This past Saturday evening I experienced the true meaning of breathtaking. After riding up 2,500 vertical feet in the brand new gondola at Crystal Mountain, you’re as up close and personal with Mount Rainier as you’ll ever get without climbing her. It’s only 12 miles away here, but looks much closer. Since you’ve already climbed some while driving up to the resort, now you’re at 6,872 feet. You can feel the crisp chill she sheds off her slopes even on an 80 degree day.
At the top you can hike, sit in the chairs provided and just marvel at Mother Nature’s creations, picnic or dine at the Summit House. Since it only seats 65, and word has gotten out about this must-do activity, the dinners, which are served on Fridays and Saturdays, have been sold out through the end of the season. Sunday brunch and lunches should still be an option, though.
The food served is world class and dinner at the highest restaurant in Washington State should definitely be on your bucket list. Try the lemon cake dessert and the halibut – I recommend both.
The gondola will run daily through Sept. 11 and then switch to Saturday-Sunday only through Oct. 2. Then it closes until ski season begins.