National Park · Road Trip · USA · Weekend Trip

A Gondola Ride to a gorgeous view of Mt Ranier

Crystal Mountain Resort is located two-hour drive from Seattle is known for winter sports. Skiers and snowboarders flock the mountain each year to enjoy the slopes. While most of the people visit during the winter for skiing, summers at Crystal Mountain Resort can be just as fun. With plenty of outdoor activities and proximity to Mount Rainier, it’s a great weekend getaway in itself from Seattle. The resort is also right next door to Mount Rainier National Park. It’s less than a 15-minute drive from the park entrance, making it the perfect location for people looking to spend a few days exploring the park.

If you are visiting during summers, a star attraction at Crystal Mountain Resort is the Mount Rainier Gondola. The roughly 10-minute ride takes you about 2,500 feet up (to an elevation of 6,800 feet) and drops you right in front of Mount Rainier. Before catching the ride we did not know that you could see Mt. Rainier from the summit. Just as we were walking around the summit, Mt Rainier showed up in between the clouds. The clouds were finicky and a clear view of Mount Rainier can be hit or miss.

Also at the top of the Mount Rainier Gondola is the Summit House Restaurant. As the highest elevation restaurant in Washington (sitting at 6,872 feet), the view is exceptional. In one direction, you look at the forest of Crystal Mountain and the other direction you see Mount Rainier. The resort has chairs for visitors to sit on and enjoy the views of Mt Rainier. There is also a hike which takes you to the top of Crystal Mountain plus tickets are only checked on the way up-so you could hike to the top and ride down! You’d burn plenty of calories and save some money! There are a couple of hikes at the top of the mountain as well, I felt Crystal Mountain visit could have been a trip in itself.

Taking the gondola up Crystal Mountain is an absolute must-do activity if you are visiting. Even if you are planning to visit Mt Rainier spending a half a day at Crystal Mountain is a good idea.

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