Leaving the trailhead at Sand Flats, climb three miles through scattered old growth and subalpine timber, across alpine meadows and past a couple of lakes before erupting onto a high wind-swept ridge with beautiful views of Mt. Rainier to the west and Castle Mountain to the south. If the climb has exhausted you, turn around here for a modest six-mile round-trip.
The better option is to continue along the ridge for three miles to the top of Chairlift 10 and the Crystal Mountain Summit House, a restaurant atop the Rainier Express ski lift. At times you will tiptoe along the edge and at other times the ridge spreads out to a thick crop of wildflowers in early June and huckleberries in early August.
From here descend along a service road to the road's first switchback for .3 miles before finding Crystal Mt. Trail 1163 on the left. Follow the trail downhill through alpine basins to the junction with Henskin Lake Trail 1193 at mile 7.8, which leads to Pacific Crest Trail 2000 at Bear Gap. At mile 8 you will reach lower Henskin Lake and further along come to the junction with Silver Creek Trail 1192 at mile 9.1. Turning right (south) on Silver Creek Trail 1192 will take you to Pacific Crest Trail 2000 at Bear Gap in about a half mile. Turning left (north) on Silver Creek Trail 1192 will take you to the Crystal Mountain Resort base area in 1.5 miles. Or make it a loop route by walking or biking along the road or power lines for 2.0 miles, returning to Sand Flats.
Suggestions for an easier hike: Use two vehicles: one parked at the Crystal Mountain base area parking lot and one back at the trail at Sand Flats. Ride the chairlift at Crystal Mountain and hike Crystal Mt. Trail 1163 through the basins and use Silver Creek Trail 1192 to return to the Crystal Mountain base area, 5.6 total miles one way.
WTA Hiking Guide - Trip Reports
At a Glance
No motorized vehicles.
Dogs must be on a leash.
Use established rings for campfires.
A valid Recreation Pass is required at Sand Flats Trailhead.
||US Forest Service
Check current conditions or call Snoqualmie Ranger District, Enumclaw Office at 360-825-6585.
Drive east on State Highway 410 from Enumclaw 33.1 miles to Crystal Mountain Road #7190. Turn left (east) onto Crystal Mountain Road #7190 and follow 4.4 miles to Road #7190510. Turn right (south) onto Road #7190510 and follow to roads end. Trailhead can also be accessed through the Sand Flats Horse Camp.
• Green Trails Bumping 271 & Mt. Rainier East 270
• Snoqualmie Ranger District
Parking for six cars available at trailhead.