Crystal Mountain

A Mountain Basecamp

Tailgating at Crystal Mountain

Tips for enjoying an RV boondocking adventure when skiing or snowboarding at Crystal Mountain Resort in Washington’s Cascade Range.

I have kind of a unique connection with my parents because of B-Lot. I think teenagers and adults often have very different things that they like to do, but with us and with most of the kids up here, having that shared hobby that you just love to do and share that stoke is just so incredible. And then coming back here at night we'll play cards, we'll go and hangout at other people's trailers and to have that outlet, to have those positive experiences with your parents as a teenager is incredible.
Hailey | Snowboarder

RVing and alpine skiing are two hobbies that you typically don’t think of together. However, adventure seekers can combine them while boondocking at Crystal Mountain. Located in Washington’s Cascade Range, this popular ski resort transforms into a snowy paradise each winter, beckoning to skiers and snowboarders. And yes, it’s possible to bring your RV along for the fun. 

An Invitation to Winter Adventure at Crystal Mountain

Crystal Mountain Resort is located between Seattle and Yakima in Washington’s Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. While it is a year-round destination for all kinds of outdoor recreation, winter is especially magical, as the spot averages nearly 500 inches of snow per year. 

The picturesque snow-globe landscape of mountains and pines becomes a backdrop for adventure, as Crystal Mountain’s 2,600 acres of terrain open for the winter season. As Washington’s largest ski resort, it offers 57 named runs covering 2,400 vertical feet, Skiers and snowboarders can find a run for practically any skill level.

Those seeking a slower pace can go snowshoeing through the forested trails or take a gondola ride for views of snow-capped Mount Rainier. The resort also offers terrain parks with a variety of thrilling jumps and obstacles. A number of restaurants offer onsite dining for a relaxed meal after a day on the slopes. Head to the Summit House to dine in Washington’s highest-elevation restaurant.

Boondocking at Crystal Mountain

Winters at Crystal Mountain Resort are so enchanting, you may not want to leave, which is why some choose to bring their RV along and make the stay much more comfortable. The resort has two ways for RVers to stay onsite: daily reservations and season passes. 

Boondocking on Crystal Mountain is a unique experience. The sites are situated in two parking lots (the B Lot and G Lot), and RVers have access to 30- or 50-amp electric. Due to the winter conditions, water is not available. 

In addition to not having water or sewer hookups, the camping lot at Crystal Mountain doesn’t offer a dump station or shower house. You must come prepared for a self-contained boondocking experience. 

Despite the limitations of camping at Crystal Mountain, campers return again and again, year after year. There’s something special about having the ability to roll out of a cozy RV bed, hop on a shuttle and then a gondola, and be at the top of a ski slope in mere minutes. 

You may not have access to many typical campground amenities, but you will have amazing access to the slopes. Plus, many campers enjoy the unique experience of gathering around a campfire in the snow, surrounded by majestic pines and peaks. 

Family RV Tailgating at Crystal Mountain

Fifteen-year-old Hailey and her family have been camping at Crystal Mountain each winter for around half of her life. Hailey has a passion for snowboarding. She loves combining her enjoyment of nature with the adrenaline rush she receives from cutting a path through fresh powder on her board.

Each winter, Hailey’s parents haul their RV to the B Lot at Crystal Mountain to set up camp for the winter. Hailey notes, “Teenagers and adults often have very different things that they like to do,” but her family finds togetherness in the B Lot and their shared love of the outdoor recreation offered at Crystal Mountain.

Hailey and her family also value the opportunity to connect with other campers who share a similar love of the landscape and the slopes. A true sense of community develops among the campers “tailgating” at the B Lot, as many have a season pass to stay through the winter. They hit the slopes during the day and return to the lot at night for campfires, family game nights, group meals, and more.

As Hailey states, “Once you see it, you can’t not love it.”

Tips for Boondocking at Crystal Mountain

If you’d like to tailgate at Crystal Mountain in the winter seasons, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • RV sites offer electric hookups, but water and sewer hookups are not offered. The lot doesn’t have a dump station or shower facilities. 
  • RV season passes do fill up each year, especially for 50-amp electric hookups, so book early for the best chances.
  • RV sites vary by length, so make sure to check the restrictions when selecting a site. Longer sites can accommodate RVs of up to 45 feet in length, while shorter sites max out at 28 feet. 
  • You can also book campsites during the summer season.

Winter Camping at Ski Resorts

Crystal Mountain is not the only ski resort to offer winter camping. In fact many offer up this type of accommodation across the U.S. Booking a campsite for the whole winter season is convenient, so you aren’t having to tow your rig or set up camp multiple times. It’s like having your own lodge at a ski resort that’s ready and waiting whenever you want to camp. 

With proper planning and a spirit of adventure, you can enjoy the best of both worlds while winter camping at a ski resort, waking up to snowy peaks and ending your days around a cozy campfire. This unique experience redefines winter recreation, bringing the beauty of the mountains to your doorstep.

Crystal Mountain in Pierce County, Washington
Crystal Mountain in Pierce County, Washington
Crystal Mountain in Pierce County, Washington
Crystal Mountain in Pierce County, Washington
Crystal Mountain in Pierce County, Washington
Crystal Mountain in Pierce County, Washington
Crystal Mountain in Pierce County, Washington
Crystal Mountain in Pierce County, Washington
Crystal Mountain in Pierce County, Washington
Crystal Mountain in Pierce County, Washington
Crystal Mountain in Pierce County, Washington
Crystal Mountain in Pierce County, Washington
Crystal Mountain in Pierce County, Washington
Crystal Mountain in Pierce County, Washington
Crystal Mountain in Pierce County, Washington
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5th Wheel Trailer
5th Wheel Trailer living and kitchen area

Living and kitchen area

Kitchens in fifth wheels go beyond offering full appliances and can even have a kitchen island making it seem like you are cooking in your kitchen at home.

5th Wheel Trailer Bunkroom

Bunkhouse

Kids love sleeping in their own cozy spaces separated from parents. The bunkhouse is usually claimed as a fort within the first five mintues. Kids don't mind sharing a room in this setting and the conversation and fun can continue for siblings, cousins, and friends even after the lights go out.

5th Wheel Trailer Raised Living Room

Raised living room

The raised front section boasts a comfortable and spacious living area with large windows as well as entertainment systems.

5th Wheel Trailer Private Bedroom

Private Bedroom

5th wheels have ample space and are able to efficiently divide the living space and a private bedroom.

5th Wheel Trailer Bathroom

Bathroom

5th wheel bathrooms contain a full sized-shower, toilet, cabinet space and large sinks.

Towable

5th Wheel RVs

Fifth wheels often come with the same amenities as a motorhome or travel trailer but are constructed with a raised forward section that provides a more spacious bi-level floor plan. These models are designed to be towed by a pickup truck.

  • Sleeps 4-8 people
  • Slideouts can add three extra feet of width per slide
  • Ample Storage
  • Large living space & separate bedroom
  • Full-sized bathroom and toilet