Cape Disappointment and North Head lighthouses, favorite visitor stops during summer and winter, are two of 750 guarding the shores of the U.S.
The older Cape Disappointment Lighthouse guides mariners into the mouth of the Columbia, while the younger beacon at North Head welcomes sailors approaching from the north.
After many difficulties, including loss of all construction materials in a shipwreck at the mouth of the Columbia, construction of the 53-foot masonry lighthouse at the cape was finally completed in 1856. For the first time in history, a strong beam stretched out across the Columbia Bar from the heights of Cape Disappointment.
North Head Lighthouse was erected just two years before the turn of the previous century. Congress authorized construction of the light because of a marked
increase in the number of shipwrecks along the Peninsula.
North Head stands in testimony to the capes interesting weather: Winter winds there have been clocked at 160 mph.
Additionally, some believe the lighthouse to be haunted by a woman who threw herself from the cliff.
Tours are conducted daily at North Head during summer months and on weekends in the off-season. Cost is $2.50 per adult. Children younger than seven may not climb up into the light.
Call (360) 642-3029 for a schedule
Both lighthouses still help local fishing boats and ocean-going ships navigate the dangerous waters here at the western edge of the continent.