Radiation trapping occurs in rare-earth-doped active media with strong spectral overlap of luminescence and ground-state absorption. It is demonstrated experimentally that a confocal measurement mitigates the influence of radiation trapping on the measured luminescence lifetime, hence allowing for direct extraction of the lifetime from the measured decay curves. The radiation trapping effect is largely suppressed by probing a small sample volume and rejecting the photons reemitted from the unpumped region. This non-destructive measurement method is applied to ytterbium (Yb3+) activated potassium double tungstate crystalline layers with Yb3+ concentrations ranging from 1.2 at.% up to 76 at.% (~8 × 1019 – 5 × 1021 cm−3). The measured lifetime values are comparable to the results reported for Yb3+-doped potassium double tungstate powder diluted in liquid.