- Get a glimpse at some local history as you walk an old railbed that once carried logging trains to Seattle
- Family-friendly and suitable for young hikers
- An excellent place to enjoy a summer picnic and swim
- Have fun exploring old railroad tunnels!
- Accessible all year long
Why should I hike the Spruce Railroad Trail?
Immerse yourself in a little history as you hike the railbed for the old Port Angeles Western Railroad, which was built to transport spruce lumber from the Olympic Peninsula to the aircraft industry during WWI. However, because it was completed in 1919, it was a little too late. But it did continue to serve the logging industry in the area.
Nonetheless, the railbed has become quite a popular trail because it’s suitable for all ages and can be hiked easily by novices. It’s a pleasant forest walk that has two tunnels that the kids will love. Inside the first, which goes all the way through, you’ll find old railroad timbers and other artifacts that indicate its former life. The other can be explored too but doesn’t cut all the way through and is quite dark.
The real pièce de résistance on the Spruce Railroad Trail, however, is Devil’s Point and the Devil’s Punchbowl, a small enclosed bay. Here you’ll find an iron and wood bridge that spans the inlet and a number of cliffs on the south side of the cove which – on nice days – entice crazy folk to jump from them into the water. Swimmers also jump off the bridge. Remember, however, that the water here is said to be as much as 300 feet deep, so be especially careful.
The trail is accessible all year long but tends to get a little busy in the summer. If you choose to hike in the winter, since it’s at low elevation you shouldn’t be hindered by snow and you’ll be treated to a lovely, peaceful walk along Lake Crescent with few others on the trail.
Where is the trailhead?
From Port Angeles, take Highway 101 west to mile marker 232 and turn right onto East Beach Road. Follow it for 3.2 miles, just past the Log Cabin Resort, and look for the sign for the Spruce Railroad Trail. Turn left and travel one mile to the parking area.
What can I expect?
- Distance: 4 miles
- Average Time: 2 hours, more if you stop for a picnic and a swim
- Elevation Gain: minimal
- Difficulty: easy
- Trail Type: out-and-back
Any suggestions on planning and preparing for this trail?
If you’re hiking the Spruce Railroad Trail during the warm months, bring your bathing suit and perhaps a picnic lunch. There are a few picnic tables along the way where you can settle in and enjoy a meal.
Be aware that the south-facing slopes of Lake Crescent are one of just a few places on the Olympic Peninsula where something poisonous grows. In this case, it’s poison oak. So try to stay out of the vegetation and remember the old adage: “Leaves of three, let it be.”