Let's hike the Crystal Lakes Trail to lower and upper Crystal Lakes. From there, we’ll backtrack to the Crystal Peak Trail and hike to the summit of Crystal Peak, since both trails share the first 1.5 miles. Crystal Peak, with an elevation of 6,595 feet, is #9 on the Mountaineers club list of list of Fifteen Hiking Peaks at Mount Rainier National Park. You can log your ascents at Peakbagger.com. On the way home, we may stop somewhere for ice cream or dinner. I will need at least 3 people willing to drive.
Excerpt from “Day Hiking Mount Rainier,” by Dan A. Nelson
Hike #15 – Crystal Lakes. These beautiful lakes are nestled in a green bowl beneath high, craggy peaks. You might encounter a few elk, maybe a mountain goat or two, and possibly even a black bear. The latter is especially likely in late summer when the plethora of purple fruit--succulent huckleberries!--ripens up. That's all you'll find here. If you need more natural beauty, you're out of luck. You won't find many trails that offer wilderness like this.
Hike #16 – Crystal Peak. Grand views await you here, as Crystal Peak stands between the stunning spires of the Norse Peak Wilderness and the mighty summit of Mount Rainier's northeastern flank. You might encounter elk; you'll surely see soaring hawks and/or eagles; and if you time it right, you'll be waist deep in huckleberries on the upper slopes of the peak. If the berries aren't ripe yet, no worries--you'll find wildflowers in bloom along the way.
• Trailhead ETA: 9:15 am. • Round Trip: 11 miles.
• Starting Elevation: 3,533 feet. • Ascent Elevation: 4,310 feet.
• High Point: 6,595 feet. • Difficulty: Difficult.
• Pace: Slow/moderate. • Hiking Time: 8.25 hours.
• Special Features: Established campsites, lakes, mountain views, old growth, summits, wildflowers/meadows, wildlife.
• Maps: Green Trails Mount Rainier East, No. 270.
• Crystal Lakes Trailhead: N46°55'22.2" W121°32'01.2"
• Upper Crystal Lake: N46°54'21.4" W121°30'24.5"
• Crystal Peak Summit: N46°54'22.4" W121°31'08.3"
What to Bring: Day pack with the 10 Essentials, appropriate hiking attire (no blue jeans, cotton clothing, or sneakers), plenty of water, lunch/energy snacks, sturdy/comfortable shoes + a bag for wet/soiled pairs, trekking poles, sun preventatives, bug repellent, and your camera! Dress according to the forecast (layers!).
Contact: White River Wilderness Information Center, (360) 569-6670.
Permits/Regulations: $15 per vehicle for a 7-day entrance permit or $30 per vehicle for an annual pass. Group size limited to twelve. Fires prohibited. Dogs prohibited.
Getting there: From Enumclaw, drive east 42 miles on State Route 410 to the trailhead parking lot on the right, just 4.5 miles after passing through the park's entryway arch.
• 7-Day Weather Forecast
• Crystal Lakes and Crystal Peak
• WTA Hiking Guide and Trip Reports – Crystal Lakes
• WTA Hiking Guide and Trip Reports – Crystal Peak
Robert's Cell: (253) 677-6992.
Disclaimer: Trailside is not a professional guide service. Our leaders function, as facilitators only, to enhance your outdoor experience. Reports of trail and weather conditions are based on best available information, are subject to change, and are no guarantee of fitness for any particular purpose or appropriate for a certain fitness level. You may join us on this hike at your own risk. Keep in mind that hiking involves risks and weather changes quickly in the mountains. You are responsible for your own safety and the more prepared you are, the better the chance you will remain safe. Signing up for any Trailside organized event indicates that you have read, understand, and agree to the terms of this disclaimer and hold harmless all Trailside Organizers and Leaders in the event of injury or loss.