Cape Disappointment State Park is located on the southwestern side of the Long Island Peninsula, in Washington. The name derives from the 1788 failure of Captain John Meares crossing the Columbia River. The reality though, is that this park is anything but disappointing! It’s filled with history, beauty and sweeping views of both the Pacific Ocean and the ColumbiaRiver.
Another fun fact about Cape Disappointment is that it’s also the site where the Lewis and Clark expedition arrived in 1805. Since I am on my own modern-day expedition, this only seemed fitting to explore this particular site. One of the highlights for me was the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. This center is perched up on a hill with nearly 180 degree views of both the Pacific Ocean and Columbia River. The center went into detail about the Lewis & Clark Expedition and their experiences (both good and bad) during their journey. It was quite eye opening to realize how dangerous this was both on land and by sea. It also talked about Thomas Jefferson’s involvement during this time and how it impacted the expedition. As a history buff myself, I found this extremely enlightening.
Following the center I took a hike up to the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. It was stunning to see it from a distance and even more stunning once you made your way up to it. This lighthouse was built in 1856, and you really noticed that style of historical architecture when you looked at it. I could watch the waves crash against the walls of the lighthouse making the scene rather picturesque. Unfortunately, you were not to enter the inside but the views surrounding it more than made up for it! In addition, you are also able to see the full views of the jetties.
I then went a bit up north into the park and did a relatively short hike to the top of the McKenzie Head Trail. This was the area where Lewis and Clark climbed to the top to get views of both the Pacific Ocean and Columbia River before spending the night camping on the beach.
In addition to this historic lookout point, you also reached an area known as Battery 247; this is a battery placement from WW2. I tried to capture as much video as I could in the dark. You are able to see how it’s old, wet and a bit creepy. Once I crossed over to the other side, I was able to see much clearer over the vastness of the bushes and straight to the water. It was such a lovely area to have been able to hike up to.
Lastly, I luckily had enough time to walk over to Benson Beach before the sky opened up, and it began to pour. I do wish I had a bit more time to walk along this beach and explore. However, what I could see in the short amount of time was how serene this was. It was quiet, desolate and peaceful. You could smell the ocean, hear the waves crashing and hear the birds chirping. If anyone is traveling to the Long Beach Peninsula, I would highly suggest adding Cape Disappointment State Park to your list of sites to see!
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