Lake Crescent is known for its stunning blue water. It is extremely clear, I was told it was glacier water and the clearness is due to lack of nitrogen in the water. The lack of nitrogen inhibits the growth of algae.
If you are planning to go see the Olympic Mountain ranges in Olympic National Park, I strongly suggest you spend time at Lake Crescent. I will provide you with different attractions in the area and places to stay throughout this blog post!
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According to the National Parks Services site, 7,000 years ago a massive landslide isolated Lake Crescent from Lake Sutherland. Both lakes are stunning, but I loved my time at Lake Crescent. There is so much to explore there. You can check out the several hiking trails, the surrounding mountains, or kayak on the lake.
How to Get There?
Leaving from Seattle, if you caught my blog post on Seattle, I spoke about landing in Seattle and getting ready to head out to Olympic National Park. Seattle Tacoma is the closet airport. If you’re coming from Seattle, plan to ride a ferry to get to the northern part of the Penninsula. It is an easier and more direct route.
Coming from Seattle we went from WA-104 W/NW State Highway 104 to US-101 N. This route includes getting on a ferry. We went on the ferry on accident, we were planning to take a longer route to avoid the ferry to save some money, but our GPS didn’t know that. My sister and I encounter traffic leading to one spot and I told her we were boarding a ferry. She told me I was wrong, but low and behold, we boarded a ferry.
Taking a ferry over the Puget Sound is stunning. The air is so fresh and the view you get to experience is amazing. Keep an eye out for animals you can see in the water, you’ll see different birds, potentially otters! It ended up being a happy accident, looking back taking a ferry to the northern part of the Olympic Peninsula is unavoidable.
Getting around the Peninsula the main highway is US-101 N which helps to get around relatively easy. Lake Cresent is off US-101 N in Port Angelas, Washington.
Where To Stay
Staying near Lake Cresent there are other hotel options in Port Angelas, however, when my sister and I were planning our trip, the area had a high crime rate so we opted for locations recommended by the National Park to stay for safety purposes. During our two night stay we had to break up our nights between two locations, two nights at Lake Cresent Lodge and one night at Log Cabin Resort.
This historic inn was built in 1915 and is nicely located on the shoreline of Lake Cresent framed by giant fir and hemlock trees. There is the main lodge, which is where my sister and I stayed. Dispersed around the property are Roosevelt Fireplace Cabins and other cottages. If I return I would like to stay in one of the cabins, they look like such an enjoyable experience.
The lodge does have a restaurant and walk-up bar. The restaurant does fill up quickly. Make a reservation early. Since it is a historic location, people will drive a distance to eat here! I’m not sure if the wait staff was overwhelmed by a larger party that was there, or they were understaffed. I would suggest ordering food and a drink from the bar and sitting out on the sun porch.
After dinner, enjoy sitting in one of the Adirondack style chairs outside along the shoreline to see the sunset. You’ll be so thankful you did! The sunset here was breathtaking as it went down reflecting on the lake between the mountains. The sunrise is blocked by the mountain behind the Inn so you'd need to drive down the lake to enjoy the sunrise from a different spot.
Bring a glass of wine from the bar to enjoy the sunset, out on the rocky beach. You won’t be alone but you’ll enjoy the silence and stillness of this place. People will flock to snap a photo but it does not hinder your enjoyment. As the sun goes down at the end of the lake between the mountains it will give anyone pause.
There is a walking trail from the Lodge that goes along the water called Moments in Time. Great to take this trail in the evening and you’ll have signs to learn about the area. Enjoy looking out at Barnes Point and the views along the water.
You could take this trail to the Nature Bridge that connects to the Marymere Falls Trail.
We had our own space for the night, we booked a Lakeside Chalet and it was right on the water. If you are looking for more of a basic cabin and camping vibe, I suggest staying here. When we arrived here, we had just left Hurricane Ridge and the rain began and soon became a downpour! You’re right on the water of Lake Crescent and you could hardly see it. We got our keys and headed to our cabin for the night.
The chalet is kept nice, but again think bare bones nothing flashy. Our chalet had a kitchenette, but we at both dinner and breakfast at the Sunnyside Cafe. There is an option to have a buffet breakfast included in your night's stay which we opted for. The staff is so friendly and seemed mostly college-age but very professional and all ready to serve!
The mountain will block the sunsets, but the sunrises you’ll experience here, it’s stunning! Be sure to wake up early so you won’t miss out. We actually saw a river otter while waiting for the sun to rise. It is such a peaceful moment. Our cabin neighbors also came out for photos so you won't be alone in the early hour.
While continuing to enjoy the morning clouds were moving through the mountains and moving down the lake to bring on a new day. If we were not heading off to another location of the Olympic Peninsula, we would have sat here for hours enjoying this stillness of this spot and the beautiful surroundings. While enjoying our chalet's view on the water, a family of ducks came to visit us as well!
Lake Crescent has so many different areas to explore! Below are the places I explored and recommend you don't miss on your visit! If you're looking for further help click here to get set up with help for booking your adventure. In typical Pacific West North fashion we got a lot of rain, so don't forget your raincoat and a water bottle for your adventure-filled day!
On our way to check-in to our hotel we detoured to Hurricane Ridge. Hurricane Ridge has a visitor center where you can snap a photo with the Olympic National Park sign. The visitor center has some local information, also this is where the Olympic National park sign is to snag a photo!
However, if you don't want a photo, I recommend continuing driving up to Hurricane Ridge since you still need to purchase your pass to enter the National Park, your pass will last for seven days. and the visitor center at the top has more to offer.
I cannot stress enough, drive slowly up and down Hurricane Ridge. Hurricane Ridge elevation is at 5,242 feet. You will get amazing views, but be wise of your surroundings with the twist and turns of the road, hikers, and animals. Hurricane Ridge gets its name because of the hurricane-like winds.
There are many cute animals you might be able to see. We mainly saw deer, birds, and squirrels. We missed out seeing mountain goats - which I was hoping we would get to see and marmots. Keep an eye out! If you are hoping to see mountain goats from the visitor center, it is unlikely from the crowds, but if you walk one of the trails and bring binoculars you might have a chance.
During our four days and three nights stay at Lake Cresent we came here almost every day and had very different weather conditions. The thing to note - since you are at a higher elevation, bring layers! We had to bundle up a lot and even put on our snow hats even though the base of the mountain was in the high 70’s and hot. Prior to going, study the map for the trails you'd like to complete. Inside the visitor center is a water fountain that is mounted on the wall to look like water coming from a stream. It is fresh mountain water to fill up your water bottle, it is so crisp and refreshing!
Day one - rolling clouds, got glimpses of views toward Canada but we were mainly in the clouds. It was a cool experience because down at the base it was sunny and hot. Since we could not see the view we walked the Cirque Rin Nature Trail and East Big Meadow Nature Trail.
Since it’s a very short trail, we asked the visitor center where else would be a nice spot to walk, we were directed to Wolf Creek Trail. This was a gorgeous trail, a very isolated and great way to see animals! Wolf Creek Trail is 14.7 miles long. We did not do the whole length, mainly from my sister not being an avid hiker so was over it after a while.
Also, we weren’t sure where we parked was where we were supposed to. Going in early September some areas are closed off due to snow. When looking out at the Olympic mountain range you can actually see snow of the peaks of the mountain!
Day two - was amazing! We had just gotten back from Victoria, BC and it was a 3:00 PM ferry and we got back to Port Angelas, Washington, and our car by 4:30 PM. Since it was a sunnier day and we had no view the previous day, I wanted to see if we would get a view. People, we did! There were still clouds but more rolling clouds that we got a glimpse of this amazing mountain range that was breathtaking.
Seeing clouds pass through the mountains, it was unreal to experience. Even though it was freezing, you’d be in awe of this view. Walk the walkway to see different spots, and go to the deck of the visitor center to get a higher perspective. You’ll want a telescope lens camera to get photos of the peaks. Phones have come a long way, but seeing the snowy peaks was stunning!
Day three - clear views and was such a win! Coming here you’ll want to come in the morning. Speaking to a local on the ferry ride from Victoria, he told us that clouds will roll in the afternoon and linger at the midpoint of the mountains so you don't get as great of a view from the ridge as the day goes on. This is due to cumulation throughout the day of heat from below and the cold air at the higher elevation.
The third day is when we planned to hike the popular trail Hurricane Ridge to Klahhane Ridge Trail. The whole trail is 12.6 but we did about half of it because we did Cirque Rim Nature Trail to High Ridge Nature trail to Sunrise View Point trail then jumped on Klahhane Ridge Trail. High Ridge Nature Trail and Sunrise View Point has great views of Canada. You’ll have amazing mountain range views as well! You might see marmots during this hike. There were others on the trail so the people might have scared them off.
There is a nice stopping point that is at the peak elevation before the trail turns to be completely downhill which would bring you to Klahhane’s trailhead from the Hurricane Ridge road, not at the visitor center. On a clear day, like what we got on our third day, you can see Mount Rainer! It is stunning how much you can see from Hurrican Ridge.
While sitting here clouds rolled in, it was beautiful to see them rolling in over and through the mountains. It was supposed to pour so it was a good time to head back to the car and say goodbye to Hurricane Ridge. There is still so much to see here, I feel like I just scratched the surface!
The trail is 2 miles long in and out, 298 feet elevation gain, and is heavily trafficked. The parking lot can be confusing about how to get to the trailhead. By the bathrooms to the right you’ll see a path and it’ll lead to the lake and a sign for the Maymere Falls Trailhead.
The trail is stunning, you first walk under 101 Olympic Highway to the road but can take a tunnel under the road. From there the trail is pretty stunning. You get to wander through beautiful scenery. Enjoy the stillness of the area. As you get away from the highway you’ll mainly hear the water from the Barnes Creek which you actually get to cross a bridge over.
We completed this trail before our third day of heading to Hurrican Ridge. It is not a difficult trail to complete, but it does connect to other trails that can have a higher difficultly if you'd like to explore them. Since we planned to hike the longer trails at Hurrican trail we left for out third day there!
We completed this trail before our third day of heading to Hurricane Ridge. It is not a difficult trail to complete, but it does connect to other trails that can have a higher difficultly if you'd like to explore them.
There are a few different parking lots by the Port Angelas ferry dock. The ferry departs at three different times in the morning and returns in the afternoon. The ferry ride to Victoria BC is 90 minutes long. Buy your tickets online before going so you’ll have the tickets all set and it’ll help you plan your trip with ease. Check out this blog post for how to explore Victoria, BC!
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Facts of Attractions of Port Angelas, Washington:
Port Angelas is located on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State
Olympia is the capital of Washington
American currency is in American dollars and cents
The area is known for its whale watching, bird watching, and hiking
Locals enjoy exploring Olympic National Park year-round
I hope you enjoyed hearing about my trip to Port Angelas, Washington. If you have any questions about the area please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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