Barnes Creek Trail, Lake Crescent - Storm King Trailhead, Olympic National Park, Washington

Barnes Creek Trail - 13.0 miles

Lake Crescent - Storm King Trailhead

Barnes Creek flows into Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park

Barnes Creek flows into Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park

Round-Trip Length: 13.0 miles
Start-End Elevation: 625' - 2,372' (2,375' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +1,747' net elevation gain (+2,310' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Barnes Creek Trail - 13.0 Miles Round-Trip

Barnes Creek Trail runs 4.3 miles from Lake Crescent to the Aurora Divide Trail split in Olympic National Park. It continues 2.2 miles as an unmaintained but well-defined path until reaching a natural impasse. Though it shares the same trailhead and first .7 miles with Marymere Falls, it sees a fraction of the traffic.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

The trail passes through lowland old growth forests before rising away from the creek into old growth mid-elevation forests. There are many creek access points and interesting tributaries to explore along the way.

Visitors will enjoy diverse forests with large trees, a kinetic riparian environment and light crowds on Barnes Creek:

The trail begins at Storm King Ranger Station and heads north under Highway 101. It passes through a tunnel and resumes on a flat path to the Marymere Falls split (.7 miles : 686’). Keep left on Barnes Creek.

The trail rises under a thick canopy to an unmarked fork; take the right fork, which drops to a long log bridge over the creek (1.4 miles : 775’). Continuing past this split will bring you to a creek ford, which re-joins the trail just upstream of the bridge. 

Mild, undulating travel continues beside the creek to log bridges over tumbling tributaries at 2.0 miles (1,032’) and 2.5 miles (1,125’). This second bridge is short but elevated, narrow and slippery - consider crossing in the creek.

Cascades along these tributaries and their confluences with Barnes Creek can be quite photogenic during peak runoff, and again in the fall when bigleaf and vine maple turn.

Travel steepens shortly past the second bridge on switchbacks, climbing 750' in just a mile to the trail’s only and brief view of Mt Storm King (4.1 miles : 2,005’).

Forest characteristics change from low to mid elevation old growth on this rapid climb away from the creek. The understory thins and opens with a good chance to see wildlife on this stretch.

Grades moderate under a notably tall canopy to the Aurora Divide split (4.3 miles : 2,110’). Bear left to remain on Barnes Creek (signed Barnes Creek – Dead End).

This unmaintained but well-defined section is covered in stair-step moss, dampening noise in an already quiet forest. The undulating path winds for 2 miles through a noticeably drier landscape before reaching its terminus at an impassable log jam just south of the creek (6.5 miles : 2,372’).

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N48 03.477 W123 47.308 — 0.0 miles: Storm King Ranger Station Trailhead - 610'
  • N48 03.128 W123 47.285 — 0.7 miles: Marymere Falls Split - stay straight - 686'
  • N48 02.997 W123 46.948 — 1.0 miles: Pass by backchannels of Barnes Creek - 722'
  • N48 02.856 W123 46.587 — 1.4 miles: Bear right down to bridge - 772'
  • N48 02.654 W123 46.102 — 2.0 miles: Cross scenic drainage - 1,032'
  • N48 02.517 W123 45.668 — 2.5 miles: Trail rising away from creek - 1,125'
  • N48 02.431 W123 45.266 — 3.0 miles: Cross tributary and begin climb - 1,255'
  • N48 02.439 W123 44.985 — 3.5 miles: Steep switchbacks - 1,633'
  • N48 02.272 W123 44.693 — 4.0 miles: Breaching montane ecosystem - 2,005'
  • N48 02.108 W123 44.431 — 4.3 miles: Split for Aurora Divide - stay straight - 2,110'
  • N48 02.289 W123 43.996 — 5.0 miles: Impressive fir and cedar forest - 2,210'
  • N48 02.088 W123 43.656 — 5.5 miles: Steady climb in old growth forest - 2,316'
  • N48 01.885 W123 43.202 — 6.0 miles: Continue level through forest - 2,375'
  • N48 01.616 W123 42.778 — 6.5 miles: Trail dead-ends into impassable creek - 2,372'

Worth Noting

  • Lake Crescent lies in the Olympic Mountains rain shadow. While Olympic rainforests on the west side of the park may receive up to 150" of rain per year, forests on the north and east sides see less than 60".

  • Geological records suggest that landslides from surrounding mountains 7,000 years ago divided what was once a larger lake into two separate lakes - Lake Crescent and neighboring Lake Sutherland.

  • As a result of this closure to the sea, Lake Crescent has evolved a population of landlocked sockeye called Kokanee. They spend their entire lives in the lake and are smaller than their anadromous relative.

Camping and Backpacking Information

Camping is permitted along the Barnes Creek Trail with a backcountry permit (required). Permits can be obtained only at the Wilderness Information Center in Port Angeles, WA.

Fishing Information

  • A Washington State Fishing License is not required to fish in Olympic National Park except when fishing in the Pacific Ocean from shore. No license is required to harvest surf smelt.

  • A Washington State catch record card is required to fish for salmon or steelhead and they must be accounted for as if caught in state waters. Fishing regulations are specific to site, species, and season. Contact the Park before setting out.

  • Recreational fishing in freshwater areas of Olympic National Park is restricted to artificial lures with single, barbless hooks (exceptions may apply).

  • The use of seines, traps, drugs, explosives, and nets (except to land a legally hooked fish or dip-net smelt) are prohibited.

Rules and Regulations

  • There's a $25 fee to enter Olympic National Park ($50 annual pass).

  • Pets are not permitted on trails. Pets are permitted in campgrounds and must be leashed at all times.

Directions to Trailhead

The Storm King - Marymere Falls Trailhead is located 18.75 miles west of Port Angeles at the Storm King Ranger Station in Olympic National Park.

From Port Angeles, drive 18.7 miles west on US 101 to the Storm King Ranger Station exit on the right (along the shore of Lake Crescent). Turn right off of 101 and then right again into the Storm King Ranger Station parking area.

Contact Information

Olympic National Park
600 East Park Avenue
Port Angeles, WA 98362-6798

Visitor Information: 360.565.3130

Road & Weather Hotline: 360.565.3131

Wilderness Information Center and Backcountry Permit Office (WIC)

Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center

Forks Information Station
360.374.7566 or 360.374.5877

Quinault Wilderness Information Office

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


"The trail was recently cleared so I only had to deal with two snags that had since fallen. The Barnes Creek trail is well used and easy to follow. The Upper Barnes Creek trail begins at the junction with the Aurora Divide Trail. The first creek crossing one tenth of a mile past the junction was fairly easy. Big logs had fallen into the creek so there were several choices. The only problem was that some of the logs required a big step for a person with short legs and a full backpack. The next crossing at Lizard Head Creek at N48 01.616 W123 42.778 where ProTrails says “Trail dead-ends into impassable creek”. Is fordable, at least it is in July. There were lots of logs that had fallen into the creek but none were suitable for crossing. The rocks proved too slippery to use safely so a ford was in order. The next creek, Happy Lake Creek located at N48° 01.808' W123° 42.359' has a choice of two footlogs. Happy Lake Creek also provides a campsite with room for at least two tents. From Happy Lake Creek the trail continues it’s upwards climb. Sections of the trail are totally covered with moss and other low growing plants but the trail is easily discernable. The next creek crossing at Barnes Creek located at N48° 01.846' W123° 41.398' has blowdowns which can be used to cross the creek without fording. A trail junction occurs at N48° 01.964' W123° 40.687'. The right fork travels another 400 feet and dead ends at the ridge crest with the view blocked by trees. The left fork continues up the hill to Lookout Dome at N48° 02.035' W123° 40.648'. From the Dome Lake Crescent can be seen through the trees to the west, the Hughes river valley and the Elwha river to the east and Baldy ridge to the north. At this time of year, water was still seeping out of the ground so several section of Upper Barnes Creek trail were quite muddy."
Maplewood  -  Sequim, WA  -  Date Posted: July 20, 2017


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