The Spruce Railroad Trail is a popular and fairly easy, four mile long hike that skirts the shores of scenic Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park.
Olympic National Park’s Lake Crescent was formed by melting glaciers during the last ice age. It has the distinction of being Washington’s second deepest lake. The area is home to a number of trails and attractions, like Marymere Falls, and the lake, itself.
One of the lake’s most popular trails, and a great way to get to know some of Lake Crescent, is Spruce Railroad Trail.
aka Lake Crescent Trail
The Spruce Railroad Trail is sometimes called the Lake Crescent Trail – and you can see why. The approximately four mile long trail runs along the shores of Lake Crescent.
It starts off by meandering through an old orchard before following a leg of the now defunct Port Angeles Western Railroad grade. The trail gets its proper name from the old line. In fact, one of the points of interest along the trail is McFee Tunnel. McFee Tunnel is an old train tunnel that burrows through the mountain bedrock in pitch blackness – but only for about 450 feet.
Another big draw about a mile in is the fancifully named “Devil’s Punchbowl,” a small but deep, protected cove. The trail runs in front of the cove, over a long arched foot bridge. During warmer seasons you can always find folks cavorting here. Locals and visitors alike love to jump into the water from the bridge (fun!) and from the surrounding cliff face (dangerous – don’t do it!) and swim the lake’s cold, clear waters.
As mentioned above, the trail is approximately 4 miles (6.4 km) in length, one way, with trailheads at both ends. It is reasonably level throughout and moderate enough for most to enjoy. The trail runs mostly along the lake shore, with easy beach access. It also occasionally ascends some 40 feet above Lake Crescent’s startlingly lovely blue water.
Olympic Discovery Trail
Spruce Railroad Trail is part of the far larger Olympic Discovery Trail, which spans the north end of the Olympic Peninsula.
The Olympic Discovery Trail is a paved, non-motorized, multi-use trail running some 140 miles from Port Townsend to La Push. In fact, the La Push to Forks leg is less than two miles from Manitou Lodge.
The trail is great for biking, walking, running, and getting to know Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Learn more about it and its associated trails at olympicdiscoverytrail.org.
To get to Spruce Railroad Trail, Follow US 101 east from Manitou Lodge towards Lake Crescent. Around 35 miles in, just before Lake Crescent, you’ll turn right onto Camp David Junior Road. Follow the road to its end, about 3 miles, and you’ll be at the Spruce Railroad trailhead.