In an area with a heavy concentration of cross-country skiing options, Crystal Springs remains fairly uncrowded. The area is slightly farther from I-90 than Cabin Creek Cross Country Trails or Hyak, and the parking lot is shared with enthusiastic snowmobilers. Contrary to popular belief, however, the cross-country trails at Crystal Springs are completely separate from the snowmobile tracks, and the trails are open to dogs and snowshoers. All things considered, Crystal Springs is one of the best kept secrets for cross-country skiing in Washington.
And the views begin from the parking area, which is surrounded by mountain peaks (in addition to a sno-park permit, you'll need a groomed trails permit). Park near the trailhead in the non-motorized use area, which is clearly marked on the north side of the parking lot.
Once you are in the old-growth forest of Crystal Springs, plenty of available trail routes await. Starting on the Beginner Loop is an easy way to find your rhythm and expose yourself to some of the views you'll be seeing all day. From there, check out the meadow loop and forest loop to see some Pacific Northwest scenery at it's best, and if you're able to sustain some climbing and gracefully travel down hill on cross-country skis, the Rollercoaster loop is a must and can guarantee you some solitude in this already quiet sanctuary.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.