Lake Crescent, Washington

Our "home base" for our Olympic National Park tour was Lake Sutherland, Washington.  Lake Crescent is just west of Lake Sutherland off Highway 101.  

Spooky Highway 101 between Lake Sutherland and Lake Crescent

Stopped by the Shadow Mountain General Store to get a geocache and look what we found!

Lake Crescent is a deep lake located entirely within Olympic National Park.  At an official maximum depth of 624 feet also the maximum depth of the depth sounder used to find that depth, it is officially the second deepest lake in Washington. Unofficial depth measurements of more than 1,000 feet have been rumored in the region for years, although this figure has recently been proven false after a lake-wide bathymetric survey was performed from 2013 to 2014. The results of this survey showed the maximum depth as being 596 feet. Using GIS statistical analysis, this survey also showed the lake contains approximately 0.5 cubic miles of fresh water.

Posing in front of Lake Crescent

Sun going down behind mountains

Around 8,000 years ago a great landslide from one of the Olympic Mountains dammed Indian Creek and the deep valley filled with water. Many geologists believe that Lake Crescent and nearby Lake Sutherland formed at the same time, but became separated by the landslide. This theory is supported by Klallum tribe legend which tells a story of Mount Storm King being angered by warring tribes and throwing a boulder to cut Lake Sutherland in two, resulting in Lake Crescent. The results of the landslide are easily visible from the summit of Pyramid Mountain. Eventually, the water found an alternative route out of the valley, spilling into the Lyre River, over the Lyre River Falls, and out to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Lake Crescent is known for its brilliant blue waters and exceptional clarity, caused by a lack of nitrogen in the water which inhibits the growth of algae. It is located in a popular recreational area which is home to a number of trails, including the Spruce Railroad Trail, Pyramid Mountain trail, and the Barnes Creek trail to Marymere Falls. The Spruce Railroad Trail follows the grade of what was once the tracks of a logging railroad along the shores of the lake. Following this trail on the north side of the lake, one can find the entrance to an old railroad tunnel as well as "Devils Punch Bowl", a popular swimming and diving area.

Outside the Lake Crescent Lodge

Barnes Creek runs near Lake Crescent Lodge and into the lake

Daisies at Barnes Creek

Cabins for rent at Lake Crescent Lodge

Deer outside cabins offered at Lake Crescent Lodge

Historic Lake Crescent Lodge sits on the shores of Lake Crescent. It was built in 1915 and is an ideal base camp for enjoying Olympic National Park, while experiencing the charm of a turn-of-the-century resort.


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