Written By: Emma Brice
Summer is in full swing at Crystal Mountain and the trails are calling! This is our favorite time of year to get out and explore the alpine with our four-legged friends. While dogs are not allowed in Mount Rainier National Park, Crystal Mountain is an easy alternative for folks who want the freedom to bring their pets along and still get those stunning up-close views of Mt. Rainier and the surrounding Cascades. There’s something for everyone from sightseers, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Here are a few of our favorite things you can do at Crystal with your furry family members for a guaranteed tail-wagging day:
RIDE THE SCENIC GONDOLA
In the summer, leashed dogs are welcome to ride on the Mount Rainier Gondola! Take a ride up 2,400 vertical feet to the summit where you and your pup can roam the ridgeline, dine on the Summit House patio, and explore the miles of trails leading from the summit to base area. The gondola is a great way for smaller dogs, or elderly dogs who aren’t as keen on hiking to still get outdoors and experience the mountains. To keep your canine buddies hydrated on hot days, we have water bowls stationed around the summit for convenience.
Leashed dogs are more than welcome to explore the variety of available hiking trails ranging from beginner to strenuous. While you’re exploring, be sure to stay on trail to protect the delicate vegetation and meadows for years to come. Take only pictures and leave what you find, and remember to pack out what you pack in. Check out a couple of our favorite pup-friendly trails!
1) SILVER CREEK TRAIL
2.3 miles, 1,480 feet elevation gain
For those seeking some alpine adventure, Henskin Lake is a great spot to cool off, enjoy the sun, fly fish, or enjoy a picnic. Start by hiking up the Gold Hills road where you will traverse under the chair lift and eventually pass an old gold mine on your left. From there, the trail climbs through moderate subalpine forest, with multiple stream crossings where your pup can drink. Continue up a moderate incline and follow the signs to Henskin Lake at 5,480 feet where you and your furry friend can sit back and enjoy the view.
2) GREEN VALLEY TRAIL TO KELLY’S GAP ROAD
3.3 miles, 2,500 feet descent
This is a popular scenic hike from the summit to the base of Green Valley. Ride the gondola to the top and then head down the ridgeline towards the Green Valley chair to start your hike. Enjoy the wildflowers and expansive views as you meander down the switchbacks to the base of the Green Valley chair. Then, hike back up to the top and ride the gondola back down with your adventure pal in tow!
Whether you’re visiting the mountain for a mountaintop dining experience, strenuous hike, or leisurely gondola ride, there’s no need to leave your furry friends at home. Bring your pup on your next Crystal trip for the best summer adventure yet!