Olympic National Park, Washington

Photo: Adbar [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D
A cup of coffee sounds good right now. So does a mushroom omelet with Tillamook smoked cheddar cheese. Or marionberry pancakes with mascarpone. Your stomach is growling just thinking about breakfast. The rest of you doesn’t want to move, though. It’s rare to feel like you have Lake Crescent all to yourself.

At the moment, that’s exactly what it feels like. There aren’t any boats or kayaks on the water. You don’t see any hikers or paddleboarders either. The brilliant blue water is free of ripples. A couple of Beardslee trout hover just below the surface. A lone harlequin duck swims silently along the rocky coastline. While you’ve claimed a weathered Adirondack chair as your own. No wonder you don’t want to move.

Lake Crescent lies on the northern edge of Olympic National Park. The lake was formed when glaciers carved deep valleys into what is now Northwest Washington during the last Ice Age. It’s the second-deepest lake in the state. It’s known for its extraordinarily clear water (a lack of nitrogen prevents algae growth). Plus it’s home to one of the oldest lodges in the national park.

Photo: Olympic National Park & Forest

Lake Crescent Lodge sits on Barnes Point on the south shore of the lake. The flat area, at the foot of Mount Storm King, was first used as a homestead in the 1890s. Singer’s Tavern, a small hotel, followed in 1915. The timber tavern is now the lodge’s main building. It has a lobby with a stone fireplace, a lakefront dining room, and a sun-drenched porch. Some rooms, the historic ones, are on the second floor. Others are in a separate, more contemporary building. Private cottages are available, too.

The accommodations aren’t why anyone stays at the lodge, though. Everyone comes for the direct lake access. You took a boat tour, more for the views than the geology lesson, when you first arrived. Hikes to Marymere Falls and Mount Storm King followed each morning. Afternoons were reserved for watersports on the lake. You returned to the lawn for hors d’oeuvres and glasses of Yakima Valley wine before dinner. Then you feasted on local seafood—Northwest seafood chowder, halibut basted in brown butter, seared wild salmon—as the sun began to set over the lake. You found your spot in Olympic National Park.

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