Why the lake is so crystal clear and blue
Visiting the crystal blue waters of Lake Crescent is worth a spot on everyone’s Olympic National Park’s to-do list. It’s a beautiful, 624 foot, glacially formed lake known for its crystal clear water and intense blue color. The lake owes its crystal-clear depths to its lack of phytoplankton, an algae-like plant that floats in lakes, due to low levels of nitrogen in the water.
Indian Legend on Lake Crescent’s Creation
There’s a fascinating Indian legend on the creation of Lake Crescent that’s supported by geological records. The tale tells us of a major fight between the Klallam and Quileute tribes. A nearby mountain spirit, angered by the senseless fighting, hurled a giant boulder down killing the warriors. This action caused a damming effect which in form created Lake Crescent. For many years tribal members did not visit the lake where their relatives were killed.
Geological records support this legend with evidence of a landslide from surrounding mountains that divided a once larger lake into two separate lakes. This isolation also created a genetically unique form of trout found nowhere else on earth.
Looking for an easy hike in Olympic National Park? Check out my post on the hike to Marymere Falls
The drive to Crescent Lake
At roughly 18 miles west of Port Angeles, the drive to Lake Crescent is a breezy one. The roads are windy through beautiful forest and you’ll catch glimpses of nearby mountains in the distance. There are several turnoff points where you can pull over, stretch your legs and enjoy the views of the lake. The lake is nearby several other Olympic National Park attractions such as the hike to Marymere Falls and Mount Storm King and Devils Punchbowl. Not far away is the Elwah River, Sol Duc Falls, and the Hoh Rainforest and coast are roughly 30 minutes to an hour’s drive away.
See more of Olympic National Park from our Epic 8-Day Pacific Northwest Trip
Things To Know Before You Go
– The lake is roughly 624 feet deep
– There are several trails nearby, but not around the entire lake as there are residences and the highway on either side.
-Nearby destinations include Marymere Falls, Devils Punchbowl, Sol Duc Falls, and more.
-National Park Fees may apply in some areas. We did not have to pay for where we explored.
Visit the park’s website for the most up to date details and weather alerts (visit page)
Have you been to Lake Crescent or plan to visit? Tell me about it below!