Cape Disappointment - North Head Lighthouse

On May 16, 1898, the North Head Lighthouse was put into service as the primary navigation aid at the mouth of the Columbia River. The Cape Disappointment Lighthouse had served this function since October 15, 1856; however, ships continued to run aground at the "Graveyard of the Pacific." Due to the sheer number of shipwrecks, it was determined a second lighthouse was needed on the northwestern spur of Cape Disappointment, commonly referred to as North Head.

Present day

Today, the North Head Lighthouse still stands as a sentinel overlooking this treacherous body of water, the confluence between the Columbia River and Pacific Ocean. The North Head Lighthouse is still an active aid to navigation, although the lighthouse keepers who once tended the flame have been replaced by an automated beacon.

The lighthouse offers sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, Long Beach Peninsula, Columbia River Bar, and the northern Oregon Coast.

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The lighthouse is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily May 1 through Sep 24. 

Admission fees

Admission fees to the North Head Lighthouse are:

  • Ages 7 - 17: Free
  • Ages 18 and older: $3

Please note: Children must be 7 years old to climb the tower.

Additional information:

The parking lot at the North Head Lighthouse and Beards Hollow will not accommodate RV parking.

Nearby attractions

The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is located in Cape Disappointment State Park, approximately two miles from the North Head Lighthouse. Hiking trail access to the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse can be found at the main parking area of the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and the Waikiki day-use area.