Pacific Northwest - Day 3 - Olympic Natl. Park - Sol Duc, Lake Cresent

Olympic National Park Travel Blog

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Along the trail to the falls

Today we had two different sections of the Great Olympic National Park on our menu.

1) Sol Duc Valley
See it here on the map. Sol Duc is a 126-km (78-mile) long river in the park. The name should not be pronounced like in French, which I tend to do, but like Sole Duck. The section around the river is most famous for its hot springs. We had planned these as a plan B if the weather would be unpleasant. But, to our pleasant surprise the weather was just great! So we stuck to our plan A being visiting the Sol Duc Falls.

Lake Cresent, and at the horizon Canada, seen from the steep rock scramble
A short hike through more temperate rain forest brought us to the beautiful falls. Sol Duc Falls are just 15 meters (48 feet) high and flow in two drops. The first drop of 11 meters (37 ft) is the most spectacular one. The falls flow sidewards and split in 4 parallel streams.

2) Lake Cresent
See it here on the map. Lake Cresent is 15-km (9-mile) long lake in the northern section of the park. It is in a valley that was once shaped by a glacier. This makes the lake very deep. Official measurements indicated 190 meters (624 feet), unofficial measurements go as far as 300 meters (900 ft). The lake's water is very low on nitrogen which makes it difficult for plants and algae to grow, making the water incredibly clear and deep blue.

Lake Cresent

Today we would make our first substantial hike. A very substantial hike as we later learnt, the hike to Mount Storm King, a mountain next to the lake. For me the second Storm King to hike. I had climbed (the much lower (410 meters)) Storm King Mountain in New York several times. The Storm King in Olympic is way higher (1372+ meters (4500+ ft)). A trail is maintained for the first 3.1 kilometers (1.9 miles) to an altitude of about 700 meters (2300 ft), after that it is rock scrambling. That first part is already quite a work-out. One ascends about 400 meters in 2.5 kilometers (1300 ft in 1.5 mile). The rock scramble initially looked easy but was pretty tricky, with steeps abysses. At some point the rocks became very steep. Fortunately someone had installed climb ropes that provided the needed support. We reached an elevation of about 775 meters (2550 ft) and then decided to return. The views were magnificent. We could see as far as Vancouver Island Canada, which is a small 100 kilometers to the north.

More pictures below!

alyssa_ob says:
Wonderful photos! I think I need to add an extra day to my Olympic Park visit!
Posted on: Mar 03, 2015
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Along the trail to the falls
Along the trail to the falls
Lake Cresent, and at the horizon C…
Lake Cresent, and at the horizon …
Lake Cresent
Lake Cresent
Sol Duc River
Sol Duc River
Trees growing on trees
Trees growing on trees
A nursery log
A nursery log
Along the trail to the falls
Along the trail to the falls
Sol Duc Falls
Sol Duc Falls
At Sol Duc Falls
At Sol Duc Falls
Lake Cresent
Lake Cresent
Trail to Storm King
Trail to Storm King
Trail to Storm King
Trail to Storm King
Strange trees that look like made …
Strange trees that look like made…
Lake Cresent, and at the horizon C…
Lake Cresent, and at the horizon …
Lake Cresent, and at the horizon C…
Lake Cresent, and at the horizon …
View from Storm King Trail
View from Storm King Trail
Your reporter descending using the…
Your reporter descending using th…
Lake Cresent, and at the horizon C…
Lake Cresent, and at the horizon …
Stephan descending the steep rock …
Stephan descending the steep rock…
Storm King Trail
Storm King Trail
Trail to Marymere Falls
Trail to Marymere Falls
Near Marymere Falls
Near Marymere Falls
Trail to Marymere Falls
Trail to Marymere Falls
Marymere Falls
Marymere Falls
Lake Cresent
Lake Cresent
Lake Cresent
Lake Cresent
Lake Cresent
Lake Cresent
Lake Cresent
Lake Cresent
Height Profile of the (partial) as…
Height Profile of the (partial) a…
GPS Profile of the (partial) ascen…
GPS Profile of the (partial) asce…
Sol Duc Falls in action
Olympic National Park
photo by: mucqui