Crystal Lakes Trail to Sourdough Gap

MODERATE 90 reviews
#19 of 107 trails in

Crystal Lakes Trail to Sourdough Gap is a 7.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Sunrise, Washington that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips and is best used from July until October.

7.4 miles
2,913 feet
Out & Back


nature trips




wild flowers

no dogs

From Seattle, east on I-90, south on I-405 and then south on Highway 169 to Enumclaw. In Enumclaw, south on Highway 410, 4.6 miles past junction with Crystal Mountain Boulevard find a small (easy to miss) trailhead on left.

14 days ago

Set out on 4th of July. Started around 8:15 in the morning and crossed paths with just a few people. Both lakes were beautiful. Some patches of snow still, especially if you’re going all the way to the gap. We did it, but there was a sketchy patch with just hiking boots. Clear views of Rainer, Adams, and St. Helens if you do the whole trail to the gap. Worth the time and effort!

19 days ago

We loved this hike. I wouldn’t recommend bringing kids to the peak. The path is narrow, but the hike up to the lake is perfect for older kids 8+. Swing by both lakes. Not too many people.

26 days ago

We did the trail to the peak and lake late June.The trail to the crystal peak is 3.8 miles and to the lake is 3 miles. The route separates after 1.6 mile. The crystal peak trail has great view of the Mt.Rainer. You need little bit of luck to have clear sky and all breathtaking views. Trail starts in the forest and you will have clear views about after 2 miles. Both trails to the lake and peak are steep.If you wanna do only one of trails I recommend doing the crystal peak as you will have view Rainer and both upper and lower crystal lake.

1 month ago

Beautiful Hike. Hiked from Crystal Mountain Resort, to the PCT then up to Sourdough Gap ( GREAT views of MT. Rainier!! ) then down to Crystal Lake (The upper lake) Beautiful scenery, deer everywhere, great place to backpack.

11 months ago

Fantastic hike! We did both the Peak and Lakes to Sourdough Gap in one day easy. In mid August and swimming in the upper lake was an absolutely refreshing complement to the hike! Would definitely do it again.

Also check out "Sourdough Gap to Crystal Lakes" on the Visit Rainier site. Covers even more terrain.

11 months ago

trail is very maintained. no snow. we got to the trail head around 7:30 . we saw NO ONE the whole hike up. there were some people camped at the lower lake, we went the extra .5 miles to the upper lake. lake is beautiful, but TONS of bugs. bring bug spray. overall a great hike. mostly uphill. we brought a 5 year old and she did great. will do the peak next time!

11 months ago

The view is well worth the hike! Highly suggest extending your hike up to Sourdough Gap for a view of Mt Rainier!

11 months ago

I took my 9-year-old son on this trail last August for a beginner's overnight backpacking trip. Camp spots in RNP were booked so we hiked past upper crystal lake to the PCT and turned to the right at the top. That leads down to Sheep Lake where we could camp without a permit. Nice trip for a young-but-energetic hiker/backpacker.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Amazing views and crystal clear water at the top.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

After reaching the top of crystal peak yesterday, decided to hike to the lakes afterwards. Trail is very nice and view of surrounding peaks was cool.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

amazing hike beautiful views must see!!!!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Spectacular hike July 7, 2017. One of my favorites. Viewpoints along the way. Trail in excellent condition, no snow. Wildflowers showing themselves. Picnic by the lake surronded by snow top mountains. Beautiful!

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Beautiful hike on Friday, July 7th. Warm sunny day. No snow to navigate. Ate lunch at the upper lake and feasted on the spectacular view of surrounding snow covered mountains.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Nice hike on a beautiful day! Some small snow patches as you approach the lower lake. Larger segments of snow starting about a quarter mile from the upper lake, and then solid snow as you approach the lake. Lake is still frozen, with snow, but thawing.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Lot of snow as you get closer to lower lake, trail disappears as you head to upper lake. It's a fun trail, I've done it before, but I'd give it a bit before heading up with kids so the snow will melt off.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Dense forest with great view points, there was only a small vista of rainier at the beginning of the hike but it was a gorgeous one nonetheless. The lake itself was very small and secluded, I'll upload some pictures I took. Awesome hike

Sunday, August 21, 2016

great hike, one of my favorites this summer! the trail itself is in great rocks or roots to trip on! i went today, one of the hottest days of the summer. it could have been the heat or the altitude, but it did seem a little more difficult than i expected. But definitely worth it. if you go in the summer, it will be extra grueling in the direct sun closer to the end of the trail. Over all, steep but definitely doable as a moderate hike. I didn't see much of rainer ( other than a quick glimpse thru the trees on the way up) so on the way back down, i took the fork towards crystal peak. This added an additional 5 miles (when you are going down, its a left turn to get on this trail). really great views of mt rainer on the peak trail!! both trails are marked well, including mileage. can't wait to go back soon!!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

3 thumbs up

Monday, August 08, 2016

The trail is long and steep. If you're not used to the high altitude it will be even harder than expected, but if you have water and are in decent shape you shouldn't have any problems getting to the top. The views at the top are absolutely worth it!

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Great hike this morning! Good workout since its uphill just about the entire way. You start off in a dense Forrest and then it thins out as you go up to beautiful flowers and thinner Forrest. The lakes were clear and clean and I might have jumped in if I had my swimming gear!

Nice hike.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Beautiful once you get to the top, especially if you choose to continue on to the upper lake. Switchbacks make up 80% of the trail and are very punishing.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

This trail was awesome. It is definitely a very steep climb- it gets steeper and steeper as you go. We went very slow and round trip took us about 5 hours. Beautiful scenery the whole time, the lake at the top is definitely worth it.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

7/13/2016 (Wednesday) -- The trail is in super good condition, no mud, no rock, no roots, smooth surface, broad, and clean, perfectly maintained to the upper lake, though moderately steep. The view of the lake is fascinating, but the most awesome view is the backdrop of Mount Rainier behind the peaks around the lake that can be seen from half way to the ridge. It's absolutely worth moving up for 1 mile from the lake to the ridge if the weather is cloudless like we saw today around noon. We went to the ridge of the PCT, looking to the south, seeing Sheep Lake below. The trail is used moderately. We met several groups of nice people, and mostly by ourselves on the way and by the lake.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Trail was in great condition. Went with my ten year old daughter and my husband that had our almost 1 year old in a carrier. Trail has a pretty good incline that can be steep in some parts but can be doable even for a beginner if you take your time. The trail was clear of snow and was big free until we passed the lower lake trail. After that the mosquitoes and sweat bees were plentiful but not overwhelming. The upper lake was worth the extra .5 mile after passing the lower lake. There is some snow around the lake but mostly on the opposite side of where the trail leads you to. Definitely one of my favorite hikes! Would love to do the peak next! Also, the trail is actually 3 miles to upper lake and 3.8 to the peak and that's based off of the trail head sign.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A beautiful trail with fantastic views of Mt Rainier. Snow still covered parts of the trail making it a challenge to get to the lower lake but we made it and it was worth it! Tried to make it the last half mile to the upper lake but arrived to a field that was completely snow covered...that is when we turned back. Still the views were spectacular; definitely worth it.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Had amazing views of mount Rainier but couldn't get to the lakes because there was still snow and you couldn't tell where the trail was. It's considered a moderate trail

Monday, May 09, 2016

This is a great hike. I have done it a few times. Pretty steady incline with switchbacks going up so it can be tough. Bring lots of water.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Has a bit of everything. Make sure you hit the peak too!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Nice little hike near Mt. Rainier. The lake is quite nice and has some great views along the way. The climb is entirely uphill, thus the way down will be much easier. The terrain is well padded for the most part under the tree cover until you get to the top which is slightly more rocky. As well there is an outdoor toilet at the top of the mountain.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I wanted to camp here since the first time I hiked it! Upper crystal lake has 2 camp sites and is an amazing place to camp.

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