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 located near Mt. Rainier is a place I’ve heard about my entire life, having grown up in Washington. However, the fact that I am not much of a skier and it is a ski resort, coupled with the fact that it was several hours away kept me from visiting.
I had also assumed that because it is a ski resort and because it is near Mt. Rainier, which is a National Park, that Crystal Mountain would be off limits to 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 dog-friendly and b) they have a TON of fun activities you can do with your dog.
Dog-Friendly Things to Do at Crystal Mountain
While researching for my article, I was completely floored by the variety of activities available to dogs at Crystal Mountain.
I have avoided Mt. Rainier because it does not allow dogs, so I was beyond excited to check out the dog-friendly offerings at Crystal Mountain Resort.
Ride the Gondola
Hop on for a ride on the Mt. Rainier Gondola–the state’s only gondola–which takes you 2,400 vertical feet to the summit. On a clear day, you’ll be greeted with Mt. Rainier smack dab in front of your face.
Crystal boasts having the best view of Mt. Rainier with the least amount of effort. I can’t personally vouch for that because, very sadly, it was cloudy the day of my visit, but I sure believe it!
Tip: Purchase tickets 24 hours in advance for best prices. You can buy tickets the day of your visit, but they will cost more.
Ticket prices range between free (under 4 years old) and $39 (adults aged 23-69). The gondola runs from July 2 through September 19th. Hours vary by day.
Eat Lunch at the Summit House
While you’re at the top of Crystal Mountain, pop over to the Summit House, Washington’s highest elevation restaurant at 6,872 feet.
The patio welcomes dogs and no matter where you sit, you’ll have an epic view. I was happy to be able to have a couple vegan options to choose from and went with a delicious bean wrap.
Paddle Board on an Alpine Lake
Crystal Mountain recently introduced some summer products to their offerings and paddle boarding on an alpine lake is one such activity.
An instructor takes you (and your pup!) on a 15-minute UTV ride to a sweet little alpine lake surrounded by blueberries.
Whether you already know how paddleboard or are just trying it for the first time, the crystal clear waters of the lake will delight you!
I couldn’t stop staring below the surface to watch all of the salamanders scatter as we paddled over them.
If you do bring your dog, don’t forget their life jacket!
Dozens of miles of trails ranging in difficulty surround Crystal Mountain, all of which welcome leashed dogs.
You can either start from the very bottom and walk to the top, or ride the gondola and slowly make your way back down to the base.
Many of the trails connect with nearby dog-friendly routes, including the famous Pacific Crest Trail.
Forage with an Expert
I wish that I had been able to stay for more days because I absolutely would have opted to go foraging with an expert.
Knowledgeable guides take guests to learn about and collect medicinal and edible plants that grow at the resort. The bounty changes from week to week, but some delectibles include berries, greens, flowers, and mushrooms.
Go Glamping at Crystal Sky Camp
In 2021, Crystal Mountain introduced Crystal Sky Camp to bring a special and unique outdoors experience to guests at Crystal Mountain.
The resort partnered with Under Canvas to erect several glamping tents in Campbell Basin, which sits at 6,000 feet, under the shadow of Mt. Rainier.
During the first year, the tents were available during special events, like meteor showers, but I was told that they would be open all summer long starting in 2022, and welcome dogs.
Pet-friendly Places to Stay at Crystal Mountain
If you can’t score one of the glamping tents, there are a few other nearby options to stay nearby Crystal Mountain with your dog.
Camping at Crystal Mountain
The resort has designated the B-Lot to accommodate overnight RV, van, and tent guests. Electricity is available. Price range from $25 to $40.
Other camping options
- Sand Flats Trailhead
- Silver Springs Campground
- Suntop Trailhead
- Buck Creek Campground
Pet-friendly hotels at Crystal Mountain Resort
The Village Inn at Crystal Mountain Hotels has three pet-friendly rooms, so book early if you want to score a stay right on the mountain. It is the only hotel nearby where you can stay with your dog.