Motors Allowed?
Easy / Class A
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Standing on one of Crescent Lake’s white-golden sandy beaches as the late summer sun radiates intensely on the high Cascades, warming the pines until their scent is on every light breeze, listening to waves from the deep blue lake gently lapping the sand, it is difficult to imagine a more enticing setting, anywhere.  Crescent Lake is one of those spots that, on a gentle day, feels almost surreally sublime.  Yet it is one of several gorgeous Cascade lakes in the region: from an aerial perspective, it is possible to see nearby Odell Lake to the north and Summit Lake to the southwest as a sequence of lakes creating a gigantic ark around Diamond Peak, which looms to the west. 

Crescent Lake is the center of this three-link chain of major Cascade lakes.  From its clear, deep blue water to its abundant beach opportunities and easy access, Crescent Lake is an area you don’t want to miss.  To get on the water, motorboats and powered personal watercraft can use the boat ramps at Crescent Lake Resort and Crescent Lake Campground, or boaters can try the south end at Tranquil Bay or Spring Campground; paddlers have all of these options available in addition to the lovely sand beaches at North and South Simax and several smaller and unnamed day use areas along the lake’s western shore.  Crescent Lake is an excellent fishery, and resident species include kokanee, mackinaw, rainbow trout, and even brown trout.

Several area campgrounds make staying at Crescent Lake an easy option: major sites include Crescent Lake Campground on north end and Spring on the south.  Groups can reserve large sites at dedicated areas like Simax and Windy.  Further, Crescent Lake Resort rents cabins and has a small restaurant available if you just don’t feel like breaking out the stove.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

NW Forest Pass


Beautiful views. Sandy beaches. Campgrounds, day use areas, resort. Fishing.




Campgrounds + Campsites
Picnic tables
Covered picnic areas

Site characteristics: Water


Portage required



Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping


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