Lake Crescent

Olympic National Park

If you're heading anticlockwise on the Olympic loop from Port Angeles toward Forks, one of the first scenic surprises to leap out at you is luminous Lake Crescent, a popular boating and fishing area and a departure point for a number of short national-park hikes.

The area is also the site of Lake Crescent Lodge, the oldest of the park's trio of celebrated lodges (the others are the Quinault and the Kalaloch) – it first opened in 1916.

The best stop-off point is in a parking lot to the right of US 101 near the Storm King Ranger Station. A number of short hikes leave from here, including the Marymere Falls trail, a 2-mile round trip to a 90ft cascade that drops over a basalt cliff. For a more energetic hike, climb the side of Mt Storm King, the peak that rises to the east of Lake Crescent. The steep, 1.7-mile ascent splits off the Barnes Creek Trail.

Trout fishing is good here – the lake is deep with steep shorelines – though only artificial lures are allowed. Rowboat rentals ($20-55, depending on length of time) are available at Lake Crescent Lodge in the summer months.

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