One of Olympic National Park’s most popular trails, the Spruce Railroad Trail, will be closed until fall of 2020. As one of the only dog and bike friendly trails in Olympic National Park, the popular path along the beautiful shoreline of Lake Crescent is seeing some much needed TLC. From early March until November, the five mile route will be closed to all visitors. Here is what you need to know, according to Olympic National Park officials:
The Spruce Railroad Trail follows the historic railroad grade of the Spruce Railroad, built in 1918 and abandoned in 1951. When the project is completed in fall 2020 it will become a signature piece of the 134-mile long Olympic Discovery Trail that will eventually connect Port Townsend to La Push—Puget Sound to the Pacific Ocean.
The Spruce Railroad Trail improvements are part of a multi-year collaborative project to establish the entire 10-mile length of the trail as a 12′-wide universally accessible, multipurpose trail to be shared by hikers, bicyclists, equestrians, and people traveling in wheelchairs. Restoration of the 450-foot long McFee Tunnel was completed in summer 2017. Previous contracts also included bank stabilization, culvert installation, and demolition and removal of a park-owned structure to allow for construction of a new 33-car parking lot at the Lyre River Trailhead with additional parking for oversized vehicles and a horse trailer turn-around.
During construction, East Beach Road will be closed to the public at the intersection with Joyce-Piedmont Road. Camp David Jr. Road will be closed to the public beyond the North Shore Picnic Area. Devil’s Punchbowl will only be accessible by boat until this final phase is complete. The westbound portion of the Olympic Discovery Trail and Pyramid Peak Trail will remain accessible from the North Shore Picnic Area on Camp David Jr. Road.
We understand visitors will miss getting out on the trail while it is under construction and we look forward to its reopening and the creation of nearly ten miles of universally accessible trail. This would not have been possible without the continued collaboration with Clallam County and the Federal Highway Administration.
~Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum
The closure of this trail will limit some of the summer found found in Olympic. Along the trail is the extremely popular Devil Punchbowl Bridge, a popular spot for pictures, cliff jumping and swimming in the cold, clear waters of Lake Crescent. The trail is also one of the longest trails for dog owners in Olympic National Park to hike and is also one of the few places where bikes are allowed on a trail. While this may impact your visit to the park this summer, the repairs will make this area even more accessible and wonderful to all, so stay patient. When completed, this will be part of a 134 mile Olympic Discovery biking and hiking trail that spans from Port Townsend to LaPush, showcasing the beauty of the northern Olympic Peninsula. During this construction through fall of 2020 on the Spruce Railroad Trail, the rest of the trails in the Lake Crescent region will be open.
For more hiking ideas in the Lake Crescent region and around the entire Olympic Peninsula, consider picking up my 52 Hikes Olympic Peninsula guidebook. The 52 hikes listed are my favorites in the region, sure to capture your heart with wilderness beauty and awesome adventures. There are even a few hidden gems in here, so check it out! Ebooks and paper copies are available now!
Discover a Hike a Week through Doug Scott’s Olympic National Park Area Guidebook