Ride a gondola to the highest altitude restaurant in Washington State.
Crystal Mountain is a 2 hour drive southwest of Seattle, near Mount Rainier along scenic Highway 410.
It's home to Washington State's most popular ski resort, and is also a beautiful place to visit in summer, with hiking trails, a disc golf course, and a mining sluice box for kids.
Want to see amazing views of Mt Rainier? Ride the Crystal Mountain Gondola to the highest elevation restaurant in Washington State, with soaring views of Mt Rainier.
10 best things to do at Crystal Mountain
1. Take the fun gondola ride to the Summit House Restaurant.
Take the gondola to the Summit House, the highest elevation restaurant in Washington State. The views of Mt Rainier and the Cascades are jawdropping! Check tickets & hours for the gondola, and hours for the Summit House (only open during the summer and winter seasons).
Ride the Crystal Mountain Gondola in summer or winter. Best of all, you don't have to be skiing to take this gondola. Many sightseers skip the skiing and come here for the amazing views!
Here's a sightseer admiring the scenery from the viewing platform at the top of the gondola at Crystal Mountain, with sweeping views across the rooftop of the Cascades.
At 6,872 feet, it's the highest elevation restaurant in Washington State, with close-up views of the northeast face of Mt Rainier. It doesn't get better than this!
You'll never tire of those incredible views, as you look out over the northeastern face of Mt Rainier.
2. Go skiing at Crystal Mountain.
Crystal Mountain is Washington State's largest ski resort and accommodates all skill levels, with 11% beginner runs, 54% intermediate runs, and 35% advanced runs. There's something here for everyone.
Crystal Mountain's ski season runs from December through April.
The Bavarian-style Alpine Inn is located at the base of Crystal Mountain, within walking distance of the gondola. Eat next door at the charming Alpine Inn Restaurant with both a dining room and outdoor patio in summer, or the cozy Snorting Elk Cellar with hot toddy drinks, cocktails and local beers, and lots of festive, live music during winter.
4. Do a guided snow-shoe tour at Crystal Mountain
Guided snow-shoe tours are available from Late December thru March each Saturday, also great for families. The 2-hour tours start at the Rental Shop, with a ride up the Golds Hill Chairlift, then snow-shoeing through the gorgeous Bullion Basin Area alpine forest.
5. Explore Crystal Mountain's hiking trails in summer.
Explore Crystal Mountain's network of stunning trails, and hike through glorious meadows of wildflowers with alpine lakes and streams. The hikes range from moderate to strenuous. One of the most popular hikes is the Summit to Base, that descends 3,000 feet from the top of the gondola. Bring water and food, bug spray, and layers of clothing, because even in summer it gets chilly at the Summit, and always tell someone where you're going.
6. Do ranger-led interpretive walks in summer.
Do a 1.5 hour interpretive walk from the top of the gondola. This ranger-led walk discusses the fascinating botany, geology and fauna of the area around Crystal Mountain. Check times.
7. Play disc golf in summer at Crystal Mountain.
Play two FREE disc golf courses at Crystal Mountain, and throw flying discs into baskets. The lower course has 18 baskets, and the upper course at the top of the gondola has 12 baskets. Purchase disks and obtain course maps at The Mountain Shop.
8. Take your kids to the mining sluice box in summer.
Kids can purchase a bag of dirt from the Silver Creek Mining System at Crystal Mountain's plaza, and wash away the dirt at the mining sluice box to discover precious stones.
9. Visit Sunrise at Mt Rainer in summer.
Visit nearby Sunrise in the Mount Rainier National Park with incredible views of the north face of Mt Rainier and Emmons Glacier. Stop for lunch at the Day Lodge then explore the nearby trails. The road to Sunrise is only accessible during warmer months, and it's 29-miles between Crystal Mountain and Sunrise. There's no lodging at Sunrise, and only the one snack bar at the Day Lodge.
10. Visit Paradise at Mt Rainier in summer.
Paradise requires an extra 2.5 hours drive from Crystal Mountain, and has a historic inn with a restaurant and cafe. The road to Paradise is only accessible during warmer months.
Which Crystal Mountain restaurants and cafes are open?
In winter, there are 4 restaurants and 2 cafes open at Crystal Mountain. Enjoy lunch at the casual Bullwheel Restaurant and Bar with great views, micro brews and delicious burgers. Visit the Cascade Grill cafeteria for fast meals and snacks. Take the Forest Queen Express chairlift to 6,250 feet to the food court at the Campbell Basin Lodge. It's open for lunch during the winter season and features wood fired pizza. Take the gondola to the Summit House for fine dining with incredible views of Mt Rainier! Enjoy two casual cafes at Crystal Mountain - the cosy Chinook Cafe and the outdoor Fireside Cafe.
In summer, there is 1 restaurant and 2 casual walk-up windows open. The walk-up Fireside Cafe in the base area of Crystal Mountain has open air patio dining. Ride to the top of the gondola to the Summit House Restaurant or the Avy Dog Grill. The Summit House Restaurant is for fancy, sit down meals. The more casual Avy Dog Grill is next door and serves up pork, beef, vegan and Bavarian sausages. Great for grab and go! All purchases support the Avalanche Rescue Dogs.
Driving to Crystal Mountain
Drive along Scenic Highway 410 to get to Crystal Mountain, surrounded by forests of evergreens. In summer the drive up to Crystal Mountain is along the National Scenic Byway, Highway 410. In winter the only access to Crystal Mountain is along Highway 410 East from Enumclaw. Always check road conditions along Highway 410 before leaving.