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Spruce Railroad Trail

Olympic Peninsula

Hop aboard the Spruce Railroad Trail for a scenic and historic hike along the sparkling shores of massive Lake Crescent. With a microclimate of warmer and drier conditions than areas just a few miles away, this trail is a good hiking choice on an overcast afternoon. Continue reading

Location

Olympic Peninsula -- Northern Coast
Jump to Map & Directions

Length

5.0 miles, one-way

Elevation

Gain: 250 ft.
Highest Point: 700 ft.

Rating

3.92 out of 5

(37 votes) Log in to rate
  • Mountain views
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Good for kids
  • Lakes

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None

WTA worked here in 2017 and 2016!

Take a trip back in time on this historic hike along Lake Crescent. This is a lovely lakeside jaunt for families or those wishing to stretch their legs on a long drive. With a microclimate of warmer and drier conditions than areas just a few miles away, this trail is a good hiking choice on an overcast afternoon.

This four-mile hike winds along the shores of nine-mile long Lake Crescent, whose character changes with the weather, but always provides an excellent backdrop to a hike year-round. This short hike is part of the much-longer Olympic Discovery Trail, which is a bikeable route that crosses the northern part of the Olympic Peninsula. 

The route described below summarizes the up-to-10-mile roundtrip walk you can take on this short section of this trail. 

The hike begins in an old orchard, chock-full of maple trees dripping with moss. Amble through the orchard, then drop down to a path that follows an old railroad. This was once a railroad used to haul Sitka spruce trees out of the depths of the forest, hence the hike’s name. Originally intended to manufacture aircraft in World War I, the logs wound up serving commercial logging interests for nearly forty years. When demand petered out, the National Park Service utilized the natural beauty of the area and turned four miles of the railroad bed into scenic trail.

And scenic it is. Winding through sunlight dappled corridors of maple, Sitka spruce, hemlock and countless other types of trees, with the lake lapping nearby, there is something to delight the senses every step of the way. Beach access is possible at several points, though occasionally hikers find themselves high above the lake, peering down nearly 40 feet into its crystalline blue waters.

The main attraction of the hike comes only one mile in. A large bridge spans a section of lake and to the right is a gorgeous, still pool--the Punchbowl. Photo opportunities abound here, so take some time to snap a few shots, then proceed on. 2.5 miles from the Punchbowl, there are nice views of Barnes Point and Mount Storm King looming above the lake. A further mile and a half leads to the western trailhead, where you can enjoy a short break before heading back, or pick up a car if you opted to shuttle your party back to the original trailhead.

Hike by WTA Staff
Anna Roth

Spruce Railroad Trail

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 48.0933, -123.8025 Open in Google Maps

Trailhead

Olympic Peninsula -- Northern Coast

Spruce Railroad (#44)

Olympic National Park

See weather forecast

Toilet Information

  • Toilet at trailhead

More information about toilets

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula (Romano - Mountaineers Books)

Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades (Burton - Mountaineers Books)

Custom Correct Lake Crescent-Happy Lake Ridge

Buy the Green Trails Lake Crescent No. 101 map

Getting There

Approaching from Port Angeles, proceed along Hwy 101 west for 17 miles to the Olympic National Park boundary. Turn right onto East Beach Road, which will be signed for the East Beach of the Log Cabin Resort. Follow road for a little more than three miles and turn left onto Boundary Creek Road, signed for the Spruce Railroad Trail. Follow Boundary Creek Road for just under a mile to the eastern trailhead. A toilet is available here.

For the Camp David Junior Road trailhead, take highway 101 west for 26.1 miles, then turn right onto Camp David Junior Road and continue to the end of the road, about 3 miles.

There are pit toilets at both the west and east trailheads, but note that the toilet at the east trailhead is not visible from the trail. You need to walk down from the trail into the parking lot.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
 

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Spruce Railroad Trail

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