John Guilford's Hikes
Lake Serene and Bridal Veil Falls on 2015-06-13
People: (including myself): Pam
Trailhead: 11:50 600 0
Trail to Falls: 12:30 1200 1.7
Bridal Veil Falls: 12:45 1500 2.1
Back to Main Trail: 1:10 1200 2.6
Bridal Veil Creek: 1:15 1120 2.8
Lake Serene: 2:20 2521 4.8
Leave Lake Serene: 3:15 2521 5.2
Bridal Veil Creek: 4:30 1120 7.3
Trail to Falls: 4:35 1200 7.6
Trailhead: 5:10 600 9.3
Note: this mileage was based on GPS and is probably
somewhat higher than it should be.
Lake Serene has been on my "bucket list" for decades. It used to be that
the "trail" to the lake was more of a boot track than a trail with a
scary reputation. But that was a while ago. These days the trail
is hiker friendly though still a workout to gain the elevation.
Much of the trail has stones set into the ground.
I'm sure this helps contain
the mud in the wet season and gives firm ground to walk on, but it also
made me want to watch my footing for most of the hike. That was unfortunate
as the forest the trail climbs through is quite beautiful. Take the time
to pause and look about so you don't miss it.
To get to the trailhead, take US 2 to near milepost 35. Just west of where
US 2 crosses the South Fork Skykomish river you'll find the Mt. Index road on
the south side of US 2. The trailhead is on the right in less than a half
These days, the hikes (either to Bridal Veil Falls or to Lake Serene) are very
popular, especially on the weekend. We got there a bit before noon and
wondered about parking. I think we got there late enough that some of the
earlier folks were leaving thus opening up parking spots. There were a number
of vehicles parked out on the Mt. Index road, but when we drove into the
trailhead parking, we found a spot without undo difficulty.
The trail is well marked and starts off along an old road. The grade
climbs consistently though the slope is relatively gentle. About a mile
and a half in, a side trail leads off to Bridal Veil Falls.
From here, a half mile trail climbs to the Falls. The entire 1328
foot falls consists of 4 discrete tiers, two of which are 250 and 350 feet
high. From the end of the trail, you can climb over rocks to near the base
of one of these tiers. There is a small pool there, and at times the
falling water lands in the pool with a sound akin to surf on a beach.
After checking out the falls and taking some photos,
we retraced our path
back down to the main trail. The trail descends a bit before crossing
Bridal Veil creek on a good sized bridge. Shortly afterwards the more
serious climbing starts. In many places they've put in "stairs" that
control erosion and makes the passage much easier. It boggles my mind to
think of the labor it took to construct this trail.
After climbing 23 switchbacks in another hour,
you arrive at Lake Serene. The main trail runs along the right side of the
lake after crossing the lake's outflow on a friendly log bridge. That
trails ends up at "Lunch Rock", a large flat rock that makes a good (and
popular) destination for lunch. When we were there, there was quite a
crowd of mostly younger people. More than a couple were brave enough to
take a swim in the lake (which must have been just above freezing).
After eating and resting for a while we got ready to head down. Just
across the log bridge (away from the main trail) is a short (one minute)
side trail that leads to the top of the uppermost falls. We found the hike
back down to be not nearly as crowded as it had been on the way up.
Perhaps it was the time of day? It was nice to have it a bit quieter.
The parking lot was much emptier when we got back down, though there were
still people starting up the trail. Perhaps they were only going to Bridal
It had been a lovely June day, warm but not too hot, with sun and great
views. It is easy to see what this trail is so popular now.
Bridal Veil Falls.
Bridal Veil Falls from the other side of Bridal Veil creek.
Bridal Veil Falls from near the pool at the base of the falls.
Bridge over Bridal Veil creek.
Pam approaching one of the myriad "stairs" on the trail.
Lake Serene from Lunch Rock. If you look carefully you can see
a swimmer out in the middle of the lake.
View down valley from upper trail.
Log bridge at the outflow of Lake Serene.
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Last updated on: Mon Jun 15 17:07:52 PDT 2015