A short drive from George Washington Inn, just west of Port Angeles, lies a postcard perfect lake named Crescent Lake for an obvious reason. Steep mountain ridges rise up almost 1,500 feet over the lake, while the bottom is actually 24 feet below sea level, making Crescent Lake incredibly deep at an amazing 624 feet in the middle.
As you drive along the southern shore of Crescent Lake you are treated to an incredible view of this sparkling jewel. A number of turn-offs allow you to stop and take in the scenic majesty of the park. Alongside the road an endless array of small waterfalls cascade down the side of rock walls providing Crescent Lake with an endless supply of fresh water from the Olympic Mountains to the south. Barnes Point off of the highway is a perfect place to spend an afternoon day and enjoy a couple of short hikes.
The Moments In Time Natural Trail is a 1/2-mile loop that weaves its way along the banks of Crescent Lake, and through old-growth lowland forest. Massive cedars and Douglas firs tower overhead, some with diameters over 35 feet and rising up offer two hundred feet from the forest floor. The trail is well marked and surprisingly quiet and offers several places to sit and reflect on the incredible wonder of this part of the country.
From the Moments in Time Natural Trail you can take a 1/3 of a mile connector to the Storm King Ranger Station Parking Lot. At Storm King there is an excellent modern bathroom, picnic facilities docks and a boat ramp. Make sure you go down to the docks to see just how clear the waters of Crescent Lake are and enjoy a spectacular view of Lizard Head Peak rising up over the lake.
We found great food at the Crescent Lake Lodge and thoroughly enjoyed that experience with our friends. You will enjoy the view looking out across the lake from their front porch.
From the Storm King Ranger Station you can take the one-mile trail to spectacular 90 feet Marymere Falls. The trail starts along the shores of Crescent Lake and passes through a tunnel under US Highway 101. For a brief period it heads west parallel to the road before turning south and into the old-growth forest.
Massive cedars and firs tower overhead. Along the banks of Barnes Creek huge sword ferns grow where the shade still protects them from the sun, but the cool water of the creek can feed them and keep them moist. As you reach Barnes Creek you will cross two foot bridges before starting the last 1/8 of a mile on the trail.
The last stretch of the trail poses hikers with a deceiving choice. After climbing a series of earthen steps the trail forks offering an “easier,” climb to the falls versus a steeper and more direct route. Although your rugged spirit will cry out for you to take the steeper, harder trail, the easier route to Marymere offers the best view of the falls.
Now indulge yourself by watching a short video of the lake and Crescent Lake Lodge.