By Michele Olsen
Enjoy a scenic and historic hike or bike ride along the shores of Lake Crescent. The Spruce Railroad Trail is a good choice regardless of the weather, and dogs on a leash are welcome. See https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/spruce-railroad for directions to the trailhead off Hwy. 101 and East Beach Road.
There is very little elevation change on this trail, and you can easily travel five miles in each direction, if you’d like. Watch for the sign indicating the trail to Devil’s Punchbowl to hug the shore if you prefer the dirt trail instead of the paved trail. Bring your lunch and find a nice spot by the water to enjoy the views that seem more like a fjord than a lake! The trail is open year round.
Here are two hikes recommended by readers:
Red Flowering Currant on trail to Mt Zion today. Elevation 3740 ft. The only one we saw, it was growing in an open area close to the trail, unshaded by trees. Saw several trilliums, mostly white, one yellow, one purple. Several wild rhodies blooming near trailhead at 2950 ft elev. As we gained altitude there were fewer blooming rhodies, then some had large buds, buds decreasing in size as altitude increased until near the top, 4360 ft rhody buds were very small. Maybe a hike in July/August will have rhody blossoms near the top of Mt Zion.
Elbo Creek Trail #892.1 is a steep and shady 6 mile hike with rhododendron forest and numerous saprophytic plants. With long switch backs the elevation gain is 2,000 ft ascending Buck Mountain. It’s located 5 miles south of Quilcene on U.S. 101. I believe the photo is early growth of Pinesap (Monotropa hypopitys).