Exploring Washington’s Southwest Coastline

It’s been a while, but I was able to get back Cape Disappointment State Park, located along Washington’s most southwestern coastline, near the mouth of the mighty Columbia River. This park is one of the state’s most beautiful, hidden gems. The headland was named by an exploring fur trader in 1788, who turned back his ship after bad weather, thereby just missing the discovery of the mouth of the Columbia River. Lewis and Clark arrived there in 1805. The park sits in a forested area along with rocky cliffs and beaches, including a small, coastal rainforest. There are two lighthouses located within the park. I’ve been to both before, which includes some hiking, but this time I just revisited the North Head Lighthouse. Here are some photos I took of the area.

Another I area I visited, and for the first time, is Waikiki Beach. One visit and you’ll see why it is named after a Hawaiian beach. It has two, large caves along its cliff fronts and bright, green mosses growing on them, along with light and black sands mixed together on a beautiful beach. It truly does remind one of a tropical island beach!

If you decide to visit, please be aware that this state park has a fee entry area, as do all Washington State Parks.

All photo images property of Peggy A Thompson


About northwestphotos

A long time resident of Washington State, located in the beautiful Pacific Northwest USA. I enjoy regional travel, exploring all the wondrous, natural settings that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. If you get a chance, visit my Northwestphotos Zazzle store, http://www.zazzle.com/northwestphotos.
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16 Responses to Exploring Washington’s Southwest Coastline

  1. Ah, yes. I remember it well.

  2. You chose a great day for your visit. Beautiful area!

  3. MaryBeth says:

    What a beautiful area—-well the whole coast is for sure. I am a coastie

  4. tonytomeo says:

    I have not been there since about 1998! I really would like to get back to Ilwaco.

  5. Gunta says:

    This was the 2nd stop (9/18) on our trip up north. We camped there and caught the most gorgeous sunset at Long Beach. Were we perhaps there at the same time? It is a lovely spot and thanks for the great views of the lighthouse, which we only saw from a distance at Rialto Beach.

    • I was there on Sept 18. Cape Disappointment State Park is a most beautiful park! It is part rain forest, along with its beaches. Did you stop at Ruby Beach, one of my favorites? I have not been to Rialto Beach yet. That would have been very nice if we could have caught up with each other! Perhaps some day!

      • Gunta says:

        I’m so tired (and seem to be coming down with a cold) that I can’t seem to get our stops straight in my mind. We did stop at Rialto and I think it was the beach where we caught a fantastic sunset…. or maybe it was the one where it seemed like there were mobs of Pelicans. Perhaps I’ll get it all straight when I get my images sorted and start posting them… I hope! Stay tuned?

        It just occurred to me that you might help. What beach was it that looked up at the lighthouse you posted? That was where we caught the fantastic sunset. We stayed at the campground that was just a short hike to the beach.

        • Gunta says:

          PS I just took a closer look and it seems that we could see the North Head Lighthouse from the beach at the campground. I can’t seem to find the name for that beach? Any guesses?

        • The only beaches I know of that you can see the 2 lighthouses at Cape Disappointment State Park are in the park itself. Did you go into that park? You can see a lighthouse from Waikiki Beach in the park. There is no way that you can see them from Ruby Beach or Rialto Beach. Those are much farther up the Washington coastline.

        • Gunta says:

          I was still decompressing from the many miles, especially that last stretch on the way home. So I had things pretty much muddled. We spent the second night at the campground at Cape Disappointment where we looked up at the N. Head Lighthouse. It was a short walk to the beach from the campsite.

          Our original plan was to head south along the Hood Canal, but we switched to heading to Mt Rainier where we also camped. I’ve fallen in love with Washington after all these years of seeing it only from I-5. 😀

        • I can sympathize with your exhaustion after your long trip. That’s a lot of miles you put on this last trip! I get wiped out from just 1 day of traveling! Yes, there is so much to do and see in Washington AND Oregon! Perhaps logging in a journal while traveling would be the best way to remember places and sights. Next time, you’ll have to explore our rain forests! Keep traveling north on Hwy 101 and hit Quinault Lodge and the rain forest there. Also don’t miss out on the Hoh rain forest. From there, continue north to Lake Crescent…my favorite lake. I got the impression you wanted to do the complete Hwy 101 loop. You need plenty of time to do that with all the stops along the way! Perhaps another time…

        • Gunta says:

          Hah! You need to keep in mind we’re traveling in a small camper and organization is not one of my better skills! I’d likely lose the journal. I rely on the time and date stamps in the camera and Eric’s memory to help me get things straight once I get home!

          We did hit quite a bit of rain forest along the way. Our favorite campground was at Queets where we virtually had the whole place all to ourselves. Eric got shots of Elk crossing and otters playing in the river right next to our campsite. We also spent a couple of days at Neah Bay, hiking out to Cape Flattery (which was gorgeous). We generally try to avoid the crowds so the Lodges at the National Parks aren’t a priority, though we might do them in a pinch. The Hoh was shut down due to the removal of the goats, so we didn’t get to do that one!!! It might have been fun to catch some of them being lifted out by helicopter, but it wasn’t meant to be.

          There are vague plans to head back up to do the St Helens section. Not high on my wish list, but very much so on Eric’s, so…. 😀

        • Cape Flattery is one place I haven’t been to. I made it all the way to Neah Bay and there was heavy fog, so I turned back. It’s a long drive to there. I did stop at the Makah Museum. That was quite interesting. Along that same coastal highway there is the Salt Creek Recreation Area along with a camping site. That is a beautiful spot along the northern coastline!

  6. BriarCraft says:

    I love the wild beauty of Cape Disappointment and you did a fine job of capturing it.

Thank you!

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