Crystal Lake via Sourdough Gap
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.
Crystal Lake via Sourdough Gap Elevation Graph
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