When researching the Mount Rainier area to see if it was a destination we thought we would enjoy, the Crystal Mountain Gondola immediately caught our attention. Looking at the incredible views you can see in other photos posted online, we were determined to try to see that view with our own eyes.
We found the Gondola itself to be quite impressive. Take a look at some of the details:
- Opened: January 1, 2011
- Base elevation: 4,400 feet
- Top elevation: 6,856 feet
- Vertical rise: 2,456 feet
- 13 Towers
- 24 8-passenger cabins
- Uphill capacity; 600 people per hour
- Speed: 800 ft/min.
Unfortunately, the weather didn’t want to cooperate with us and there were clouds covering the million-dollar view you would see on a day where the skies are nothing but blue. At the top of the mountain, all we could see was a big sheet of white as we looked around. Luckily, the decent up the mountain was still beautiful, even without the Mount Rainier and Cascade Range view.
Travel tip: Bring a coat and dress warm as it gets quite a bit colder when you get to the top.
The Mount Rainier Gondola takes you up 2,500 feet over meadows of wildflowers and evergreen forests. We found the gondolas to be very comfortable and that they provided a wonderful 360* view of your surroundings. The 10 minute gondola ride is mesmerizing as you look out the windows around and below you. It was a fun ride to take, especially with kids as their eyes go wide and you can see the excitement as they look around, waving at other gondolas that are passing by. We were even lucky enough to spot some deer grazing below us, both on our way up and back again on our way down.
The Gondola isn’t the only attraction at Crystal Mountain, however. You can join a ranger on an interpretive walk, explore many scenic trails, take a guided horseback ride, or enjoy some drinks and eats at the Summit House restaurant. You’re sure to find plenty to do after you reach the mountain top.
We loved the fact that you are able to bring your dog along for the gondola ride, so your fur-baby does not need to be left out.
We brought a lightweight umbrella stroller for the gondola ride, knowing that we would have to find somewhere to put it when we reached the top. It made it a lot easier keeping a toddler, that has absolutely no fear, safe for the ride and made it easier getting on and off the gondola.
At first when the weather didn’t cooperate, we were frustrated. We are glad that we decided to still take part in the experience because otherwise we definitely would have missed out. Even without the million-dollar view, we still had a great time exploring Crystal Mountain.
Where did you take a gondola ride you enjoyed?
Our visit was sponsored by Crystal Mountain, but as always, our opinions are our own.