Spruce Railroad Trail

Fairholm, Washington

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This historic railroad grade with ruined tunnels offers children a level lakeshore walk, a swim, a chance to examine the entrances to two tunnels, and the opportunity to look down from a bridge into the Devil’s Punchbowl. On a hot day whole families have been known to jump into chilly Lake Crescent to cool off. Parents should tell kids that the Spruce Railroad was built by the U.S. government to carry out spruce for World War I airplane wings. The war ended before any spruce was carried, but the tracks did carry carloads of logs and workers on the Port Angeles Western Railroad along the lake’s north shore until the 1950s. Old-timers tell of crossties made of alder and maple, which quickly rotted (explaining the nickname “The P. A. Wobbly”), and of the sunken locomotive resting in one of the coves. Another legend has it that train employees ate fruit as they traveled, and where they tossed apple cores and cherry pits out the windows, fruit trees stand today.
Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades

by Joan Burton (The Mountaineers Books)

This historic railroad grade with ruined tunnels offers children a level lakeshore walk, a swim, a chance to examine the entrances to two tunnels, and the opportunity to look down from a bridge into the Devil’s Punchbowl. On a hot day whole families have been known to jump into chilly Lake Crescent to cool off. Parents should tell kids that the Spruce Railroad was built by the U.S. government to carry out spruce for World War I airplane wings.

The war ended before any spruce was carried, but the tracks did carry carloads of logs and workers on the Port Angeles Western Railroad along the lake’s north shore until the 1950s. Old-timers tell of crossties made of alder and maple, which quickly rotted (explaining the nickname “The P. A. Wobbly”), and of the sunken locomotive resting in one of the coves. Another legend has it that train employees ate fruit as they traveled, and where they tossed apple cores and cherry pits out the windows, fruit trees stand today.

©  Joan Burton/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Fairholm
Distance: 8.5
Elevation Gain: 50 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: Day hike
Season: Year round
Trailhead Elevation: 600 feet
Top Elevation: 650 feet
Local Contacts: Olympic National Park
Local Maps: Green Trails No. 101 Lake Crescent
Driving Directions: Directions to Spruce Railroad Trail

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Apr 2018