Where should I go boating in Olympic National Park?
This magnificent, crystal clear lake is one of the deepest in the state and one of the largest on the peninsula. And at 8.5 miles long, there’s plenty of room to scoot around the water and admire the scenery
- Location: Drive about a half-hour west of Port Angeles on Highway 101 to the entrance road for the Lake Crescent Lodge.
- Seasons: This is an extremely cold lake but you can certainly boat here for a good portion of the year. Late spring, summer, and early fall, however, are the most comfortable times of the year to be out on Lake Crescent.
- Marina/Boat Launch: There are several boat ramps at Lake Crescent. Once you enter the road to the lodge, simply follow the signs.
- Boat Restrictions: Both power boats and sailboats are welcome on most of the lake. However, the west end is for swimming only.
- Camping: Camping is available at the far west end of the lake in Fairholm. Here you’ll find 88 sites (including pull-ins), restrooms, fire grates, and picnic facilities. Reservations are a must in summertime.
This 4,000-acre lake and reservoir at the north fork of the Skokomish River is crystal clear and surrounded by stately hemlocks, firs, and cedars, a stunning setting for anyone who enjoys boating. Good wildlife viewing, too!
- Location: Lake Cushman is on WA Highway 119, just west of the town of Hoodsport and about 7 miles off Highway 101.
- Seasons: The lake is open year-round. Fishermen are out there regardless of the season but most pleasure boaters stick to the warmer months.
- Marina/Boat Launch: There are three public boat launches at Camp Cushman (formerly Lake Cushman State Park). A fee is charged for their use.
- Boat Restrictions: All kinds of vessels are permitted
- Camping: Camp Cushman used to provide camping facilities but the land there has recently been turned over to the Skokomish tribe and it is currently closed to camping. There is talk that it will open again in the future.
Strait of Juan de Fuca
The waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca are an excellent place for some adventuresome boating. However, the waters can be quite rough – even in the summer – so factors like wind and currents should always be considered and boating experience is definitely necessary.
You can cross the Strait and head to the San Juan Islands or towards Victoria, but this trip tends to be challenging, no matter which route you take. If you prefer a mild trip, you can simply stay close to the shore in the Sequim/Port Angeles area for a less eventful excursion.
The beautiful waters of Sequim Bay are calm and boating is excellent there. The bay is technically on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, but you won’t encounter the wind and currents that you’ll find when you’re out in the middle of the strait. Sequim Bay is about 2 miles long and a mile wide and the scenery around it is lovely.
- Marina/Boat Launch: A ramp is located at John Wayne Marina, just outside of downtown Sequim. There is also a ramp at Sequim Bay State Park, 3 miles southwest of town on the way to Port Angeles.
- Directions: Both launch locations are literally right off Highway 101. Simply follow the signs.
Are there any boat tours within Olympic National Park?
At Lake Quinault, you can grab a lake tour that originates at the National Park lodge. Tours are available in the summer only and generally depart three times per day – morning, late afternoon, and at sunset. They last about 90 minutes.