Located a short drive from Port Angeles, this glacially carved lake sitting in the Olympic National Park offers both water sport enthusiasts and hikers a place to ooh and aah. You can paddle along the lake by kayak or standup paddle board, boat and swim.
Lake Sutherland is 361-acre lake that actually used to be part of Lake Crescent before a massive landslide isolated a portion of the lake over 7,000 years ago. Today, the lake is dotted with homes, including many vacation rental cottages and lakefront homes, and allows for boaters and jet skiers to play in the crystal clear water.
After the completion of one of the largest dam removal projects in the country that began in 2011, the Elwha River is now flowing from the Olympic Mountains to the Strait of Juan de Fuca after 100 years. Head to the Elwha River overlook on the dam (located along the Olympic Hot Springs Road) for a birds-eye view, or take a walk along the river trail where Lake Aldwell once stood where you’ll see giant stumps exposed for the first time in over 100 years. For now, the Elwha River is closed to fishing and rafting as the wildlife habitat is being restored.
Originating in from the Hoh Glacier on Mount Olympus, a significant portion of this river flows through the Hoh Rainforest. The contrast between the milky white glacial waters and lush green mossy trees make for an impressive sight to see. Many backpackers follow the river when hiking the glaciers on Mount Olympus. For anglers, drifters and shore fishermen, this river can be fished for steelhead from several access points between the park boundary and the mouth.
Sol Duc River
The Sol Duc River can be accessed at numerous locations along Hwy 101. Hiking, backpacking and fishing are popular along this river — don’t miss the Sol Duc Falls, mineral pools and hot springs.
The Dungeness River flows from Mount Constance in the Olympic National Park down to the valley where it finally reaches the Strait of Juan de Fuca in Sequim at Dungeness Bay. This 28-mile long river includes numerous hiking trails and angling opportunities for salmon.