Ilwaco: Cape Disappointment: Washington's favorite state park

<I>JON SCHMIDT photo</I><BR>The surf and the view seem to go on forever from a ridge just north of North Head Lighthouse in Cape Disappointment State Park. Now a part of the new Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks, Cape D has been a favorite destination for generations of Peninsula visitors.

A favorite of many artists and photographers, Cape Disappointment State Park is one of the most popular recreation destinations in Washington.

History and natural beauty intertwine at Cape Disappointment, which now is part of the new Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks.

In 2005, famous designer Maya Lin will begin installation of the Confluence Project in the park, commemorating the meeting of Native and European cultures here.

A new national memorial honoring President Thomas Jefferson also is in planning stages.

The park contains 1,882 acres of land in an area stretching from just north of North Head at Beards Hollow to Cape Disappointment, the southwestern tip of the state.

Whether fishing, hiking, beach combing or just plain lounging suits your tastes, Cape Disap-pointment fits the bill.

The forest and headlands of the park can be explored along six trails of varying length. Park personnel usually conduct nature walks along some of those trails during summer months.

Directions: Drive west on North Head or Cape Disappoint-ment roads from the Ilwaco traffic light at the U.S. 101 intersection.

Hours: 6:30 a.m. - 10 p.m., summer; 6:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. winter.

Facilities: Campsites (some with water, sewer and electrical hookups), plus 13 yurts and three cabins. Restrooms have hot showers. The boat launch has two ramps.

Reservations: Phone (360) 642-3078 or 1-888-Camp-Out. Address: Cape Disappointment State Park, P.O. Box 488, Ilwaco, WA 98624,

(www.parks.wa.gov).

Lewis and Clark Interpretive CenterAnyone with an appetite for Northwest history will find huge helpings of it at Cape Disappointment's Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.

Completely revamped, dramatically expanded and rededicated in 2004, the center features incredible interactive exhibits devoted to the Corps of Discovery. In addition, you'll see key artifacts relating to lifesaving on the deadly Columbia River bar, which can be examined through huge windows offering a breathtaking panorama of the wide Pacific Ocean.

To get to the Interpretive Center, visitors should drive west from the traffic light in downtown Ilwaco for three miles along a winding road to Cape Disappointment State Park, then follow the signs to the center. There is a $5 parking fee. Handicap parking available. Admission into the center is $3 per adult and $1 per child ages 7 to 17. Children ages 6 and under enter for free.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. year around. Information: (360) 642-3029.

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