The southwest coast's favorite park

North Head Lighthouse at dusk. JOE SUCHMAN photo

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, formerly called Fort Canby, one of the state's top parks.

An active military installation until 1957, the site was turned over to Washington state upon its retirement from military use.

The park now contains more than 2,000 acres of land in an area stretching from just north of North Head at Beard's Hollow to Cape Disappointment, the southwestern tip of the state.

Whether fishing, hiking, beach combing or just plain lounging suits your tastes, Cape Disappointment 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.

Its popularity means that campers should call as soon as possible to reserve camping sites in Cape Disappointment. Particularly on major holiday weekends, the park is booked up months in advance.

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

Hours: 6:30 a.m.-10 p.m., April 1 to Sept. 30; dawn to dusk during the off-season.

Facilities: 250 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.

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