In my personal opinion, the Devil’s Punchbowl in Lake Crescent is one of the most scenic hikes and sights I’ve seen, not just in the lake but the Pacific Northwest area overall.
Getting to Devils Punchbowl is actually pretty easy but there are some people who may easily miss the trail marker or that don’t even know this place exists (myself included as I passed it several times), and this post is meant isn’t just going to show you how to hike to it, but also what to expect exploring the greater areas around it (because there is much more to see and do around Devils Punch bowl).
Quick info on Devil’s Punchbowl in Lake Crescent:
- Name: Devils Punchbowl.
- Location: Lake Crescent Washington.
- Hiking distance: About 1 mile to reach it.
- Difficulty: Easy.
- Rating: 5 out of 5.
- Recommended hike? Yes.
It’s not really a hike but a walk to a beautiful Devils Punchbowl with a bridge crossing it and amazing views of Lake Crescent.
The water is very clear green or blue depending on when you visit and you will be able to swim there too.
1) A map on how to get to Devil’s Punchbowl (starting out):
The first thing you will need to do is drive to a place called Spruce Railroad trail. This is the starting trail to reach Devil’s Punchbowl.
There will be a parking lot (with bathrooms) at Spruce Railroad trailhead and you will also notice a road East Beach Road, but you can’t drive it since it’s private. Just park your car at Spruce Railroad trail, and to the right of the private road will be a path to walk on. This is the trail you will want to take.
2) Walk on the Spruce Railroad Trail until you reach a tunnel:
As you walk on the Spruce Railroad trail, you will cross some nice sights including waterfalls, some nice views of Lake Crescent and it will continue for about half a mile until you reach a large tunnel.
Right by that tunnel will be a sign saying that the Devil’s Punchbowl trail is to your left, meaning you will not enter the tunnel (Spruce Railroad Trail). Instead you will turn left and continue on a more traditional trail for about another 1/4 mile until you reach Devil’s Punchbowl.
If you are interested in seeing that tunnel further, don’t worry as you’ll get that chance on your way back to the parking lot.
3) Once you reach Devil’s Punchbowl, you’ll be able to do many things:
The first is obviously take pictures. This place is amazing for that as you get amazing views of the lake and the Devil’s Punchbowl.
Second, you will be able to swim in this area too. I have heard of people cliff diving here, but I would skip that as the water (although extremely beautiful) may still have rocks underneath some areas so swimming might be the best thing to do here (skip cliff diving for safety).
I would also recommend you go to Devil’s Punchbowl early. I went here in early February and while the water was very cold, there weren’t any people there. If you want to see this place during warmer times and better weather, then you’d want to come here during spring or summer (but you will have a lot more people there too).
4) Finishing up your visit to Devil’s Punchbowl (5 places to explore after):
This is where most people who find Devil’s Punchbowl may be unaware that there are many more things to see:
1) For starters, Devil’s Punchbowl is a side trail to the main one (Spruce Railroad Trail) and once you finish at the punchbowl, you can actually continue on the trail which will meet up with the Spruce Railroad trail shortly after, and it will also take you to the other end of that giant tunnel you saw earlier.
2) From there you will be able to either go back through the tunnel and back to the parking lot.
3) You can also elect to continue walking on the Spruce Railroad trail which goes on for many more miles and it’s honestly better to bike it as many people do. But that trail continues until you reach a fork where it ends and the Olympic Discovery Trail begins.
On that fork there is another amazing hike called Pyramid Peak Trail which you can take to amazing overlooks of Lake Crescent. I would bring a map or an online one like Alltrails for this area just in case.
4) If you choose to follow the Olympic Discovery Trail, that will also continue west for many more miles past Lake Crescent (it doesn’t loop).
5) Additionally, you can also explore other parts of Olympic National Park, including Marymere Falls or Sol Duc Falls (which the Olympic Discovery Trail does intersect with, but I’d recommend driving to either waterfall instead as the trails themselves will be much shorter.
My advice is to walk back through the tunnel, back to your car and drive to the other places. It’s just more convenient. Overall, this is one of the nicest places on the Washington Coast I have seen and I highly recommend you visit this spot if you’re in Lake Crescent.
Do you need hiking gear to get to Lake Crescent?
I would say no since most of the hike is just a walk on concrete but if you intend to go further on the Spruce Railroad trail or try out the others I mentioned, then I would bring hiking gear.
Other questions about exploring Devil’s Punchbowl in Lake Crescent:
Can you swim at Devils Punchbowl Washington?
Yes you can swim at the Devils Punchbowl in Washington.
Other Devil’s Punchbowls you can explore:
The following places also have their own versions of a Devil’s Punchbowl (they can sometimes be called sinkholes), but they are all located in different states and the one in Lake Crescent is the only one where you can swim.
But in any case, here are other ones you can explore:
1) Devil’s Punchbowl in Oregon. This is a famous place on the Oregon Coast that I have seen. You can only go inside it during low tide but you can also see it from a top (good option B if you get there during high tide).
2) A Devil’s Punchbowl in Sedona (Arizona) on a trail called Soldiers Pass trail. There is no water there at all and honestly until I read that it was a sinkhole, I wasn’t able to see that.
3) There are also 3 others in California.
- One is in Russian Gulch State Park.
- Another is near San Diego and it’s called Sunset Cliffs Cave.
- The last one is in Angeles National Forest but it’s hard to tell that it looks like a sinkhole.
4) Hamilton Pool Preserve. This is more officially a sinkhole and it’s located in Texas. You can go swimming there and depending on the season, the views can be incredible.