Hikers who venture into this country will encounter evidence of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest’s logging history. The trail leads through miles of logging road which dwindles to a trail into the Glacier Peak Wilderness. Intrepid hikers can find a recently reconstructed trail over Skaar Pass to Circle Peak.
For those who access the area from the Meadow Mountain trail, head down from the parking area and climb 450 feet, enjoying views of Meadow and Mount Pugh, and then abruptly loses 300 feet of elevation. At 1.3 miles is a junction with the Crystal Lake Trail. Find the old Crystal Creek Road at 1.3 miles and turn left.
The road continues climbing and passes a nice campsite. The trail enters an old clearcut at 3.5 miles from the trailhead and deteriorates further. At the east end of the clearcut, the trail ascends 500 feet along an old fireline. The trail levels off and enters the Glacier Peak Wilderness and ends at the untouched forest on the shore of Crystal Lake.
To find the currently unsigned trail from Crystal Lake to Circle Peak, cross to the north side of the outlet stream at the lake, walk across the campsite on the lake shore, and follow the obvious trail leading away from the lake.
You can follow the trail for approximately four miles to an old lookout site at the summit of Circle Peak. The trail contours for about one mile before dropping about 300 feet to Skaar Pass, crossing into the Circle Creek drainage and climbing for about 1.5 miles to reach the first of several meadows.
Follow switchbacks up through forest and meadow another 1.75 miles to the summit ridge of Circle Peak. Don’t bother scrambling the final 200 yards, as the trail is sketchy and somewhat dangerous. Do linger below the lookout, soaking in views that include White Chuck, Glacier, Sloan and Pugh.
From the Crystal Lake trailhead, it is only 5.2 miles to Circle Peak's summit.