We left Salt Creek Recreation Area with a sad good-by to good friends and a wonderful campground and headed south on US 101 through Olympic National Park not really knowing where we going to spend the night. All we knew is that once again it was time to head home and check the gardens. We had such an enjoyable time reconnecting with our RVing friends and hated to end the time together.
As we headed south I researched possible campgrounds on my handy AllStays Camp and RV and found Hoh Oxbow Campground, a Washington Department of Natural Resources campground, that sounded like the perfect spot to spend the night.
We left Salt Creek and because we like shun-piking we decided to turn west on Hwy 112 (Strait of Juan de Fuca Highway) instead of going east to Hwy 101. Then we turned south on The Olympic Discovery Trail in Joyce and enjoyed the back country with curvy roads and moderates grades to East Beach Road on Lake Crescent.
It was a lovely drive and totally worth the slow driving required due to some uneven pavement and a few pot holes. The road is doable for larger rigs as long as you take it slow. After all that is the best way to enjoy shun-piking anyway.
Hwy 101 through Olympic National Park
The drive south on highway 101 took us by the stunning Lake Crescent for several miles. The views of the lake were spectacular and there were several pull-outs where you could read about the area. Lake Crescent is a deep lake located entirely within Olympic National Park in Washington. It is approximately 17 miles (27 km) west of Port Angeles, Washington on U.S. Route 101. It is officially the second deepest lake in Washington. Unofficial depth measurements of more than 1,000 feet have been recorded, but the official depth is 624 feet. Lake Crescent is known for its brilliant blue waters and exceptional clarity, caused by a lack of nitrogen in the water which inhibits the growth of algae.
There are hiking trails around Lake Crescent. Some of them climb the surrounding mountains, and others explore the lowland forests and creeks. The hike to Marymere Falls by way of the Barnes Creek trail, is a favorite, as is the Spruce Railroad trail that runs along the north shore.
There are plenty of picnic areas around the lake and one campground.
Lake Crescent is a divided lake. On the right is Mount Storm King which according to Indian legend became angry because the Quileute and Klallam people were killing each other in battle. Hurling part of his crest down in the valley. Storm King killed all of the combatants and at the same time dammed the stream with the great rock, forming the present lake.
The legend corresponds closely with geological evidence. The lake was formed when glaciers carved out deep valleys during the last Ice Age. Initially, the Lake Crescent valley drained into the Indian Creek valley and then into Elwha River. Anadromous fish such as steelhead and coastal cutthroat trout migrated into the valley from lower waters.
We headed south on US 101 thru Forks (no werewolves or vampires in sight), but the town was gearing up for the 9th annual Stephenie Meyer Day / Bella’s Birthday Weekend celebration on September 10 – 13, 2015.
We decided not to stay for the crowds and continued south to Hoh Oxbow Campground. We did stop at the Forks Outfitters to purchase our Washington Discovery Pass for our stay in Hoh Oxbow.