Details

Distance

7.49 miles

Elevation Gain

2966 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

Added by Lindsy Dugan

Crystal Mountain's Peak has decent elevation gain, but offers up stunning views of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, & Mt. St Helens.

Make sure you are going out on a clear day to catch the best views of the mountains, and bring your camera! From the summit, it’s possible to see six volcanoes spanning two states. Baker, Glacier, Adams, Rainier, St. Helens and Hood wait patiently for you to climb the more-than-moderately steep path to the summit of Crystal Peak, where you can take in beautiful snow-capped majesty from the top.

Begin at an unmarked trailhead on the left-hand side of Highway 410. The trail immediately crosses a stream - it’s a great spot to stop and dip your feet after four miles of relentless downhill. Cross the water using a footlog with a handrail, and get ready to climb. Quite a bit of elevation is gained in the first mile and a half, using switchbacks that zig zag through a less-than-inspiring second-growth forest. The best part about this section is the shade, and occasional preview of Rainier.

Reach a signed junction at the 1.5 mile mark, and take the right trail to Crystal Peak. It’s counter-intuitive, since the trail to the peak descends while the left-hand trail to Crystal Lake climbs. Continue through this forest for another mile, and finally begin hiking through lush green meadows. From here on out you have uninterrupted views of Rainier, and, closer to hand, a plethora of wildflowers.

And climb you will. As you complete several long switchbacks across the south-facing slope, your view is ever-changing. St. Helens is the first to come into view, then Hood. Glacier and Baker appear at a west-facing rocky outcropping just short of the summit with evidence of the lookout that used to sit atop Crystal Peak. Turn around here and see Adams looming to the east. The last push to the summit is quite steep, but thankfully quite short, where you can take in all six peaks, as well as Crystal Lakes far below you.

There will be tourists at the top that have ridden the gondola up - in the winter time this is a frequented ski area. Break out lunch or a snack and enjoy the views.

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Features

Hiking
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildflowers

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