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Lake Crescent Ultimate Visitor's Guide | Olympic National Park

Lake Crescent is a beautiful, deep lake located within Olympic National Park. It's about 17 miles from Port Angeles, along Highway 101. The lake is known for its size, depth, and number of outdoor activities along its shores.


The lake is most popular in the summer with those visiting the National Park and surrounding beaches. Covering an area of approximately 12 square miles and reaching depths of up to 624 feet, Lake Crescent is one of the deepest lakes in the state.

Lake Crescent


Lake Crescent: At a Glance

  • Location: Clallam County, Washington

  • Elevation: 580'

  • Size: 5,127-acre

  • Maximum Depth: 624'

Best Time to Visit Lake Crescent

The best time to visit Lake Crescent largely depends on your interests, but if you're looking for a balance between good weather, outdoor activities, and relatively fewer crowds, late spring to early fall (May to September) is generally ideal.



Lake Crescent Sun
A sunny day at Lake Crescent

During these months, you'll have a good chance of experiencing warm, sunny weather, making it pleasant for hiking, boating, and other outdoor pursuits. Summer, particularly July and August, can be busier, so if you prefer a less crowded experience while still enjoying good weather, consider visiting in late May, early June, or September.


To Do Near Lake Crescent

Boating

Kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding are popular activities. Motorized boats are allowed but have speed restrictions to maintain a peaceful atmosphere. You can rent boats at locations like Log Cabin Resort and Lake Crescent Lodge.


The beautiful Lake Crescent in late summer
The beautiful Lake Crescent in late summer.

Hiking

Apart from the Marymere Falls hike, there are other trails around the lake, such as the Spruce Railroad Trail, which is also open to mountain bikes. You might also want to check out these trails:

Marymere Falls
Marymere Falls


  • Mount Stormking: (hard) 4.1 miles. This hike is only recommended for experienced hikers who are ready for a great deal of elevation gain in only a couple of miles. There is also an exposed, rocky rope section at the top.

  • Barnes Creek Trail: (hard) 17.4 miles. This is a long trail that's located near Marymere Falls, and that's great for anyone hoping to get in some miles on terrain that's not too difficult.

  • Bovee's Meadow Trail: (easy) 0.4 miles. This is a very easy, family-friendly trail that allows you to enjoy some more of the wilderness this area offers.

  • Sol Duc Falls Nature Trail: (easy) 1.6 miles. An easy, quick hike that's close to the town of Joyce, Washington. You can expect to see a little waterfall along the way and Sol Duc Falls, a unique, multi-leveled waterfall.

There are many other fantastic hikes in Olympic National Park.

Lake Crescent as seen from Highway 101
Lake Crescent as seen from Highway 101



Fishing

The lake is a good spot for fishing, but it's essential to follow state and national park regulations, including obtaining the necessary permits.


Check Out the Beaches

There are many beaches along the shores of Lake Crescent. Some of the most popular are:

  • East Beach

The view from east beach
The view from East Beach, Lake Crescent.

  • Fairholme Beach

  • La Poel Beach

  • Bovee's Meadow



Lake Crescent Flora and Fauna

The surrounding area is a dense old-growth forest consisting mainly of fir, hemlock, and cedar trees. The lake itself is home to fish species like Beardslee trout and Crescenti cutthroat trout, which are unique to this body of water.


Where to Stay Near Lake Crescent

There are a number of options for those visiting Lake Crescent:

  • Lake Crescent Lodge

  • Lake Quinault Lodge

  • Port Angeles Inn

  • Log Cabin Resort

  • Fairholme Campground: The Fairholme Campground next to Lake Crescent is on the north side of the Olympic Peninsula in the rain forest. It is one of the most popular sites in the park and for a good reason!

  • Salt Creek Campground: is an incredibly scenic, large campground around 20 minutes from Port Angeles and on the northern coast of Washington State. It includes RV and tent sites and expansive views of the Pacific Ocean and Canada.

  • Lyre River Campground: The Lyre River Campground is another small site that's often full near the lake. It's a fee-free site which makes it very rare among campsites in this area. The only requirement to camp there is a Discover Pass.

  • Ranger Creek Campground: Ranger Creek Campground is a good option near Port Angeles and Lake Crescent. The campground is pet-friendly (but your pet needs to be on a leash). There are very few amenities here, though, so make sure that you bring what you need. Nearby, you can explore Crescent Beach as well.


If you're planning on going camping at or near Lake Crescent, we highly recommend checking out KÜHL's Camping Checklist. They have all the tips and tricks you need to make your next camping adventure a success.


FAQs

Why is Lake Crescent so clear?

The lake is famous for its clear waters, which allow for excellent visibility. This clarity is due to a lack of nitrogen, which prevents the growth of algae.

What is special about Lake Crescent?

Can you swim at Lake Crescent?

Is Lake Crescent worth it?

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