Thank you Crystal Mountain Resort for hosting Sitka and me in exchange for this honest review of our experience. Spoiler alert: we can’t wait to go back.
Crystal Mountain Resort, a ski area near the Rainier Mountains, is a place I’ve heard about all my life since I grew up in Washington. The fact that I am not a very skier and that it is a ski resort, combined with the fact that it was a few hours away, prevented me from visiting it.
I also assumed that because it is a ski resort and because it is close to Rainier Mountain, which is a national park, Crystal Mountain will be beyond the limits of outdoor adventures with my dog.
However, after writing an article for the Seattle Times about summer fun at ski resorts, I learned that a) Crystal is VERY suitable for dogs and b) they have a ton of fun activities that you can do with your dog.
Acceptable for dogs things to do in Crystal Mountain
While researching my article, I was completely immersed in the variety of activities that dogs have at Crystal Mountain.
I avoided Rainier Mountain because it doesn’t allow dogs, so I was extremely excited to check out the dog-friendly offerings at Crystal Mountain Resort.
Ride the gondola
Take the gondola ride on Rainier Mountain – the only state gondola – that takes you 2,400 vertical feet to the top. On a clear day you will be greeted with the face of the Rainier Mountains.
Crystal boasts the best views of the Rainier Mountains with the least effort. I can’t personally guarantee this because, unfortunately, it was cloudy on the day of my visit, but I really believe it!
Tip: Buy tickets 24 hours in advance for the best prices. You can buy tickets on the day of your visit, but they will cost more.
Ticket prices range between free (under 4 years) and $ 39 (adults aged 23-69). The gondola lift is open from 2 July until 19 September. Hours vary by day.
Eat lunch at the house on top
While on top of Crystal Mountain, head to Summit House, Washington’s tallest restaurant at 6,872 feet.
The courtyard welcomes dogs and no matter where you sit, you will have an amazing view. I was happy to have several vegan options to choose from and went with a delicious bean wrap.
Rowing on an alpine lake
Crystal Mountain recently introduced some summer products in its offerings and paddling in an alpine lake is one such activity.
An instructor will take you (and your puppy!) On a 15-minute UTV ride to a small cute alpine lake surrounded by blueberries.
Whether you already know how to row or just try it for the first time, the crystal clear waters of the lake will delight you!
I couldn’t stop staring beneath the surface to watch all the salamanders scatter as we rowed over them.
If you bring your dog, don’t forget his life jacket!
Tens of kilometers of trails hardly surround the Crystal Mountains, all of which welcome straps.
You can either start from the bottom and go to the top, or get on the gondola and slowly return to the base.
Many of the trails connect to nearby routes suitable for dogs, including the famous Pacific Crest trail.
Eating with an expert
I wish I could stay more days, because I would absolutely choose to look for food with an expert.
Knowledgeable guides lead guests to learn and collect medicinal and edible plants that grow in the resort. Generosity varies from week to week, but some delicacies include fruits, vegetables, flowers and mushrooms.
Go to Glamping at Crystal Sky Camp
In 2021, Crystal Mountain introduced Crystal Sky Camp to bring a special and unique outdoor experience to guests at Crystal Mountain.
The resort has partnered with Under Canvas to set up several glamorous tents in the 6,000-foot Campbell Pool, in the shade of Rainier Mountain.
In the first year, the tents were available during special events, such as meteor showers, but I was told that they would be open all summer, starting in 2022, and would accept dogs.
Pets allowed in Crystal Mountain
If you can’t set up one of the glamorous tents, there are several other options to stay close to Crystal Mountain with your dog.
Crystal Mountain Camping
The resort has designated a B-Lot to accommodate RVs, vans and tents. There is electricity. Price range from 25 to 40 dollars.
Other camping opportunities
Sand Flats Trailhead Camping Site Silver Springs Camping Site Buck Creek
Pet Friendly Hotels in Crystal Mountain Resort
The Village Inn at Crystal Mountain Hotels has three rooms suitable for pets, so book in advance if you want to stay in the mountains. This is the only hotel nearby where you can stay with your dog.