Devil’s Punchbowl via Spruce Railroad Trail
Devil’s Punchbowl via Spruce Railroad Trail

Devil’s Punchbowl via Spruce Railroad Trail

Olympic National Park
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Devil’s Punchbowl via Spruce Railroad Trail

Devil’s Punchbowl via Spruce Railroad Trail

Distance: 2.4mi
Elevation: 144ft
Time: 1h

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The hike on Spruce Railroad Trail to the Devil’s Punchbowl is a wonderful trip, and at under 2.5mi with only minimal elevation gain, it’s family-friendly. This hike follows part of the expansive Olympic Discovery Trail, a bike and hike route across the northern Olympic Peninsula. While this guide covers a short portion of the route, you can hike up to 10 miles on this part of the Olympic Discovery Trail, skirting around the shores of Lake Crescent. Devil’s Punchbowl is a gorgeous pool tucked next to a bridge on this trail.

This hike is pleasant year-round, but it’s our favorite in the summertime when Lake Crescent is illuminated by the sunlight.

Devil’s Punchbowl via Spruce Railroad Trail Map

Getting there

The trailhead for the Devil’s Punchbowl hike via Spruce Railroad Trail is on E Beach Road prior to the road’s end.

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Out and back

Devil’s Punchbowl via Spruce Railroad Trail
Elevation Graph

Devil’s Punchbowl via Spruce Railroad Trail Description

Devil’s Punchbowl is a gorgeous pool of water tucked beside a bridge on Lake Crescent. The hike to it on Spruce Railroad Trail is a great family adventure, with a very easy path meandering alongside the shore of this wide blue lake. It’s a very easy hike, but it can also be extended quite far on the same trail if you want to add some distance to your day.

You can enjoy this hike year-round, and we love seeing the different character of Lake Crescent in different months and different weather.

You’ll be hiking on a paved path with great, even footing the entire way.

The hike begins in an old orchard of maple trees dressed in green moss. Walk through the orchard and then head to the old railroad path that winds alongside the lakeshore. This railroad was previously used to haul Sitka spruce trees from the forest. You can probably see where the trail got its name from!

The lumber was originally destined to be used in the manufacture of aircraft in World War I. The logs instead ended up being used for commercial logging for four decades. When its logging days were done, the National Park Service stepped in to repurpose the area, creating the hiking trail you’re on.

As you hike through towering maple, Sitka spruce, hemlock, and many other kinds of tree, enjoy the sound of the lake nearby. Take your time on this beautiful stretch.

You’ll be both near the shore and higher up from the water on this route, so feel free to dip down to the water where beach access is possible. When you’re further above the shore, enjoy the vantage point you’ll have across the water.

One mile from the trailhead, a bridge reaches over a section of the lake. The Devil’s Punchbowl is on the right here. It’s a beautiful calm pool of deep blue, the perfect place to grab a few photos.

While this is the objective of this route, you can certainly keep hiking alongside the lake on the same trail. Just turn back whenever you’re ready and retrace your steps to the trailhead.

Trail Highlights

Devil’s Punchbowl

This section of the wide, deep Lake Crescent is separated from the rest of the lake by a bridge. The water is deep aqua and very calm because of its sheltered position. Accessible after only a mile of hiking, it’s a fabulous photo spot and the perfect place to enjoy some tranquillity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you swim in Devil’s Punchbowl?

Yes, you can swim in Devil’s Punchbowl. Expect a very refreshing dip!

Why is Lake Crescent so blue?

The lake gets its stunning blue hue from a lack of nitrogen in the water, which inhibits the growth of algae.

How deep is Devil’s Punchbowl?

The punchbowl is rumoured to be about 1000ft deep, but this isn’t verified.

Insider Hints

  • There is cliff jumping available near the punchbowl for thrill-seekers.

  • There is no pass or permit required for this trail.

  • If you plan to swim, bring lots of warm clothes for the hike back.



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