Constructed in 1856, Cape Disappointment Lighthouse was the first navigational beacon lit in the Pacific Northwest. The lighthouse marked not only the mouth of the Columbia River, but also one of the foggiest places in the U.S. Unfortunately, however, mariners approaching the Columbia River bar from the north often complained that the lighthouse was difficult to see, and after numerous shipwrecks on the Long Beach Peninsula, the Lighthouse Board finally approved the construction of a second lighthouse at North Head. In May of 1898, the first-order Fresnel lens of North Head Lighthouse was lit.
Visitors to the North Head Lighthouse will enjoy climbing the 69 steps up to the lantern room to gain incredible vistas of the adjacent coast line. Additionally, save time to explore the numerous other structures that sit atop North Head.
When the lighthouse was automated in 1961, the era of the lighthouse keepers came to an end. Today the Lighthouse Keepers' Residences dominate much of the hill top, and they are now available as truly unique vacation rentals.
From the North Head parking area there is also a 0.6-mile, ADA-accessible path that leads northwest to Bell's View. Hike this short trail to gain vistas to the north, particularly Long Beach, and to explore Fort Canby's three-tiered lookout bunker.