Trip Report    

Day Hike - Crystal Lakes & Sourdough Gap

We enjoyed perfect conditions for this moderate hike to Upper Crystal Lake. Blue bird skies, wildflowers beginning, no wind, no bugs, great temps and great company!

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The trail to the both lakes was in great shape. Very short snow patches that are easy to cross. Downed trees had been removed. Sunny areas are already getting dusty up near the lakes. Trail above Upper Crystal Lake is muddy down below near the lake and in good shape above. Lots of loose rock in places. We didn't travel up to Sourdough Gap as other hikers reported there were large snow crossings in the steeper areas.

We had three total hikers for this trip with perfect conditions. Arrived at the parking lot at 8:00am with several parking places available. We enjoyed the cool of the morning as we climbed the steady gain up to the Crystal Peak junction, Lower Crystal Lake and Upper Crystal Lake. We took several scenic and "breather" breaks and made our way to Upper Crystal Lake by 10:30am after a stop to check out the Lower Crystal Lake campsites and the lake itself. The lower lake had a ton of tree pollen on the surface and was all melted out.


Upper Crystal Lake is 100% melted out as well with snow along the east edges which receive more shade. We enjoyed lunch on a rock outcrop and enjoyed each other's company and the views. This was a first visit for both hikers today.

After lunch, we followed the route heading towards Sourdough Gap. Beautiful wildflower blooms along the creek next to the trail. Glacier lilies, marsh marigold, western anemone, and buttercups. We saw some pink mountain heather blooming at the lake edge, some magenta paintbrush and phlox. We traveled up the trail to where you have a nice view of Mt. Rainier and the lake below. One member was not feeling the energy to keep climbing so we enjoyed the view and headed back down. The hike down was great! We took some breaks as we gave the right of way to many hikers making their way up. The day was heating up and we were grateful for our early start. 

A successful new trail and lakes for two of our hikers today!