Lake Crescent Guide: Devil’s Punch Bowl, a Cave, and more!

Visiting the stunningly beautiful Lake Crescent this year? Then you are going to want to know all the things you can do while visiting this gorgeous lake in the Olympic national park which is one of the best things you can do in Washington! Along with the best campsites, lodging and dining places that you can try while exploring this hidden gem in washington. What we love most about Lake Crescent is while it’s absolutely gorgeous and has a ton of things to do in the area is that it’s not as crowded as some touristy areas in Washington.

This is such a relief, especially when the whole point of unwinding with nature is to relax and experience it without any worries, like fighting over parking. Although we will mention, it can get a little busy on weekends, but not nearly as terrible as some hikes and lakes in Washington.

So continue on reading because we got lots to cover, like where you’re going to snap a fantastic selfie or trek into a spooky cave.

Lake Crescent view

Why Visit Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park?

For starters, Lake Crescent is gorgeous and should be on everyone’s Washington Must-See bucket list! With crystal blue and clear waters, followed by breathtaking views of the Olympic national forest, it’s a no brainer why anyone would take the time to explore the hidden forest and serene lake that call this place home.

We actually visited this place fairly recently, and wow were we amazed by the sheer beauty of the water. I kid you not I think we took like 100 photos of different angles of the lake because we were so memorized by it.

If only it had been warm enough to swim. Although we did see a good amount of people swimming, we stuck one toe in and were like nope!

Lake Crescent Devils Punch bowl Bridge

History of Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent has an interesting history; there’s an old legend from the Native Americans that says Lake Crescent was formed when the giant stone mountain cannibal, the giant Seatco, grew angry at the ongoing battles and destruction that were taking place beneath its grounds between the S’klallam and the Quileute tribe.

The stone mountain ended the multiple-day battle by creating a disastrous landslide that would bury the fighting tribes and thus began the second-largest lake in Washington, now known as Lake Crescent.

The Spooky Past of lake Crescent: The Lady of the Lake

The chilling story of the Lady in the Lake took place on a tranquil lake with an unusual case of soap. This tragic story was based on the actual disappearance and end of Hallie Latham Illingworth back in 1937.

In 1940, our chilling story unfolds when a floating body suddenly emerged from the depths of Lake Crescent. The woman was bound in layers of blankets, and when the layers had been removed, they revealed an indistinguishable face and a waxy-like substance in place of skin. Scientists and doctors say this was the result of a chemical reaction with the salt and minerals and coldness from the depths of the lake.

*To learn more about the tragic story of Hallie and how she became the Lady of the Lake, you can read about it here.

Why is Lake Crescent such a brilliant blue color?

Lake Crescent is a brilliant blue color that is especially beautiful during the summer months, when it reflects the green foliage of its surroundings. The water is insanely clear, and you can see the rocks and pebbles beneath for several feet.

How Deep Is Lake Crescent?

Lake Crescent has been stated to be around 624 feet deep, making it the second-deepest lake in Washington. Being surpassed by Lake Chelan, which boasts an impressive 1486 feet deep!

How to get to Lake Crescent from Seattle

Trip Duration: 3 hours – 3.5 hours

Trip Mileage from Seattle: 126 miles to 152 miles depending on route taken

Getting to Lake Crescent from Seattle is around a 3-hour drive; the scenic route takes you through popular cities such as cute little Poulsbo; a Norwegian-style town, Discovery Bay a fisherman’s dream, Sequim; a bustling city nestled near Sequim Bay, and Port Angeles a coastal town full of a little of everything.

Where to park at Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent is a fantastic road trip from Seattle and it’s now one of our favorites! It is nestled in the Olympic Mountains, and there are several spots along the lake where you can park near the highway. There are also different parking areas you can park at, such as trail spots. We personally parked at Spruce Railroad TrailHead because we wanted to do the hike and visit Devils Punch Bowl.

Lake Crescent Spruce Railroad Trail

Do you need a park Pass for Lake Crescent?

Lake Crescent is located in a National Forest, so an American the Beautiful pass would be required, or an Olympic National Park Annual Pass or an Entrance Fee.

What to bring to Lake Crescent

  • Change of clothes and shoes
  • Swimwear
  • Towel
  • Water shoes
  • Sunblock and sunprotection
  • water bottle
  • Lifestraw
  • Beach Blanket
  • Beach Umbrella for shade
  • Floaty
  • Life jackets
  • Flashlight and safety gear
When you're done visiting Lake Crescent, hop on over the some of the best coastal beaches in Washington! You'll see beauties like La Push Beach and pass through Forks.

Then you can stop by Ruby beach which has a hidden beach cove.

After all that, end your road trip with a stunning view of the ticking clock known as the Tree of Life in Kalaloch Beach. 

Best photo spots at Lake Crescent

*Don’t do anything dangerous, like hanging off a cliff or too close to the edge for a selfie. It’s dumb and dangerous!

There are a ton of Instagrammable photo-worthy spots around Crescent lake! These are our three personal favorite must-do spots for photos!

Devils Punchbowl

Devils Punch Bowl

This is a trendy spot for photos because the bridge near the devil’s punch Bowl overlooks Lake Crescent. Making it an iconic photo shoot!

We recommend visiting during sunrise or sunset for the best photo lighting. However, the trail will seem empty until you enter this area, where people like to relax and take photos.

So visiting early is especially important during the weekends when its at peak crowds. Trust us, It was a busy area, especially compared to the rest of the hike.

Spruce RailRoad Trail Miners Cave

The Spruce Railroad Miners Cave is stunning and definitely worth the small hike it takes to get there from the trailhead. The cave is very wet, and it’s expected to have water drip on you or step in a random puddle, so be careful when walking through it as it’s not lit.

The only light you will have is the cave entrance and exit. We brought flashlights for this purpose just in case we needed them, and so glad we did because I almost tripped with my camera.

Anywho, you are looking for the photo spot at the Cave entry or entrance. Keep an eye out for bicyclists as you do your photoshoot! We almost saw an accident between a longboarder and a bicyclist but luckily they were able to avoid hitting each other!

Spruce Railroad Miners Cave

Lake Crescent

But of course, we are going to recommend a striking photo of the crystal blue waters of the lake!

It wouldn’t be a lake trip without a stunning photo showcasing its beauty to the world and your followers on Instagram and TikTok, would it?

The best spots to snap photos of the Lake will be near the water; we loved the view near the western part of Devil’s Punch Bowl, just a bit past it along the trail. The water is relatively shallow in this part as it’s at the bottom, so you can step into it if you want.

*Be Careful! Hiking can be dangerous, and walking on wet rocks or paths can cause an accident, so always practice good hiking safety and don’t lead the designated pathways. Also, wear a life jacket if you plan on swimming or participating in any water sports.

Lake Crescent Quick Guide

Lodges near Lake Crescent

  • Lake Crescent Lodge
  • Log Cabin Resort

Dining near Lake Crescent

  • Sunnyside Cafe
  • Granny Cafe
  • Lake Crescent Lodge

Camping at Lake Crescent

  • Fairholme Campground
  • Wandering Joy Campground
  • Camp David Jr
Lake Crescent Trail near Lake

13 Things to Do at Lake Crescent and Near It

  1. Devils Punch Bowl
  2. Go Swimming!
  3. Kayak
  4. Ride your bike through the trails
  5. Go Long Boarding around the lake
  6. Spruce Railroad Trail
  7. Olympic Discovery trail
  8. Marymere Falls
  9. Pyramid peak
  10. Mount Storm King
  11. Hurricane ridge
  12. Sol Duc Falls and hot springs
  13. La Peol

Lake Crescent FAQ

Can you swim in Lake Crescent?

Yes, you can swim in Lake Crescent, popular areas to swim are near lodges, heavily trafficked areas, and devil’s punch bowl.

What is special about Lake Crescent?

Lake Crescent is a beautiful lake; it’s not as heavily visited as other popular lakes, so it’s a wonderful experience to unwind.

What town is Lake Crescent near?

Lake Crescent is near Port Angeles, make sure to stop and grab food and water here before heading out to Lake Crescent.

How long does it take to drive around Lake Crescent?

Around 2 hours to make the drive around Lake Crescent.

Does Lake Crescent have leeches?

Most Lakes have leeches as it is a part of the ecosystem of lakes.

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