HIKING AROUND ALTA CRYSTAL RESORT
This whole area is a hiker’s delight. In fact, we could probably give you a different trail to hike every day of the year! Visit our blog for more detailed descriptions and photos of hikes in this area.
TRAILS FROM ALTA CRYSTAL RESORT
There are great places to hike here without even moving your car! Here are our springtime favorites:
The Loop Trail: A good 45-minute hike is our loop trail up to Corral Pass road and then back down to our field. This trail passes by Deep Creek (one of the prettiest mountain streams around), goes through a ravine to a nice viewpoint of the White River Valley and then circles through old-growth trees back to our field. In the spring, you’ll often see elk especially in the early evening.
If you just want a short hike or you’re traveling with little ones, it’s also nice to just do the first 10-15 minutes of this trail across the two foot bridges on Deep Creek. Take the trail to the left just past the second bridge to Deep Creek Falls. Notice how the natural air-conditioning of the stream lowers the temperature by about 10 degrees.
Deep Creek Trail To Noble Knob: This is a more aggressive hike with great views of Mt. Rainier. Take plenty of water since the trail is steep. This is one of our favorite trails since it’s usually deserted and, about 3 ½ miles up, you’ll come to a clearing with great Mt. Rainier views. Along the way, there are also some nice viewpoints of the White River Valley. Click here to read more.
Goat Falls: This is a great hike with kids (and it’s pretty wonderful for adults too)! Although it’s listed in The Mountaineers’ Best Hikes With Kids, the trail isn’t usually crowded Along the way, you’ll get great views of the White River Valley, pass some very old (approximately 250-500 year old) trees and charming old cabins, and pass some really nice wading spots. Goat Falls itself is a 20-foot waterfall that’s absolutely gorgeous! Click here to read more.
White River Trail to Dry Creek, Camp Sheppard and Snoquera Falls: This trail goes approximately 2 miles each way to Camp Sheppard, which is a Boy Scout Camp. You can continue on the trail about another 1 ½ miles to Snoquera Falls, which is especially pretty in the spring and early summer. Along the way, you’ll pass a couple of large log cabins and some pretty streams. Many trail runners like this one because it is relatively flat. Click here to read more.
Forest Trails: There is a whole series of forest trails that start from our field and driveway and wind through the trees. These are especially nice in the early morning and evening when you’ll often surprise elk and deer grazing. Again, consult the map for more details, but you shouldn’t get lost as long as you remember which side the highway is on.
NEARBY TRAILS IN THE NATIONAL FOREST
Greenwater Lakes: Another one of our all-time favorites and a great hike year-round! This trail meanders across rivers to two gorgeous mountain lakes surrounded by jagged peaks. This is a good hike in all weather as you’re sheltered by trees for much of the way. The lakes are a great place for a picnic! The trail is fairly flat so it’s good for kids, and it’s about 1 ½ miles to the lower lake and another ½ mile to the upper lake. People fish in both lakes, although we’re not sure how much they catch! Click here to read more.
Camp Sheppard to Snoquera Falls. This is an especially nice 3-mile roundtrip hike in the spring and early summer while the water is running. It’s not as good other times of year.
Palisades Trail: Another trail that is a favorite hike of locals. It is steep but also gives you absolutely incredible cliffside views of the White River Valley. The whole trail is 6.6 miles each way, but you can easily do a shorter section.
Suntop Lookout: Suntop Lookout itself is either a drive—or a hike, depending on whether the gate at the top is open. (The road will most likely open sometime in May once the snow melts.) Suntop Lookout is a fire lookout (manned by volunteers in the summer) so, as you would expect, it offers incredible views! There has been some logging so it’s not as beautiful as some other hikes—but because of the logging, you can see everything! Suntop is accessible via a gravel road from FS Road 73 (a good road but somewhat washboard-y). There’s a gate 1 mile from the top that is often closed. It’s a mile up the road to the top from the gate, or 1/2 mile on the steep trail. By the way, the sunsets from Suntop are incredible!
Sheep Lake: When Chinook Pass first opens sometime in May, this will be a snowshoe hike. This is a great hike for early wildflowers and once the snow starts to melt up on Chinook Pass, but it’s a nice hike in the summer and fall as well. Sheep Lake is 2.1 miles from the trailhead and it’s a gorgeous spot to rest and have a picnic. This is where most people stop – but you can actually keep going and hike all the way across Sourdough Gap to Crystal. (If you decide to do this, you may want to try to arrange to leave one car at Chinook Pass and the other at Crystal.) Sourdough Gap is a steep 1.2 miles past Sheep Lake and is an excellent secondary destination! Click here to read more.