Lake Crescent, a cold, clear, glacially-carved lake, owes its existence to ice. Its azure depths, which plummet to 624 feet, were gouged by huge ice sheets thousands of years ago. As the ice retreated, it left behind a steep valley that filled with the clear blue waters of Lake Crescent.
The lake's waters have very little nitrogen. This limits the growth of phytoplankton, tiny plants (like algae) that float in lake waters. Without them, the water stays clear. In some places you might see as far down as 60 feet. Clarity and reflecting light give Lake Crescent its stunning blue-green color. Its protected waters are home to fish like the Beardslee and Crescenti trout, two types of fish found nowhere else in the world.
Lake Crescent Area InformationFacilities: Storm King Ranger Station: If staffing allows, open in summer with information and book sales. Lake Crescent Lodge and Log Cabin Resort: lodging, restaurants, boat rentals (both closed in winter). Fairholme Store: groceries and boat rentals (summer only).
Camping: Fairholme: 87 sites (one accessible), fire pits with grates, picnic tables, potable water, animal-proof food storage lockers, accessible restrooms, RV dump station. Open late spring into early fall. Log Cabin Resort runs a summer-only RV campground.
Picnic Areas: East Beach: beach, accessible vault toilet, fire pits, tables. Bovee's Meadow: beach, accessible vault toilet, tables. La Poel (summer only): firepits, tables, accessible vault toilet. North Shore: accessible vault toilet, firepits, tables.
Regulations: Pets and bicycles are not permitted on trails, except on the Spruce Railroad Trail. Pets must be kept on a 6 foot or shorter leash. Alcohol and glass are not permitted on public beaches.
Safety: Please respect the speed limit on the winding roads. The lake is very cold and deep; always wear life jackets on the water.
Mount Storm KingAn Indian legend tells us of the creation of Lake Crescent... There was much fighting between the Klallam and Quileute tribes along a small river that flowed through the present site of Lake Crescent. The disagreements escalated into a great battle that lasted three days. The mountain spirit of the area became very upset at the foolish fighting. He hurled a gigantic boulder down at them, killing all of the warriors. The boulder was so big that it dammed the river and the water backed up, forming Lake Crescent. For many years, tribal members did not visit the area where their relatives were killed.
Geological records support the idea of a large-scale disturbance affecting Lake Crescent. There is evidence that landslides from surrounding mountains divided what was once a larger lake into two separate lakes, Lake Crescent and its neighbor Lake Sutherland.
Day Hikes Around Lake Crescent
Last updated: December 2, 2020