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On Top of Ol’ Crystal
By Tom Adkinson

ENUMCLAW, Wash. – You don’t have to be a skier or snowboarder to get this view of Mt. Rainier from the Summit House atop Crystal Mountain thanks to a high-speed gondola at Crystal Mountain Resort, a ski area in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest about 85 miles southeast of Seattle.

crystal mountain   crystal mountain gondola
A view of Mt. Ranier (left); Gondola at Crystal Mountain Resort (right). Images by Tom Adkinson.

Of course, the gondola carries skiers and snowboarders, but sightseers and restaurant guests can buy tickets for much less than the winter athletes pay. The ride takes almost 10 minutes and whisks you about 2,500 feet higher up the mountain from were you started. The restaurant, the highest altitude restaurant in Washington, is at 6,856 feet, and barely 13 miles away is the hulking mass of Mt. Rainier, whose peak is 14,410 feet. On a good day, you also can see Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Baker and Glacier Peak, too.

Published March 9, 2018

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