For more on Lake Crescent, see our Spruce Railroad Trail and Barnes Creek web pages.
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11/09/16 - Lake Crescent Rainbow

We saw a rather dramatic rainbow the other day out at Lake Crescent. You can see its reflection on the water.

Signs and portents

Keywords: lake crescent, atmosphere


08/18/16 - Storm King

Hurricane Ridge Road is being repaired. We were planning to climb to Klahane Ridge, but the line at the park entry station ran back past the Lake Dawn turn off. It looked like a long wait, so we made a U-turn and headed out to Barnes Creek determined to climb something or another. What we wound up climbing was Storm King, the peak dominating the south side of Lake Crescent.

To be honest, we only made it up to the ledge where we had a great view of Pyramid Peak and points north. Serious climbers go up another 300 feet or so to the actual peak, but we were at our limit. This trail is always challenging. Unlike the Switchback Trail up to Klahane Ridge, the Storm King trail never lets up. It is steep and demanding all the way. There are no easy switchbacks. Worse, it has been dry this year, so the trail was sand and pebbles, terrible footing.

Next time, it’s Klahane Ridge, for sure.


A good omen - We saw this woodpecker on our way to the climb.

Trail on a slope

A view from the ledge

A look down at the road

More of the trail

Keywords: barnes creek, lake crescent, storm king


03/20/16 - Spring on the Spruce Railroad Trail

We were out on the Spruce Railroad Trail along the north shore of Lake Crescent recently. We had a great view of Storm King with its upper reaches dusted with snow. There was also a lot of water flowing into the lake on the various little streams the trail crosses. Even better, a sign of spring, our first skunk cabbage of the year.

Storm King

One of the many streams

Another of the many streams

The trail

Our first skunk cabbage of spring

Keywords: lake crescent, spring, spruce railroad, storm king


02/05/16 - Lake Crescent

It is still winter, but here and there we see signs of spring. There were hints, just hints, on the Spruce Railroad Trail along Lake Crescent.

A view across the lake of the Barnes Creek valley

Signs of spring?

A living rock wall

More signs of spring

Another view of the lake

Keywords: spruce railroad, spring, lake crescent


08/16/15 - In Search of Water

This has been a dry summer, and it shows. Rivers just aren't flowing the way they usually do at this time of year. They're about a month or so off, with the current August flow more like the usual flow in late September. The trails are dry, too, with crumbly dirt and lots of loose pebbles.

In search of water we went to Barnes Creek and were pleased to see that Lake Crescent still has a fair bit of water. We started climbing the Mount Storm King trail to get a better view of the lake, but we didn't get far. The trail was crumbling, and it is a steep trail. If we were slipping on the way up, coming down would be treacherous. We turned around and took a look at Marymere Falls. It was nice to see some flowing water.

At the pebble beach we could see just how low the flow was in Barnes Creek. The river was much narrower and the beach much larger than usual. Then we walked a bit up the Barnes Creek trail and got a few glimpses of the river. We got our water fix, at least for now, but we're hoping for some real rain.


Water in the waterfall

A bright sunny day

Looking up Barnes Creek from the bridge

The forest and bright sunlight

More forest trail

Keywords: barnes creek, lake crescent, marymere falls, storm king, summer, trails


03/04/15 - Storm King

The climb from Barnes Creek up to the Mount Storm King overlook is simply the hardest trail we hike on any regular basis. The first 500 feet, up to the relatively flat ramada area, is horribly steep with switchbacks and tree root staircases along the way. Well, we managed to climb up to about 1100' which wasn't all that far from the overlook at 1350', but it was all we could do.

There is a pretty valley overlook at about 900', but after that comes an area we think of as the chute. It's a relatively steep climb of more than 100 feet almost completely on a trail of small rocks and loose soil that make it hard to get a solid foothold. Going up wasn't too bad. Our hiking sticks made a big difference. Coming down was much harder. There is nothing like the ground shifting underfoot as one gets ready for one's next step onto unknown footing.

By dint of extreme, possibly ridiculously extreme, caution, we made it back without injury. Are we going to do this again? Of course, and maybe next time we'll get to the overlook.


The valley view after 900' of climbing

Madronas by the trailside

A teasing peek at Lake Crescent

Keywords: lake crescent, trails


08/19/14 - Spruce Railroad Trail Closed for Paving

For at least five years, and probably longer, there have been plans to turn the nature trail along the north shore of Lake Crescent into a road for bicyclists. Various plans had been floated, and hearings packed with road lobbyists have been held. The environmental plan, which flatly asserts that a four acre asphalt feature hard by a deep water lake has no environmental impact, should be good news for developers everywhere.

The official notice
For years, the project seemed to wait, but earlier this year, we ran into some folks from the park service who were salvaging some of the hundreds of ferns and other plants that would be destroyed by the road project, Now the project is underway. The trail is closed at the eastern end. We noticed the signs about a week before construction started. The park and local media have been surprisingly quiet about the project, though the park did issue a press release at the same time they posted the closing notices. The construction is expected to run through late October. We are definitely going to miss the old trail. If nothing else, we're tender footed and like to walk on a soft dirt surface now and then. This is another victory in the war on nature trails. On a positive note, we are hoping that bicyclists and others, who might never have considered an unpaved trail, will enjoy the new paved version which will connect Sequim, Port Angeles and the West End. We gather this stage of construction will run to the Devil's Punchbowl, ending at the first tunnel, so you can still grab a kayak or canoe and explore the trail to the west, or you can drive around to the western trailhead via Camp David Junior Road which starts near Fairholm.

Keywords: lake crescent, trails


04/18/14 - Trillium Season

It's spring. The trilliums are out at Lake Crescent and the Olympic golden salamanders are on the march. What more can we say?

A trillium

A salamander

Indian paintbrush

More trilliums

Another salamander

Keywords: lake crescent, salamander, spring, trillium


10/08/13 - Lake Crescent

The park may be closed, but Lake Crescent is still there, as is Storm King. We took a short walk on the Spruce Railroad Trail and enjoyed the scenery. We also ran into a late season salamander, so it isn't winter yet.

The lake and soft light

Storm King and its shadow

A late season salamander

Keywords: lake crescent, salamander, spruce railroad, storm king


10/01/13 - Marymere Falls

We were lazy today, so we took a short hike at Marymere Falls which flows into Barnes Creek not far from the south shore of Lake Crescent. Despite the government shutdown, the Barnes Creek parking lot was open, though the ranger station and bathrooms were closed. The rain forest and the river, however, were in full operation and, with today's peep of sunlight, quite beautiful.

We have never seen Marymere Falls so full and flowing, even at the peak of spring melt. The recent rains have filled the watershed, and the falls put on a real show in consequence. You can even check the video (Play), as seeing is believing.

We saw a bit of snow on the higher peaks over the Barnes Creek valley, but the real snow is in the high country. Hurricane Ridge reports ten inches of snow, most of it fallen in the last day or two. Winter has come early this year, so barring a pineapple express, we may not be up on the ridge until the snowshoe and ski season starts.










Keywords: barnes creek, high country, lake crescent, winter, marymere falls


12/04/12 - The Adventure Trail

The Adventure Trail is a minor trail. It's actually part of Waterline Road, because a water line runs along it. It starts roughly where the Lyre River starts flowing from Lake Crescent and generally follows the course of the river, now and then offering a glimpse of the rapids. It isn't a major, must-see trail. On the other hand, on a rainy day, it offers some nice scenery.

Clouds clearing

We parked here

More of where we parked

Keywords: lake crescent


08/29/12 - Storm King - A Little Bit Goes A Long Way

We weren't up to much, but we needed to get out and do something, so we planned a hike along Barnes Creek, but wound up climbing nearly 500 feet up Mount Storm King. That's not really that impressive, as it's 1350 feet to the overlook, but it was more than we had intended. We also walked a bit along Barnes Creek, but by this time we were too exhausted from our climb to go far.

It's easy to drive along the south shore of Lake Crescent and do nothing but admire the scenery, but it is well worth pulling into the Barnes Creek parking lot and exploring the area. The lodge is there, if you are planning to spend the night, and there's a boat ramp if you happen to have a boat on hand, but there is also the Barnes Creek trail. Most people take it to see Marymere Falls. We do often, but there are two other trails there. One heads south along Barnes Creek while the other heads up Mount Storm King. The latter is a brutal climb, but well worth it if you have the stamina to climb 1350 feet to the overlook which offers views of Pyramid Peak, the Strait of San Juan de Fuca and Canada beyond.

Well, we didn't have quite the necessary stamina, but we had a great workout, and the scenery was terrific.


This little buck was climbing a log beside the trail.

Madronas in the rain forest

The trail - It is steeper than it looks.



Barnes Creek

Another view of Barnes Creek and an argument for HDRI (high dynamic range imagery)

Keywords: barnes creek, lake crescent, storm king, trails, marymere falls


04/18/12 - First Trilliums at Lake Crescent

This has been a cool, slow spring, but our most recent hike out at Lake Crescent gave us a few signs of spring. The trilliums are starting to open. We'll be keeping our eyes peeled.

One not quite open

One wide awake

Other blooms

Keywords: lake crescent, spring, trillium


02/28/12 - Out By Lake Crescent

We took a short walk along the north shore of Lake Crescent, and the big news was the first skunk cabbage of the season. We also saw a couple of downed trees, which isn't surprising given some of the recent winds.

Some snow on Storm King

Our first skunk cabbage of the year

A view to the west

A fallen tree

Another fallen tree

Keywords: lake crescent, spruce railroad


06/04/11 - Trilliums Rising

We waited a long time for our trilliums this year, but they finally seem to be coming out in force. The ones at Lake Crescent are already passing, but it has been a wet year, so there are an awful lot of them still coming out along the Lake Angeles Trail. Not only are there more than usual, they are coming out at higher elevations where it is unusual to see them.



Keywords: lake crescent, trillium, lake angeles


05/05/11 - It's Official

The sun took its sweet time crossing the equator this year, but spring seems to have arrived at long last. The flowers on the Spruce Railroad Trail prove it. Just last week we had marveled at a lone trillium by the roadside, but now there were lots of trilliums in bloom right on the trail. There were other flowers as well. Sometimes it just takes a few blossoms to get that sun to move in the sky.

The first on trail trillium of the season at Lake Crescent

Wild currant is still in bloom.

Indian paintbrush has already started its season.

There were little purple orchids.

And there were yellow violets.

Keywords: flowers, lake crescent, spring, spruce railroad, trillium


03/31/11 - Spruce Railroad Spring Report

At long last, spring is coming to the Spruce Railroad Trail on Lake Crescent. On our most recent hike we were greeted by salamanders, and there was even a bit of wild currant in bloom. It was a typical cloudy day, and the mountains, still covered with snow, loomed mysterious.

Oh yes, the trail is a bit muddy.


"Welcome to the Spruce Railroad Trail."

Snow and clouds in the mountains and valleys

More mystery

Mount Storm King draped in cloud

The rocks are alive.

Some madronas

Some wild currant blossoms

Another salamander

Yet another salamander - There were a lot of them. We stepped carefully.

Keywords: lake crescent, salamander, spring, spruce railroad, storm king


02/18/11 - Changing Weather at Lake Crescent

We went for a walk on the Spruce Railroad Trail. We started in sunlight, but as we made our way west the skies darkened, and mists blew in. By the time we started back the rains had come, and our rain gear was put to the test. We were a bit wet by the time we made it back to the trailhead, but the scenery made it worth it.

One of those big spooky maples not far from the trailhead

The view west with cloudy skies blowing in

Storm King with its pronounced snow line

Our special bonus surprise waterfall, in action

The view east with the last bit of sunny sky visible towards Lake Sutherland

Keywords: lake crescent, spruce railroad, waterfall


01/23/11 - The Special Bonus Surprise Waterfall Is Back

Our special bonus surprise waterfall is back, thanks to all the rain we've been having this winter. It flows down what we call the Cliffs of Neurosis. They're like the Cliffs of Insanity in the Princess Bride, but not quite so high. Usually, the area is quite dry, but during the rainy season there is often a bit of a flow. This year there wasn't as much of a stream as some winters, but it's nice to see we're having a properly wet winter.

It's a bit hard to see, but there is a stream flowing down the rock face.

Mount Storm King with a bit of snow

A sunny winter day

Keywords: lake crescent, surprise waterfall, winter, waterfall


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