Crystal Lake Trail to Sourdough Gap

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Moderate
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
4-5.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
9.7 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
792 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

The Crystal Lake Trail to Sourdough Gap is a 9.7 km trail to a deeply blue lake under Mount Rainier. This moderately challenging hike includes a few switchbacks in exchange for scenic views and an easy-to-follow trail.

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Route Description for Crystal Lake Trail to Sourdough Gap

The hike to Crystal Lake is a lovely adventure with a moderate physical challenge. You’ll enjoy a blue alpine lake and Mount Rainier peeking up overhead.

Begin by crossing Crystal Creek on a log bridge and start switchbacking almost immediately. You’ll hike through shaded sub-alpine forest for the first portion of the trail.

After 2.1 km, you’ll reach a junction with Crystal Peak Trail. While Crystal Peak is a great objective, it’s 4.0 km of steep hiking from here, making it a bit much for a quick side trip. Continue along a few more switchbacks and cross an old avalanche chute.

Watch for an opening in the trees that overlooks Mount Rainier. This is the best view of the mountain on the hike, so snap some photos and enjoy it. Further on, you’ll reach a signed T-junction. The trail to the left goes to Crystal Lake, and the right to Lower Crystal Lake. Lower Crystal Lake is only 100 yards from here, so you can quickly pop by even if you’re hiking to the upper lake.

Wildflowers line the trail to the upper lake, which is 1.1 km from the T-junction. Enjoy the rugged stone walls surrounding the lake and the Three Way Peak, which has a little window through a rock formation.

Continue to Sourdough Gap on the same trail by walking along the left-hand side of the lake. This gives you a birds-eye view of the lake and better views of Rainier. Then, retrace your steps to the parking lot.

Getting to the Crystal Lake Trail to Sourdough Gap Trailhead

To get to the Crystal Lake Trail from Enumclaw, take highway 410 for 57.9 km south. Continue for 6.4 km once you’re in the park, watching for parking along the shoulders of the highway. The trail begins on the east side of the highway next to Crystal Creek.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    Crystal Lakes

  • When to do

    July-October

  • Pets allowed

    No

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Crystal Lake Trail to Sourdough Gap Elevation Graph

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