One of the most dramatic sights at Olympic National Park is watching the sun set over Lake Crescent. It’s the perfect way to wind down your day before returning to Domaine Madeleine Bed and Breakfast to settle in for a good night’s sleep before heading out to explore more of the park.
One of my favorite itineraries is to start out from the inn after luxuriating over a gourmet breakfast of crab cakes, fresh fruit, Crepe Suzette, and more. From there, you head out to Sol Duc Falls and hike the trail to the falls. Afterwards, head back along Sol Duc Hot Springs Rd. until you arrive at Ancient Groves. This short loop trail gives you an amazing feeling of peace and solitude as you marvel at the towering old growth temperate rain forest trees.
From there, drive back along the river until you get to the Salmon Cascades–in October the perfect place to see salmon making their way upstream to spawn. Be sure to explore the area just downstream (off the trail) from the viewing platform for the best hidden views of the cascades.
Depending on the time, as you head to Lake Crescent Lodge, stop at La Poel–a hidden gem that has to be experienced first hand. Once you get to the lodge, enjoy the restaurant (hint: grab a table on the screened patio). The brie and fruit plate is amazing but be sure to save room for a slice of peanut butter pie. While you soak in the historic lodge (built in 1917), you can sip on a local red wine from Harbinger or Camaraderie wineries and watch the sun set across the lake, turning the sky and surrounding mountains burnt orange, fuscia, and lavender.
If you arrive at the lake early enough and still have the energy to explore, be sure to rent a kayak or boat from the lodge and head out onto the lake to enjoy an even more dramatic sunset.
Then end your day back at the inn, finishing off that bottle of wine while you toast your feet by the crackling fire and listen to the sounds of the ocean as you lull to sleep swaddled in the comfort of the softest sheets you’ve ever experienced.
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