Saturday, June 03, 2006

Lake Serene

Quick facts
Driving distance from Seattle: ~1.5 hours (depending on traffic)
Hiking distance (both ways): around 7.2 miles (11.5km)
Elevation gain: 2,000ft (610m)
Green Trails Map: 142
You need the NW Forest Pass to park at the trailhead


Lake Serene[Lake Serene]


This is a very nice early season hike: it is low enough to be totally snow-free while many of the upper hikes are still plagued with melting slush. Also, while the hike turns into a busy highway later in the season, at this time of the year the traffic is still manageable and you can get a spot at the Lunch Rock for great views of Lake Serene and Mt. Index ominously towering over the lake.

I'd rate the hike as easy to moderate; the first mile and a half follows an old road and it climbs up at a steady but rather gnetle angle. Then you come to the cross roads: you can go to the waterfalls (just half a mile) or continue towards Lake Serene (2 miles). The hike to the lake starts getting slightly more exciting after the split: first you cross Bridal Veils right under the waterfall (first over the bridge and then by boulder hopping). Very pleasant. Then the trail turns steep for a while as you follow a series of switchbacks. Higher up you cross a few meadows with nice views of the valley below and eventually you reach the lake! Make sure to follow the trail all the way to the Lunch Rock (you will know it when you've reached it) even though the initial views are quite nice. The lake is still partially frozen and there is plenty of snow on the slopes around. When we were there, the lake was perfectly still and the surrounding mountains reflected nearly perfectly in the water.

Bridal Veils Falls[Bridal Veils Falls]

You needn't be worried if you can make this hike: the two times I went there, I saw both young children and retired ladies making it to the top in pretty good spirit. It took us 2hrs on the way up and 1.5hrs on the way down. There is some mud on the trail so sturdy shoes (hiking boots, if possible) are a good idea.

Driving directions
This hike is accessible from Rt 2. Coming from Seattle, turn right immediately after the 35 mile post. Very quickly you will come to a large parking lot. The entire trip is along the Lake Serene Trail (#1068); see also driving directions and other information from the forest service.

P.S. A couple of years ago I wrote up directions to the trailhead and some other practical info at: http://www.gajos.org/travel/serene/.

Resources
The following are very good books that cover the Lake Serene trail and other good hikes in the area:











3 Comments:

Blogger Chryscole said...

I was wondering if you could tell me more about the switchbacks on the way to Lake Serene? A friend and I went to the falls last year and the hike was easy but we first took the right to go to the top of the falls and being afraid of heights I was terrified on those switchbacks. I'd love to get to the Lake but am unsure if I would wuss out.

Thanks in advance for any info ;0)

Great Pics Too

10:44 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

I wish more people did what you are doing...All the relevant things that I want to know...can kids make it, is this accessible early in the season, and how to park....Thank you so much for this. Great info, pics, and format. Please keep blogging, I will keep checking. ~Heather (new treehugger just moved to Seattle)

11:11 AM  
Blogger Chryscole said...

Heather, I would suggest hitting the Visitor Center in Sultan on your way to the falls/lake. They have a ton of information on the hikes off SR 2 and will certainly be able to help you in detail. As far as parking, you must have a permit (again visitor center) and it's at the start of the trail (dirt road). I suppose it depends on the age of your children, you will not be able to maneuver a stroller on the trail. You might also consider the hike to Wallace Falls. Since in Seattle I would also suggest a 30 min drive to Snoqualmie Falls, it is certainly a tourist mecca but it is worth seeing; short and easy for most anyone (including children).

8:33 AM  

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