Crystal Mountain is a playground for outdoor recreationists in the summer and winter for skiers and non-skiers alike.
The Mt. Rainier Gondola, offers scenic rides in both the summer and winter seasons, with a 10-minute ride to breathtaking views of Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Adams to the south, Mt. Baker and Glacier Peak to the north and the Olympics to the west. Washington’s highest restaurant, the Summit House, is next to the gondola and open for lunch on all days the gondola is operating, as well as Saturday dinners during the summer months. Be sure to call ahead and book reservations for the Summit House.
Things to do at Crystal Mountain Resort in the Summer
In the summer, Washington’s largest ski area transforms into the perfect summer playground. Crystal Mountain Resort lies on the sunny side of Mt Rainier, just six miles from the Northeast entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park and the popular Sunrise area of the park. Nestled amid stunning forests, wildflower-filled meadows, and pure Washington wilderness, Crystal Mountain is a fun and relaxing escape any time of the year.
During the summer, enjoy interpretive walks winding through alpine lakes, along with epic ridgelines and through evergreen forests of Crystal Mountain. Guided horseback rides showcase the best this area has to offer in a relaxing, safe atmosphere. An 18-hole disc golf course spans the mountain top-to-bottom, and frequent weekend events bring live music to the hillsides.
Crystal Mountain is accessible year-round via Highway 410 from Enumclaw. Highway 410 and 120 through Mt. Rainier National Park usually close sometime in November with the first heavy snowfall, and open in late Spring.
Things to do at Crystal Mountain Resort in the Winter
Winter’s first snows signal the opening of Washington’s largest ski resort. The sprawling expanse of the ski terrain at Crystal Mountain flows over half a dozen peaks and basins and lends itself to seemingly limitless variations. 2,600 acres of gentle groomed runs for beginners to challenging steeps, glades, chutes, bowls and expansive backcountry for the more adventurous take care of skiers and snowboarders of all levels. Crystal Mountain averages 367 inches of snowfall annually, which gives powder enthusiasts plenty to smile about. If you’re not already a skier, no problem. Lessons and equipment rentals are available. And non-skiers can still enjoy scenic rides on the Mt. Rainier Gondola, as well as daily snowshoe rentals and snowshoe tours. Live music is also offered most weekends on the Sundeck at the base area, and the world-famous Snorting Elk Cellar offers live music most weekends.
Where to stay?
Crystal Mountain hotels offer three comfortable hotels just steps away from adventure! Guests of the Crystal Mountain Hotels are within walking distance of dining, the Mt. Rainier Gondola, and breathtaking views of Mount Rainier. Also within walking distance are furnished condominiums, RV campsites, and a short drive away are a variety of cabins and vacation rentals. For the complete list click here.
How long is the gondola ride?
A ride on the Mt. Rainier Gondola will take you over 2,400 vertical feet to the summit where you will find breathtaking views of Mt. Rainier and the Cascade Range. You’ll also be just a few short steps away from the Summit House, Washington’s highest elevation restaurant. The ride lasts approximately 9 minutes and 30 seconds, one-way.
When does the gondola operate?
Rides are available during the winter and summer seasons at Crystal Mountain. Please note that operations are weather permitting and can change without notice. Please check the current conditions before planning your gondola ride on our Mountain Report page. Weather can change quickly and the gondola can close early or without notice when it’s windy or stormy.
Is there tubing at Crystal Mountain?
Not at this time.
Where can I get more information?
You’ll find more helpful details on the Crystal Mountain website.