02/10/18 - Along Lake Crescent

With so many trails closed this time of year, we often get back to the Spruce Railroad Trail. It's more of a country road now, but it still has its charms. One in particular is the special, bonus surprise waterfall about an hour's walk west, just before the second railroad tunnel. With all the winter rain, it was running. To be honest, it was trickling, but it was still a pleasant surprise.

We stopped a bit shy of our usual goal. There had been a rock fall, and while the trail was passable, we didn't want to bother with the bad footing. This is a great time to get out to Lake Crescent, even when the skies are gray.

The special, bonus surprise waterfall

More of a trickle actually

Fallen rocks on the trail

The trail

A fallen log leads into the lake

More of the trail

Even more, with mossy rocks

The lake again - Barnes Valley

The footbridge

More of a country road

Another little waterfall

Keywords: lake crescent, spruce railroad, surprise waterfall, trails, waterfall, winter

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

01/13/08 - Return of the Special Surprise Waterfall

It's a little hard to see in this picture, but our special surprise waterfall at Lake Crescent is back. It's about three miles from the East Beach Road trailhead, in the rocky area near the point. If you look up, you can see the little falls. It isn't quite as wet as 2006 when we last saw it. The water vanishes underground, so you can walk by it dryshod.

Keywords: lake crescent, surprise waterfall, kale, waterfall

Log Across the Elwha Trail

More Logs and Brush on the Elwha Trail


02/10/06 - Winter Trails in Olympic National Park

We don't stop hiking in the national park just because it is winter. True, we need to snowshoe up in the high country, and a lot of the high country roads are closed, but there is still some beautiful hiking down below. Even the recent winds and rains haven't kept us from the Spruce Railroad Trail along the north shore of Lake Crescent or from the Elwha River trail from Whiskey Bend towards Lilian Camp.

There was a recent wind storm that caused a lot of damage, though it was much worse in Seattle and the Puget Sound area. We could even see this on the weather map, which showed the wind speeds in Port Angeles as about a half to two thirds of the wind speeds in areas not sheltered by the mountains. If you fly in a small plane, you will often feel the strong winds starting as you fly over Discovery Bay, and out of the shelter of the Olympics. Still, our internet service was down for most of a day, and the Whiskey Bend Road was closed while the Park Service cleared the fallen trees and brush. Whiskey Bend Road is an interesting drive under the best of circumstances. About a lane and half wide, hard packed, but unpaved, it twists and turns and climbs along the ridge to the east of Lake Mills.

There was a fair bit of freshly sawn timber by the roadside, but the road was quite passable in our Honda Civic. There were a few trees down along the trail, and a fair bit of water in the little side creeks, but the trail was open and the views of the Elwha River and the surrounding hills as gorgeous as ever.

As for the Spruce Railroad Trail, the much disputed roads in the area seem to be open, though there were a good number of downed trees along the roadside, and a bit of brush on the road. Lake Crescent is high, but the water has been going down lately during this drier spell, so it is just one short step over water to get on the Devil's Punchbowl bridge. Our special surprise waterfall has dried up, but a number of other channels that are usually dry are now full of running water.

In other words, the roads are opena nd the trails are open, so take advantage of the sunny days of February.

Keywords: winter, trails, elwha, high country, lake crescent, port angeles, seattle, spruce railroad, maps, surprise waterfall, kale, waterfall

Surprise Bonus Waterfall is Gone

01/25/06 - Special Surprise Waterfall is Gone

Last week there was a Special Surprise Waterfall on the Spruce Railroad Trail along the north shore of Lake Crescent. Well, things have been drying out at the lake, and the little waterfall is gone. You can see where it ran on the left.

The lake had risen at least a foot above its usual level, and most likely higher, but on our last hike, the water was down a fair bit. We didn't have to leap onto the bridge at the Devil's Punchbowl, and there was a lot less mud. Still, having found a wonderful waterfall of our very own, we are now looking forward to the next wet stretch.

Keywords: winter, spruce railroad, lake crescent, surprise waterfall, waterfall

Special Surprise Waterfall

01/17/06 - Special Surprise Waterfall at Lake Crescent

It has been raining a fair bit lately, and Lake Crescent is as high as we've ever seen it. Long time residents tell us that the water hasn't been this high since 1953. Despite a bit of mud, the Spruce Railroad Trail is still passable, though you have to take a long step to get onto the little bridge at the Devil's Punchbowl.

About three miles out on the trail we had a pleasant surprise. A bit before the stretch of trail we call "The Point" there was a little waterfall coming down the rocky cliff. (Click on the image to the left for a better picture). The water actually flows across the trail in a thin sheet before making its way down to the lake proper. If you'd like to see this waterfall, head out on the Spruce Railroad Trail and keep your eyes on the cliffs. Also, hurry. When the rains stop, so will this seasonal waterfall.

Keywords: spruce railroad, winter, lake crescent, surprise waterfall, waterfall