Crystal Mountain is widely regarded as Washington’s premier ski destination in the winter season — but the summertime is just as lively and active in this beautiful region.
A popular road trip from Seattle takes travelers on a gorgeous drive along Highway 410 to visit Crystal Mountain Resort and then onward to Mount Rainier — and that’s to say nothing of the trails, lakes, and viewpoints that you’ll hit on the way.
Here’s a guide to what you don’t want to miss at Crystal Mountain and the surrounding area.
Guided adventures at Crystal Mountain
Crystal Mountain Resort has collaborated with local guides to offer a plethora of guided adventures for the first year ever. Groups of a minimum of three can sign up for activities including a guided trek, guided foraging, fly-fishing at alpine lakes, paddleboarding, and even paddleboard yoga.
Whether it’s a family trip or a group of avid hikers, there’s an option to suit everyone’s taste and abilities. “We’re able to curate each adventure toward the group by gathering their information and connecting them with specialized guides that can coordinate the ideal day,” says Vivika Stamolis of Crystal Mountain Resort.
There are also optional add-ons like a gourmet trail lunch catered by Fireside Cantina, a popular restaurant located at the base of the resort.
Crystal Sky Camp
Crystal Mountain is also debuting Crystal Sky Camp this summer, an exclusive glamping retreat for groups and events. It’s a luxurious, all-inclusive experience. The glampsite itself is located at 6,000 feet (two chairlifts take guests to the final destination) and features 20 safari-inspired canvas tents.
Stamolis describes Crystal Sky Camp as an “elegant way to be in nature but with all the comforts of home.” Guests have running water, a 24-hour concierge, turndown service every night, and meals prepared by the resort’s executive chef.
Continue along Highway 410 to Mount Rainier
After enjoying your time at Crystal Mountain, get back on Highway 410 for the 90-minute drive to Mount Rainier. Keep an eye out for the hiking and mountain biking trails along the way, all of which are free to access. Pull off to see the scenic viewpoints. One of the most popular stops along the way is Skookum Falls, located along the White River. During the summertime it’s the perfect place to set up a picnic and relax as you take in the scenery.
Other outdoor activities in the area
Crystal Mountain and Mount Rainier are the “big names” in the area but there are several other outdoor attractions that aren’t to be missed during your trip. The following gorgeous spots are located along Highway 410 and are within a 30-minute drive from Crystal Mountain.
With an elevation of over 5,000 feet, Tipsoo Lake is an alpine lake that’s popular among hikers and photographers. There are a number of hiking trails of all difficulty levels located near the lake and you’ll be rewarded with a stunning view of the reflection of Mount Rainier in the lake. Get one look and you’ll understand why it’s one of the most photographed landscapes in America.
The Grove of the Patriarchs Trail is a simple hike — at just 1.5 miles round trip, it’s perfect for families with young children. The loop takes you across a suspension bridge and to a small island full of fir trees, hemlocks and cedars, some of which are more than 300 feet tall.
Also located on Highway 410, on the crest of the Cascade Range, is Chinook Pass, which has been designated by the United States Government as Chinook Scenic Byway. Located above tree line, it’s one of the most stunning routes in America. There are many places to pull over and take in the scenery. If you want to stretch your legs and get the best views, Sheep Lake is located along Chinook Pass. Park at the trailhead and it’s a 2.5 mile hike to the lake; you’ll be treated to views of Mount Rainier and Naches Peak as you walk. Once you’ve reached the lake, you can either head back or hike one more mile to Sourdough Gap. Be sure to head to the northwest side of the gap in order to get the best views — Emmons Glacier is especially beautiful.
Another popular hike is Naches Peak Loop. At 3.2 miles round trip, you’ll get a wide range of alpine views, including stunning fields of wildflowers and more great views of Mount Rainier. Stop at the Dewey Lake Viewpoint to eat lunch or simply relax and enjoy the scenery before returning to the car.
Enjoy breathtaking views, dining, adventurous hiking, alpine lakes and more in the summer at Crystal Mountain Resort. Ride the Mount Rainier Gondola up to the Summit House, Washington state’s highest-elevation restaurant, for an unforgettable experience.