Lake Serene - Bridal Veil Falls, Lake Serene Trailhead, Seattle: Alpine Lakes Wilderness - Snoqualmie Pass - Central Cascades, Washington

Lake Serene - Bridal Veil Falls - 7.8 miles

Lake Serene Trailhead

Lake Serene rewards a strenuous 1400' climb up 23 switchbacks on the flanks of Mt Index

Lake Serene rewards a strenuous 1400' climb up 23 switchbacks on the flanks of Mt Index

Round-Trip Length: 7.8 miles (4.5 miles RT to Bridal Veil Falls)
Start-End Elevation: 600’ – 2,598’ (2,614’ max elevation)
Elevation Change: +1,998’ net elevation gain (+2,037’ total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Strenuous
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Lake Serene - Bridal Veil Falls - 7.8 Miles Round-Trip

Lake Serene is located 3.9 miles from Lake Serene Trailhead off Stevens Pass Highway in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The Lake Serene Trail climbs steep, laddered switchbacks through old growth forests to the lake, set under the imposing north peak of Mount Index. Bridal Veil Falls is accessible from the main trail, an enjoyable side trip and worthwhile destination in itself:

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

The trail begins with a gradual climb up a rocky abandoned logging road that's in process of conversion to a hiking trail. The road-trail is lined by a disturbed-forest composite of alder, black-cap raspberry, thimbleberry and small swampy plots of devil’s club and skunk cabbage.

It reaches a junction with another road coming in from the left (1.3 miles : 1,190'); follow signs right and continue straight where a spur splits right (1.6 miles : 1,205'). The trail reaches the Bridal Veil Falls spur at 1.7 miles (1,174’), which diverts just over .5 miles and 386' up switchbacks to a spectacular viewing area under the falls.

This area was mined in the early 1900’s for copper, gold and silver. You'll find the remains of an old mining cabin being reclaimed by nature near the falls.

The main trail continues down to a bridge over Bridal Veil Creek and passes under weeping slabs (2.0 miles : 1,180'). The next two miles climb over 1400' on 23 rocky, occasionally laddered switchbacks through a forest highlighted by enormous firs, hemlocks and cedars.

Travel eases past 3.7 miles with views of the north peak of Mount Index to Lake Serene (3.9 miles : 2,598'). Stick to developed paths here as restoration of the damaged lake shore is underway. Continue .2 miles around the lake to lunch rock for a fabulous viewing, swimming and picnic area.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N47 48.546 W121 34.426 — 0.0 miles: Bridal Veil Falls Trailhead - 600'
  • N47 48.178 W121 34.428 — 0.5 miles: Gradual ascent along logging road - 786'
  • N47 47.863 W121 34.678 — 1.0 miles: continuing on logging road - 965'
  • N47 47.744 W121 34.232 — 1.3 miles: Continue to the right at junction - 1,192'
  • N47 47.575 W121 34.239 — 1.7 miles: Bridal Veil Falls junction - 1,174'
  • N47 47.476 W121 33.865 — 2.3 miles: Cross bridge then resume ascent - 1,403'
  • N47 47.389 W121 33.550 — 2.7 miles: Steep switchbacks - 1,825'
  • N47 47.344 W121 33.701 — 3.3 miles: Continue steep switchbacks - 2,225'
  • N47 47.117 W121 34.091 — 3.7 miles: Trail levels out on way to lake - 2,550'
  • N47 47.104 W121 34.234 — 3.9 miles: Lake Serene - 2,598'

Worth Noting

  • A half-mile spur off the main trail leads up to Bridal Veil Falls. It's well worth the effort, and an easier alternative to climbing the switchbacks to Lake Serene. The roundtrip hike to Bridal Veil Falls from Lake Serene Trailhead is 4.5 miles.
  • Note exceptionally large old growth Sitka spruce, Western red cedar and Western hemlock trees past the Bridal Veil Falls junction.

Camping and Backpacking Information

  • An overnight Wilderness Permit must be filled out at the TH and carried for the duration of your trip in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Max group size is 12.

  • Camping and campfires are not permitted within 1/4 mile of Lake Serene.

  • Pack out all garbage. Practice Leave No Trace Ethics.

Fishing Information

  • Fishing is allowed with a valid WA state fishing license.

  • Contact the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for more information.

  • wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/
Email: [email protected]
Sport | Commercial Licenses: 360.902.2434
Disability Licenses: 360.902.2460

Rules and Regulations

  • A free day use or overnight Wilderness Permit must be filled out at the TH and carried for the duration of your trip in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
  • Dogs must be leashed at all times in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

Directions to Trailhead

The Lake Serene Trailhead is located .25 miles from Highway 2 just before the town of Index, WA.

From Highway 2 (Stevens Pass Highway), turn right onto the graveled Mt. Index Road just east of milepost 35 near the town of Index. This turn is located after the first bridge on the Skykomish River, but just before the second bridge. From here, proceed past a split for .25 miles, going right at a second split into the parking lot.

The parking lot holds 50 cars and has two bathrooms. 

Contact Information

Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest | Skykomish Ranger District (between Skykomish and Foss River Road)
74920 NE Stevens Pass Hwy | PO Box 305
Skykomish, WA 98288
360.677.2414

Trip Reports

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