Lake Crescent Area Brochure

A map of the Lake Crescent area including Lake Crescent itself and the surrounding roads, hiking trails, rivers, creeks, the Storm King Ranger Station, Log Cabin Resort, and services such as campgrounds and boat launch sites.

Sapphire Setting

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 Information

Facilities: 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.
A map of the Storm King and Barnes Creek area near Lake Crescent, including the lake shore, hiking trails, Highway 101, Barnes Creek, and the facilities of Lake Crescent Lodge, NatureBridge, and Storm King Ranger Station.

Mount Storm King

An 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

Trail Description Miles Elev. Gain (ft.)
Marymere Falls Old growth forest to a 90 ft. waterfall. 0.9 one way 400
Moments in Time Self-guided nature trail through forest and by the lake, accessible with assistance. 0.6 loop none
Mt. Storm King Steep switchbacks climb part way up Mt. Storm King. 2.2 one way 2,000
Spruce Railroad Paved, accesssible trail hugging the north shore of Lake Crescent on an old railroad bed including two historic railroad tunnels. Bikes and leashed pets permitted. Accessible paved extension leads west on the Olympic Discovery Trail. 4.0 one way
(6.5 extension one way)
Fairholme Campground Loop Old growth forest. This trail has entrances at the top of Loop B and the campground access road. 0.8 loop 100
Pyramid Peak Climbs steeply to a World War II spotting tower with views of the lake. One section crosses a steep landslide. 3.5 one way 2,600
Aurora Creek Climbs steeply up rocky terrain through old growth forest to Aurora Ridge. 3.4 one way 3,220
Barnes Creek Climbs up to Aurora Ridge through old growth forest; only first 4 miles maintained. 7.5 one way 4,200

Last updated: December 2, 2020

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