Explore Seattle

Beyond Seattle

A little over an hour and a half drive southeast of Seattle, sits Crystal Mountain—a skier's paradise that becomes an outdoorsy oasis during the summer months. Located in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Crystal is home to the Mt. Rainier Gondola, which provides year-round access to the resort’s summit. Hop on the gondola for a ride to almost 2,500 vertical feet, where you’ll find a stunning view of Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, and the rest of the Cascade Mountain Range. Also at the top, you’ll find the Summit House (260.663.3085 for reservations)—Washington’s highest elevation restaurant at 6,872 feet. There are mountain views out every window, and a patio for warm sunny lunches. The menu changes seasonally, but you’ll always find fresh Northwest cuisine with dishes like Dungeness crab and braised pork shoulder.

When lunch is over, hike back down the mountain on the
Silver Creek Trail. There are plenty of activities to keep you busy all day long. Hike one of the many trails surrounding the mountain, through lush pine forests and glacier-fed streams. The Bullion Basin trail is a favorite for hikers, as is the Henksin Lake trail. If you don’t feel comfortable striking out on your own, Ridge Explorations(253.891.0149, ridgeexplorations.com) will take you on a guided hike.

Schedule an afternoon of horseback riding through alpine meadows filled with wildflowers.
Chinook Pass Outfitters (509.895.9120, chinookpassoutfitters.com) oers three and six mile rides, as well as an overnight trip where you can sleep under the stars and eat a true cowboy breakfast the next morning.

Traveling with friends?
Crystal Mountain Resort has 27 disc golf baskets located around the property—from the base area all the way to the summit. Round up teams, pick up a map of the course, and purchase discs at The Summit Shop (located at the Mt. Rainier Gondola terminal at the mountaintop). If you’re lucky you may see some of the wildlife. Visitors commonly see deer, elk, marmots, chipmunks, and red foxes, and if you venture on one of the longer hikes in the area, you might catch sight of a mountain goat.

Getting There: Go south on I- 5, take exit 142A to Auburn, follow Hwy 164 to Enumclaw and Hwy 410 east for 33 miles before entering Mount Rainier National Park. Go six miles up Crystal Mountain Boulevard to the resort.