for being a seafarer’s navigational nightmare, and Cape Disappointment is one of the foggiest places in the United States with an average of 2,552 hours or 106 days of fog per year.
* Known as the “Graveyard of the Pacific,” since 1792 roughly 2,000 ships have sunk in the area comprising the Columbia River Bar, including the Peter Iredale on the beach of Fort Stevens State Park. With an average flow of 258,000 cubic feet per second at is mouth, the Columbia River is the largest North American river to flow into the Pacific. That outward current, combined with the incoming tide from the ocean and a narrow mouth, make for extremely violent swells, which compounds the hazards created by the foggy and often stormy weather.