The great thing about our area is how quickly the elevation changes.
Alta Crystal Resort's elevation is a little below 3000', and Crystal Mountain's base is 4400' -- and that 1400' difference is just over 7.5 miles! In the same way, as you go down towards Greenwater and Enumclaw, the elevation changes dramatically. In fact, it's not unusual to have the snow level start just about a mile before you reach Alta Crystal Resort.
This means that there are many times you can still hike during winter months. Obviously, this will all depend on the snow level and the accumulated amount but here are some ideas:
* Greenwater Lakes: This is a favorite hike almost year-round. The trailhead is off of Forest Service Road 70, and the hike is easy -- about 1.5 miles each way to the lower lake and 2 miles each way to the lower lake. The trail meanders across the Greenwater River with great log bridges, with some great cliffs along the way. It kind of reminds us of Jurassic Park. Click here to read more.
* Federation Forest: This gorgeous state park is just about 15 minutes from here. The gate closes in winter but you can actually walk the trails year-round. The Park itself comprises 619 acres with 12 miles of trails. Walk along the banks of the White River. Marvel at huge old-growth trees. It truly is a magical place. Click here.
* Palisades Trail: The Palisades Trail trailhead is right off of Highway 410, just before the Skookum Flats viewpoint (if you're coming from Alta Crystal Resort). It's easy to find since there are almost always cars parked there year-round. This is a great workout, although you will most likely hit snow at the highest points. The trail offers gorgeous trees and views of Mt. Rainier from the upper elevations. The springtime waterfalls are pretty awesome too. Read more here.
It's also sometimes possible to hike the trails around Alta Crystal Resort just in snow boots or Yax Trax. Just check with us for suggestions when you arrive for your stay.