For more on Lake Crescent, see our Spruce Railroad Trail and Barnes Creek web pages.
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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


09/30/10 - Save The Spruce Railroad Trail

We are leaving this post up here at the top of our site because we want to get the word about the proposed changes out as best we can. Scroll down a bit for our usual updates.

The Spruce Railroad Trail is in danger. The park service and the county are seriously considering a plan to eliminate the existing wilderness trail and replacing it with a twelve foot wide, sturdily paved transportation corridor relegating its traditional users - hikers, joggers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders - to a three foot wide unpaved margin. Basically, they want to turn it into an urban bike path with some accomodation for the rest of us.

If you explore the Spruce Railroad Trail now, you get a true national park experience, with ferns, salal, mosses, and sometimes salamanders lapping at your feet. You can stop by the trail side an picnic or just rest on a rock or log. The trail has a soft surface which makes for easier hiking and jogging. The proposed transportation corridor eliminates all of this. It uses most of the right of way, eliminating a lot of the vegetation and natural diversity. It will be paved, changing the scent and atmosphere, and increasing runoff into Lake Crescent.


The current trail, and one of the wider sections

The proposed "improved" version
If you want to find out more, you can check the park's web site and the section on the proposed transportation corridor.

The plan is still open for public comment, but not for much longer. They've been rather quiet about it given its impact. There was a small notice on the cluttered bulletin board at the trailhead, but little else. You can:



Keywords: lake crescent, port angeles, salamander, spruce railroad


07/06/10 - Wild Roses

This is the season of the wild roses.

Wild roses at Lake Crescent on the Spruce Railroad Trail

Keywords: lake crescent, spruce railroad, flowers


04/23/10 - Shadow Mountain Telephone Booth

The telephone system seems to enter a time warp out near Lake Crescent. It's easy not to notice, but if you look carefully at one of the many telephone cable warning markers along East Beach Road, you'll see that they have good, old fashioned Bell System logos. There's none of that Qwisp, or Quaker, or Qwest stuff they put on our phone bills these days. The Bell System was a telephone system. Qwest was a breakfast cereal.

There are even a few markers, and some curious equipment, right along the Spruce Railroad Trail. You probably haven't noticed it because there is awful a lot of distracting beautiful scenery. Still, it is time warp country. Check out this telephone booth at Shadow Mountain. That's the store along route 101 that sells gasoline, hot dogs, books of ghost stories, and just about everything else. We suppose that Sasquatch uses it when he comes out of the woods and changes into his civvies. As we said, it's time warp country.


They have just about everything else, so why not a phone booth?

Keywords: lake crescent, spruce railroad, science


03/14/10 - Sunrise at Lake Crescent

It was quite a sunrise Saturday morning looking east over Lake Crescent, at least according to these images from the park service webcam. That's the moon rising along with the sun. Obviously, the sun couldn't have been that bright a the time, or the moon wouldn't be visible. It's definitely worth checking in on the various webcams now and then.

The morning gloaming

Sunrise and moonrise

Good morning!

Keywords: lake crescent, atmosphere, science


02/24/10 - Lake Crescent in Mist and Cloud

The Spruce Railroad Trail is a different trail on cloudy days. We love to watch the clouds hugging the mountains.

Mountains, lake and clouds

If you look carefully, you'll see the OPI boat full of youngsters

One of our amphibian friends

Keywords: spruce railroad, lake crescent


02/21/10 - Sparkling Light at Lake Crescent

It has been sunny and calm lately, so we noticed an amazing light out on Lake Crescent. We were on the Spruce Railroad Trail, and the light reflected from the gentle ripples on the lake reflected onto the trees, sparklling and twinkling. Our camera only captured this so well.

Move your mouse over the image to see the subtle change, or click to watch the movie.

Keywords: lake crescent, spruce railroad, art, science


02/06/10 - Storm King

The Storm King Trail, which starts near Barnes Creek, is probably the hardest trail we have ever managed. It is a relentlessly steep trail, and the challenge is in keeping going. We usually make it to about 1,450 feet above the parking lot, where there is a rocky outcrop with a spectacular view of Lake Crescent, the Strait of San Juan de Fuca, and Vancouver Island beyond.

We didn't fare quite so well on our latest atttempt, but we did manage to get to about 1,200 feet up. The day was misty and overcast, and the trail was its usual, arduous self. Despite our failure to get to our favorite overlook, we were able to console ourself. After all, with all those clouds, the view was probably obscured anyway.


Across the Barnes Valley

Haunted country

The misty forest

One of the many spectacular madronas

A glimpse of the lake

A forest friend

Salal on the trail

Keywords: barnes creek, lake crescent, storm king


12/03/09 - Another Tree Down

There's another tree down on the Lake Angeles Trail. This one was quite a piece of lumber. Mind you, this isn't really news. Trees fall in the forest all the time, though quite a few choose late November or early December. There were a few trees down on the Spruce Railroad Trail at Lake Crescent as well, but both trails are still passable.

Keywords: lake angeles, lake crescent, spruce railroad, trails


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