Crystal Lakes (Mount Rainier)


Day Hike - Crystal Lakes (Mount Rainier)

Through hike with car shuttle from Chinook Pass to Crystal Lakes

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Moderate
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 6.74 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,522 ft

Meet at 7:30 AM at the Enumclaw Ranger Station, 450 Roosevelt Ave (SR 410), Enumclaw

Cars can be left at the Enumclaw Ranger Station, without the requirement there of a parking pass.

Please Note:  This trip requires a car shuttle.  All participants must have completed their COVID vaccination and willing to wear masks in the car with other participants.  We will need at least 3 people willing to drive and take passengers to the trailhead.   Cars will need a NWF pass to park.

Please do not sign up for this hike unless you are reasonably certain that you can commit to coming.  If there are last minute cancellations, we may not be able to do the car shuttle and we will just do an out-and-back to Crystal Lakes instead.

This will be a moderate-paced hike with some time to take pictures, look at wildflowera and pick huckleberries along the way.  

 From the Enumclaw Ranger station we will drive east on SR 410  about 36 miles  and pass under the arch that marks the boundary of Mount Rainier National Park. Continue on another four miles and be alert for wide parking areas along both shoulders of the highway. Here we will drop one (or two cars).  Then we will continue on 410 another 14 miles to Chinook Pass. Continue about 0.2 miles to Pacific Crest Trail parking lot, which is the second large parking lot on the left side of the road. The trailhead is on the east end of the parking lot behind the vault toilets. 

We will begin with a gentle climb above Highway 410 along the PCT to reach Sheep Lake in  1.8 miles, with some good views of Mt. Rainier and Naches Peak.  After a quick snack and wading, we will continue up the trail to Sourdough Gap  passing wildflowers, huckleberry plants, forests and meadows.   After admiring the views, we will descend to Upper Crystal Lake where we will have  lunch and a swim.  We will continue to descend, making a short side trip to see Lower Crystal Lake and then returning to the Crystal Lake trailhead.  From here, we will drive a few people back up to Chinook Pass to retrieve the cars there.

Elevation Gain:  1522ft.  

Elevation Loss:  3300ft

Option to stop for Huckleberry shakes in Greenwater on the way back to Enumclaw.


Crystal Lakes (Mount Rainier)

  • Trails Illustrated Mount Rainier National Park

    Green Trails Mt Rainier East No. 270

    Green Trails Mount Rainier Wonderland No. 269SX
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials

  • Navigation
  • Headlamp
  • Sun protection
  • First aid
  • Knife
  • Fire
  • Shelter
  • Extra food
  • Extra water
  • Extra clothes
Trip Reports