LENGTH: 1.2 MILES
ELEVATION: 40 FT
Beards Hollow was not one of the original stops planned for this trip. While using Google Maps to canvass the area near the coast I stumbled across Cape Disappointment. It was a great addition to our itinerary for the day. It had a lighthouse, a quick hike to the beach, and it was only $10 for the day.
Once I knew we’d be hiking down to the beach I began checking tides on Willy Weather. I was excited to see that the low tide was at 10:22am. That gave us plenty of time to get there and explore the tide pools.
Our first stop in the park was Beards Hollow Viewpoint. It was interesting to read about the ever-changing landscape in this area. We didn’t stay too long at the viewpoint because it started raining. It wasn’t a torrential downpour, but annoying enough to mess with the camera lens. We would shortly be heading down to that beach, and hoped the rain wouldn’t last.
Then we parked the car at the Beards Hollow trailhead (a few minutes south of the viewpoint), and there weren’t any other cars in the lot. We were surprised there wasn’t a kiosk or a machine for the $10 fee. We were unaware of it at the time, but the machine is actually located at the North Head Lighthouse parking lot. To avoid any issues I would recommend paying for parking there first and then enjoying the different areas of the park.
TRAIL GUIDE – BEARDS HOLLOW HIKE
From the parking lot you’ll see a short yellow post next to a brown sign that reads “Discovery Trail Rules.”
Yes, yes it does. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself, I’m the daughter of the king of dad jokes. Anyways, that’s the trail you’ll want to take down towards the beach. For a more informative view of the whole trail that runs through the park, I’ll add a picture at the end of this post.
It will be paved for the most part which makes it super easy. If there is no one else on the trail you could try to stand perfectly still for a few minutes in silence. We tried it and heard so many different types of birds singing. And then the frogs came to life. It sounded like dozens of frogs, some as close as a few feet away. This is definitely one of the benefits of visiting parks during the off season.
Side note, while walking the trail, be mindful of what (or who) you’re stepping on. This guy is lucky! Tony saw him at the last second and he lived to see another day.
The paved Discovery Trail will make a hard right turn. You’ll want to take the worn center trail when this happens. It was the most direct and unobstructed route down to the beach.
As you exit towards the beach, keep that blackened driftwood on my left in mind. It’ll be your trail marker for this unmarked trail. Otherwise, you could end up walking through deep mud/sand or meet a dead end like we did. No worries though, it’s a short distance and easy to find your way. When you hit the beach, make a left.
I was not expecting to see so many dogs enjoying the beach that day. It was a nice surprise, especially because they were all so friendly. If you’re scared of dogs though be warned, they do run right up to you. They were running around off-leash and just wanted to play with us.
The low tide allowed us ample time to go exploring on the rocks. There would however be an occasional wave with a little extra water in it. Be mindful of the water level and don’t turn your back on the waves for extended periods of time.
Cue the rain! I didn’t bring water friendly gear for the camera this time. So back to the car we went! We simply retraced our steps back to the drift wood marker and headed back to the car. Easy Peasy.
NORTH HEAD LIGHTHOUSE
Moving on to another area in the park… The walk to the north head lighthouse is 0.6 miles roundtrip. The entire walk is paved and from the parking lot you’ll see this sign showing you the way.
At first the view is blocked by trees…
But then it opens up to the ocean. And if you’re lucky, you’ll catch one of the resident bald eagles soaring over the pacific ocean breeze right in front of you.
MA! JES! TIC!
And following his flight path all the way to his perch, he then posed for a few pictures. He was perfect.
I didn’t forget about the lighthouse, I promise! I definitely recommend bringing something to stay warm out here. It got really cold with the wind blowing. When you’re all set taking in the sights, retrace your steps back to your car.
Overall I would say for $10 you get a whole lot of park. And we’ve only barely scratched the surface. We saw people enjoying bike rides through the intermittent rain and joggers cruising along on the discovery trail. There are plenty of bird watching spots and benches along the trails to simply enjoy the outdoors.
If I find myself in this area any time soon I would love to bike the discovery trail from north to south to really take in the coast. And I would not forgive myself if I didn’t use this line:
“Cape disappointment did everything but disappoint.”
So cheesy, I know, I know. But I did warn you at the beginning. I’m the daughter to the king of dad jokes!
And as promised, here’s the Discovery Trail map.
None of Nature’s landscapes are ugly so long as they are wild.John Muir