Mount Rainier National Park Crystal Lakes Trail

Trail Description Distance, round-trip: 6 miles Elevation gain: 2300 feet Hiking time, round-trip: 3 hours Wilderness camps: Lower Crystal Lake and Upper Crystal Lake The first 1.5 miles of trail climbs through the forest on a series of switchbacks which provide a good look at Mount Rainier until the view is eclipsed by Crystal Peak. The next mile leads to forested Lower Crystal Lake, the smaller of the two lakes. The lovely open basin containing Upper Crystal Lake lies .5 mile beyond the lower lake. Along the Trail By late July and early August the meadows explode with a wide variety of colorful sub alpine wildflowers.

Watch for elk and mountain goats grazing on the surrounding slopes and ridges anytime throughout the summer and early fall. A side trip to Crystal Peak (five miles round-trip) is well worth the effort. On a clear day five volcanoes can be seen from this 6615 ft. former fire lookout site. Start early in the day if you plan on hiking to the peak as the trail traverses a shadeless south-facing slope which can be very hot and dry during summer. Trailhead Location The trailhead is located on SR 410 approximately 4 miles north of Cayuse Pass toward the north park boundary. It is on the east side of the road near Crystal Creek.

Backpacking

There are wilderness camps both at Lower and Upper Crystal Lakes. Be sure to camp in designated sites only. Permits are required for camping. Permits and current trail conditions are available park-wide from Wilderness Information Centers, Ranger Stations, Visitor Centers and on our web site. Fires are prohibited. No pets on trails. Treat water before drinking.

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November's Featured Park
The North Cascades have long been known as the North American Alps. Characterized by rugged beauty, this steep mountain range is filled with jagged peaks, deep valleys, cascading waterfalls and glaciers. North Cascades National Park Service Complex contains the heart of this mountainous region in three park units which are all managed as one and include North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas.
November's Animal
Badgers are animals of open country. Their oval burrows (ten inches across and four to six inches high) are familiar features of grasslands on sandy or loamy soils of the eastern plains or shrub country in mountain parks or western valleys.