• Activities:

    Photography, Running, Hiking, Fitness

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    4 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    250 Feet

Bathrooms
Beach
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
Lake
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

Excellent views of Crescent Lake, waterfalls depending on the season, all sorts of trees including Bigleaf Maple, Sitka Spruce, Madrona, Hemlock and giant ferns. All that with an easy grade for a fast fitness hike or a slow wander. This trail is versatile: run it, hike it or bike it.

This versatile trail can adapt to your needs. It's can be an out-and-back hike, so you can make it as long as you like. If you do full distance, you are looking at an 8 mile day. OR, If you have two cars, you can park a car at either end of the trail and make it a 4 mile one-way hike.

This description begins at the Spruce Railroad Trailhead on the east side of Crescent Lake, walking west along the north shore. Be sure to stop at the pit toilet at the trail head before you go. You'll have to hike uphill through fern and brush to get the necessary 200 feet away from a water source before you can tinkle while on this trail.

From the beginning of the trail you can't help but notice how surrounded you are by green things. Huge spruce and maple are draped in moss, gigantic ferns bend and sway into the narrow path and evergreens abound. This is a quintessential Washington rain forest hike. Even in summer, the path may be muddy. Expect muddy, slippery conditions in the winter and spring.

About one mile in, you'll run into a Japanese style bridge over the vibrant blue water of Crescent Lake and the Punchbowl. This is a popular place for swimming in the summer time. The bridge is also a great place for a photo op. From the bridge: Look left for Mount Storm King and right for Barnes Point.

The trail runs close to the water's edge for much of the time. You'll have ample opportunities to take photographs of that gem blue water.

When you reach the western trail head, take a break and enjoy more stunning views of this beautiful lake. Retrace your steps to return to the eastern trail head.

Pack List

  • Water resistant hiking boots
  • Rain gear (depending on the weather, but remember this is the rain forest. Bring it just in case.)
  • Layers
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Water
  • Snacks and/or lunch
  • 10 Essentials
  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Polarizing Filter
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Reviews

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Went to go on a winter hike and noticed signs for trail closures. After talking with the rangers we were informed the trail is closed for construction

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Kim Morris

A photog with a must-see list that doesn't end. A perpetual road tripper. My batteries are charged, SD cards are cleared, and I am ready for the next adventure.

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