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Why Sunrise Is the Best Time to Explore Rattlesnake Ledge

See the world before everyone else is awake.

By: Austin Johnson + Save to a List

During the day, Rattlesnake Ledge is one of the most popular hikes within the one hour of Seattle. This means that the parking lot, as well as the road leading to the trailhead, is full of cars. If you hate crowds like this, then this is the time for you to go.

You don't need much for this adventure. Heck, they even have a shuttle service here so who needs a car? Anywho, some useful items to bring include a headlamp or something more than your iPhones flashlight, sturdy shoes, water, food and a blanket for those cool crisp mornings. If you are into photography, bring your camera. Make some memories, but don't forget to enjoy the moment as well. 

You want to arrive roughly 1.5 hours before you expect the sun to rise. It can take anywhere from 45 minutes to a 1.5 hrs to get to the top. In the early morning, the parking lot can be closed. However, don't fret. There is plenty of road parking.

The trail is well used which allows for smooth sailing all the way to the top. The gradual incline allows for a nice and steady pace up. For some, you don't even break a sweat. You climb roughly 500 ft. per mile. As you climb you will start to notice the sun peeking through the treetops. After several switchbacks, you finally come to a fork in the road. To the left goes Rattlesnake mountain, and to the right, the Ledge. Go to the ledge for awe-inspiring views of the Cascade foothills. 

Once at the top you will encounter a rocky ledge which is the best place to view the sunrise from. Be careful here because there is a cliff edge and it is a long fall. There is also a large opening which is easy to jump over or walk around. Find a spot and relax as you wait for the suns rays to gradually pop up over the peaks to the east. When you get ready to take photos, be conscientious of those around you. At the top, you have views of Rattlesnake Lake below, and Chester Morse Lake to the southeast as well as many other mountains such as Mt. Washington, Mailbox Peak, and Mt. Si

On the way out PACK IT OUT. Anything you bring in, please take it out. Keep the forest clean.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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