Spruce Railroad Trail

Sappho, Washington

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This trail offers a gentle stroll along the north shore of Lake Crescent, making a point-to-point hike that is discussed here from east to west. It follows an old railbed that was built during World War I to transport Sitka spruce from the then-inaccessible western part of the peninsula to the aircraft factories. Sitka spruce has a superior ratio of strength to weight, and was therefore coveted for the making of biplane airframes. The railroad was completed in a remarkable time of only six weeks, but the war was over before the first logs rolled eastward on the rails. The railway was active through the 1950s, when it was abandoned and subsequently turned into a trail. It is one of the only trails in Olympic National Park where mountain bikes are permitted. The trail begins by running inland from North Shore Road, climbing gently to reach the old railroad grade. As the railbed runs southward, it passes through a mixed forest of red alder and Douglas fi r, skirting inland to avoid private residences along the lakeshore. It then descends to the shoreline, although dense trees screen out views of the water.
Hiking Olympic National Park

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Hiking Olympic National Park

by Erik Molvar (Falcon Guides)

This trail offers a gentle stroll along the north shore of Lake Crescent, making a point-to-point hike that is discussed here from east to west. It follows an old railbed that was built during World War I to transport Sitka spruce from the then-inaccessible western part of the peninsula to the aircraft factories. Sitka spruce has a superior ratio of strength to weight, and was therefore coveted for the making of biplane airframes. The railroad was completed in a remarkable time of only six weeks, but the war was over before the first logs rolled eastward on the rails. The railway was active through the 1950s, when it was abandoned and subsequently turned into a trail. It is one of the only trails in Olympic National Park where mountain bikes are permitted.

The trail begins by running inland from North Shore Road, climbing gently to reach the old railroad grade. As the railbed runs southward, it passes through a mixed forest of red alder and Douglas fi r, skirting inland to avoid private residences along the lakeshore. It then descends to the shoreline, although dense trees screen out views of the water.

© 2015 Erik Molvar/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking, Mountain Biking
Nearby City: Sappho
Distance: 4
Elevation Gain: 260 feet
Trail Type: Shuttle
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: 2 hours
Season: Year-round
Trailhead Elevation: 600 feet
Top Elevation: 700 feet
Local Contacts: Olympic National Park, permit required for backcountry camping
Local Maps: USGS Lake Crescent; Custom Correct Lake Crescent-Happy Ridge
Driving Directions: Directions to Spruce Railroad Trail

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Apr 2018