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Crystal Mountain: Unforgettable Summer Fun at the Ski Area

What’s there to do at the ski area in summer? So much!

Published on: July 27, 2023

Family hiking at Crystal Mountain in summer with view of Mount Rainier in the background
Bring your pooch to Crystal Mountain in summer. Credit: Coulton Jacobs/courtesy of Crystal Mountain

Crystal Mountain Resort is a ski area nestled amidst the breathtaking Cascade Range, not far from Mount Rainier. It’s also a stop on the Chinook Scenic Byway. Crystal Mountain is a hugely popular spot for winter skiing, but also offers family-friendly summer adventures, during the “off season.”

Head to Crystal Mountain in summer and you’ll find activities that appeal to all ages — and that serve to create lasting memories.

Here are five fun activities we think your family will enjoy this summer at Crystal Mountain Resort:

A teenage boy rides the zipline on Crystal Mountain's Flying Raven Adventure Course among summer activities at the ski area
Find thrills on the Flying Raven Adventure Course. Image courtesy of Visit Rainier

1. Flying Raven Adventure Course

New for summer 2023 is the Flying Raven Adventure Course, Crystal Mountain’s first aerial adventure course. This high ropes course was designed specifically for Crystal Mountain and brings your crew up into the tall evergreen trees. The course offers challenges with a variety of obstacles and elements. Families and beginners can start on the Green Circle, while more experienced adventurers will love the Black Diamond routes.

Ropes course tours lasting three hours from start to finish include instruction and equipment. Children must be at least 6 years old, weigh at least 50 pounds and be at least 42 inches tall. Maximum weight is 250 pounds, and the maximum height is 6 feet 6 inches. Pregnant people cannot participate.

A girl navigates the Flying Raven Adventure Course at Crystal Mountain, among summer activities at the ski area
Flying Raven Adventure Course. Courtesy of Crystal Mountain

2. Alpine disc golf courses

Looking for a fun family activity where you can keep both feet on the ground? Crystal Mountain Resort’s alpine disc golf course has you covered. A combination of disc throwing and golf, disc golf is a great way to get the kids to exercise while also having tons of fun. And disc golf helps develop hand-eye coordination: bonus! There are a total of 36 holes on two courses for hours of fun. One course is free and accessible to all; the second course is also free to play, but is accessed by a ride up the gondola, which requires the purchase of a gondola ticket.

A young girl looks out from the Mt. Rainier Gondola at Crystal Mountain in summer
Riding the Mt. Rainier Gondola. Credit: Ryan French/courtesy of Crystal Mountain

3. Mt. Rainier Gondola

If you are ready for more heights, check out the Mt. Rainier Gondola, which ascends 2,400 vertical feet to the summit. Enjoy panoramic views and keep an eye out for wildlife below as you soar through the air. The views of Mount Rainier are unmatched. Remember to wear layers, as it is cooler at the top and weather is constantly changing. Dogs can ride the gondola, but only in summer, not during ski season.

Just below the gondola you will find Tower 16, which offers snacks and refreshments. Steps from the gondola, the Summit House Restaurant sits at 6,872 feet in elevation, making it Washington’s highest altitude restaurant. Enjoy the locally sourced ingredients and a menu focused on Pacific Northwest cuisine. 

Crystal Mountain's Mt. Rainier Gondola reaches the summit in summer
Mt. Rainier Gondola at Crystal Mountain. Courtesy of Crystal Mountain

4. Hiking trails

Crystal Mountain offers a variety of hiking trails, ranging from easy to difficult. The trails weave through forests, meadows covered with wildflowers and babbling creeks. Although some of the trails are listed as easy, the elevation change ranges from 1,480 feet to 2,100 feet, which can be challenging for young ones. Plan to take the gondola to the summit and hike from there.

Check the website for everything you need to know about hiking at Crystal Mountain, including the 10 essentials to take when you hike, and photos to help you identify summer wildflowers. There is also a downloadable trail map to help you decide where to start.

Hike near alpine lakes at Crystal Mountain in summer
Hiking trails at Crystal Mountain. Credit: Christy Pelland/courtesy of Crystal Mountain

5. Silver Creek Mining Sluice

The Silver Creek Mining Sluice combines the thrill of discovery with water, making it a great summer activity for kids. A mining sluice uses flowing water to separate dirt and sediment from gems or metals. Crystal Mountain’s mining sluice activity is located at the summit, so you’ll need to take the gondola up to reach it. Purchase bags of paydirt from Tower 16. Grab a gem identification card, then get to work discovering hidden treasures waiting to be revealed by the rushing waters.

Sunset view of Mount Rainier from Crystal Mountain in summer
Take in the sunset view of Mount Rainier. Credit: Coulton Jacobs/courtesy of Crystal Mountain

Bonus: summer events at Crystal Mountain

Check out Crystal Mountain’s events calendar for additional summer fun. You’ll find art lessons, farm-to-table dinners, festivals and a live music series.

If you are looking for even more things to do on the way home, head out on the Chinook Scenic Byway and stop at a few of the overlooks, or take a short hike around Tipsoo Lake before returning home. 

More ski-area summer fun: 

  • The Summit at Snoqualmie offers scenic chairlift rides, hiking, mountain biking at the Summit Bike Park and a summer music series on Saturdays.
  • At Stevens Pass, enjoy mountain biking, scenic chairlift rides, disc golf and hiking this summer.

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