Top 20 Washington State Trips

Lake Crescent Lodge

Lake Crescent Lodge

Stay in a historic, lakeside lodge in the Olympic National Park.

The Lake Crescent Lodge is 3 hours from Seattle, and 30 minutes from Port Angeles, in the world famous Olympic National Park.

This historic lodge opened in 1916, and was once a playground for the rich, even hosting President Roosevelt in 1937, and other celebrity guests like Henry Ford, Frank Sinatra and Robert Kennedy.

Children are welcome in the lobby or restaurant, but overnight stays at the historic lodge are for adults only. Families can stay at the popular cottages adjacent to the lodge, or in the guest building.

Even if you're not planning an overnight stay, it's fun to do a day trip out to the lodge, stroll along the stunning shoreline of Lake Crescent, eat at the restaurant, rent a kayak for a few hours, or walk out to Marymere Falls.

10 best things to do at the Lake Crescent Lodge

1. Stay overnight at the lodge in a historic room (summer only).

Step back in time to this historic lodge on the shores of Lake Crescent, listed on the National Register for Historic Places. The Lake Crescent Lodge is open for bookings from late May through October, and guests must be over 18 to stay here, due to the shared bathrooms (make a reservation). There's no TV, and limited internet in the lobby, enabling you to completely disconnect from modern life in this pristine, wilderness environment. 

Families with kids are welcome to stay at the adjacent guest building with more contemporary rooms (Storm King Rooms and Marymere Rooms).

Lake Crescent Lodge has a charm and ambience that harks back to a more gracious era. Sit inside the elegant sunroom and look out at all the activity on the lake, or enjoy a beverage while seated on the porch.

The bungalow style interior of the Lake Crescent Lodge is full of vintage details, like a fieldstone fireplace, and wood paneled interiors.

The hotel was once known as the Lake Crescent Tavern, attracting affluent clientele who played croquet, tennis and golf, enjoyed black tie dinners, and danced to 1920s era music in the sunroom. During the first six years, guests could only arrive by ferry or private boat from East Beach at Lake Crescent. After the arrival of the highway in 1922, chauffeur driven guests arrived from Seattle, Tacoma and Portland, and even more far flung places on the East Coast.  In 1937 President Roosevelt met with other dignatories here, to formulate the creation of the Olympic National Park.

In the early 1900s, eleven lodges sprung up around the lake, as wealthy clientele were attracted to the health benefits of a wilderness stay. All of these lodges either burned down or were abandoned, and unfortunately none exist today.  However, a decade later in 1914, two new lodges were built at Barnes Point, the Lake Crescent Tavern (now the Lake Crescent Lodge) and Rosemary Inn (now a retreat center) and both of these are beautifully preserved today.

2. Stay in the cottages next door to the lodge (summer & winter weekends).

There are two sets of cottages adjacent to the Lake Crescent Lodge, each with 1 or 2 bedrooms, and perfect for families (make a reservation). All cottages are available to rent during summer months, and on winter weekends, however the main lodge and restaurant is closed during winter.

The cosy Roosevelt Fireplace Cottages are extremely popular. They were constructed in 1915, and are full of charm, with rustic interiors and stone fireplaces. The Singer Tavern Cottages (pictured) have more contemporary interiors, but a similar footprint to the original 1915 cottages.

3. Enjoy a beach day with the kids.

Bring some beach toys, and play on the pebbly shore of Lake Crescent, just steps from the lodge. The water is often below 50 degrees, so too chilly for swimming, and there are no lifeguards, but kids seem to find plenty of other things to do.

4. Relax on the beach or pier with a glass of wine.

The Lake Crescent Lodge has plenty of adirondack chairs for guests, scattered about the beach and pier.  Bring a good book or a glass of wine, and bask in the solitude of this incredible wilderness. Look directly across the lake up at Pyramid Mountain (3,089 feet), the site of a former WWII lookout.

Sunbathe on the beach, while surrounded by forests of giant fir and hemlock trees, that extend all the way to the water's edge.

5. Rent a kayak, paddleboard, or canoe.

Rent a kayak, canoe or paddleboard at the Lake Crescent Lodge, but don't forget to wear your lifejacket. When out floating on the lake in a kayak or canoe, dangle a fishing line into the pristine waters to hook a famous Beardslee rainbow trout.  Check hourly, 1/2 day and full day rental rates.

6. See stunning Marymere Falls.

The trailhead to Marymere Falls starts at the Storm King Ranger Station, a 10 minute walk east of the Lake Crescent Lodge. From here it's a 1.5 mile roundtrip to see Marymere Falls. The trail passes through old growth forest, across a footbridge, and then makes a final, steeper ascent up to 90-foot Marymere Falls.

7. Take a waterfront stroll along the Moments in Time trail.

The Moments in Time trailhead can be accessed from the Lake Crescent Lodge, and is an easier 0.8 mile walk through the woods, with glorious lakefront views.  

8. Book a boat tour of Lake Crescent (1.5 hours).

Purchase a ticket at the front desk of the Lake Crescent Lodge, for a 1.5 hour boat tour departing from the lodge's dock (check rates & schedule, summer only).

The boat tour covers off fascinating stories about the Phantom Forest and Spruce Railroad Tunnels on Lake Crescent, and the history and geology of the lake. This 10-mile wide, crescent shaped lake is glacially carved, and is up to 600 feet deep in sections. The lake is hemmed in by giant mountains like Aurora Peak on the south (4,750 feet), Mountain Storm King (4,534 feet) on the east and Pyramid Mountain (3,089 feet) on the north, with the deeply wooded foreshore rising dramatically to meet these mountains. 

9. Book a guided kayak trip (2 hours).

If you're feeling a little more adventurous, book a 2 hour guided tour of Lake Crescent by kayak, also departing from the Lake Crescent Lodge in summer. Check rates & schedule.

10. Hike to Punchbowl Pool along the Spruce Railroad Trail.

Seasoned hikers can walk the 5-mile Spruce Railroad Trail along Lake Crescent's north shore, following the former route of the Port Angeles Western Railroad line. The exterior of two vintage railroad tunnels is visible along the trail, but closed to the public. This railroad line was constructed during WWI to transport much needed lumber to mills and aircraft factories. The Pacific Northwest's forests were a rich source of Sitka Spruce, ideal for constructing biplanes used by the Allied Forces to defeat Germany. It's estimated over 22,000 biplanes were built using this lumber between 1917 to 1918, used by the US, UK, France and Italy.

The main highlight along the Spruce Railroad Trail is the pedestrian bridge across the stunning Punchbowl Pool. You can also stroll down to the waterfront at numerous access points, hike along forty foot cliffs, and experience breathtaking views of Mount Storm King (4,500 feet).

Best attractions at the Olympic National Park 

See the Top 10 Attractions at the Olympic National Park, including Lake Crescent.

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