For more on the Spruce Railroad Trail, see our Spruce Railroad Trail web page.
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02/08/14 - Winter Icicles

We took a walk along the Spruce Railroad trail during one of our recent cold snaps. There was ice on the little waterfalls and icicles on branches low by the water. We were half icicle by the time we finished our walk, but the scenery was really impressive.

Snow on the mountains


More icicles

A frozen waterfall

More frozen water

Dangling ice formations, for the want of a thesaurus

An array of icicles

Keywords: spruce railroad, winter, waterfall

10/24/13 - Lake Crescent

We haven't been doing all that much, but we took a short walk on the Spruce Railroad Trail.

Storm King and its reflection

A fish seen through the clear water of the lake

Madrona berries, a great crop this year

Keywords: spruce railroad

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

04/24/13 - The Trilliums of Spring

It really is spring now. We were out on Lake Crescent looking for trilliums, and we found them. They are coming out in force. There are also a lot of other spring flowers.


Little orchids

More trilliums

Indian paintbrush

Skunk cabbage

Along the trail

The high / low on the trail

Keywords: trillium, spruce railroad, spring

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

06/24/11 - Lake Crescent Flowers

The flowers are out on the Spruce Railroad Trail. We particularly noticed the roses. Their rich scent carries. There are also lots of sedums, growing in the friable rock along the trail. Since there are plans to turn the trail into a paved road, they'll probably be getting rid of a lot of the broken rock and the sedums with them, so enjoy them while you can.

The roses

Some sedums by the side of the trail


Keywords: flowers, spruce railroad

05/17/11 - Seen on the Spruce Railroad Trail

It's definitely getting more spring like.

An abstract painting (Can you spot the salamander and how many didn't we see?)

Actual flowers

Actual mushroom (Sorry, no plural)



Flowing water

Those spooky old maples

Keywords: flowers, salamander, spring, spruce railroad

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

04/22/11 - Along Lake Crescent

Usually, the Spruce Railroad Trail is adorned with trilliums by now, but this year winter has been lingering. Still, there were a few little yellow violets and the first signs of Indian paintbrush. It isn't much, but it's better than nothing.

The first paintbrush of the season

The trail

A rock garden

Keywords: spruce railroad, trillium, spring

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

It's finally, at long last, almost spring.

03/25/11 - Skunk Cabbage

We spotted our first skunk cabbage of the season near the east end of the Spruce Railroad Trail. It's better late than never.

Keywords: spring, spruce railroad

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

10/07/10 - Spruce Railroad Trail Paving Update

We attended the park's open forum on the paving of the Spruce Railroad Trail. It was a pretty diverse group attending, with bicyclists, hikers, equestrians, park people, county people, and many we couldn't place by sight. The park is doing an Environmental Assessment. Those words are capitalized because it has a precise legal meaning, but it comes down to figuring out how much asphalt to pour. Right now, the trail is dirt, mud in season. The country proposes eight feet of asphalt and another two to four feet of gravel right along the lake on the little ledge carved out when the railroad was built. That doesn't leave much room for anything else.

We looked and listened to the various proposals the park is considering. These range from no changes to pouring as much asphalt as the ledge will bear, presumably a fair bit since it was designed for a working railroad. We couldn't help thinking of an article in that classic National Lampoon parody of a Sunday newspaper, the Dacron, Ohio Republican Democrat, home of a major asphalt producer.

We love their plan for Quaint Town.

Keywords: spruce railroad, art

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

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