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    Crystal Lake via Sourdough Gap

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    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.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    12.6 km
    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.
    537 m
    User Ratings
    These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
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    Directions to Trailhead

    The hike to Crystal Lake via Sourdough Gap and Sheep Lake is a 12.6 km moderately trafficked route in Mount Rainier National Park. This trail is moderately challenging and offers beautiful wildflowers and mountain views. If you book a site at either Sheep Lake or Upper Crystal Lake, you can turn this into a backpacking trip.

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    Route Description for Crystal Lake via Sourdough Gap

    The hike to Crystal Lake via Sourdough Gap and Sheep Lake is a fantastic day trip, but if you can, we recommend booking a site at either Sheep Lake or Upper Crystal Lake and turning this into a multi-day trip. With vast meadows of wildflowers and great views of Crystal Mountain and Yakima Peak, this is a fun outing.

    The trail begins from the parking area and follows the Pacific Crest Trail heading north. Hike near the road for a while, then the trail veers to the left and begins to gain elevation more steadily. There’s a junction with a spur trail- stay right.

    As you approach Sheep Lake, stay to the right. Cross the stream at the foot of the lake and keep right where the trail to the backcountry camping area branches off. The trail winds to Sourdough Gap, where you’ll stay left at the next junction.

    The trail reaches Crystal Lake and follows the lakeshore to the camping sites on the northwest corner. You can either retrace your steps or loop around the whole lakeshore before departing.

    Getting to the Crystal Lake via Sourdough Gap Trailhead

    The trailhead for the Crystal Lake hike via Sourdough Gap is located at the parking area for the Pacific Crest Trail on Mather Memorial Parkway north of Tipsoo Lake.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground

      Sheep Lake Backcountry Camping, Upper Crystal Lake Camp

    • When to do


    • Pets allowed


    • Family friendly

      Older Children only

    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    Crystal Lake via Sourdough Gap Elevation Graph

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    Crystal Lake via Sourdough Gap Reviews

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