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Lake Serene and Bridal Veil Falls

Gold Bar, Washington

based on 26 reviews



7.74 miles

Elevation Gain

2569 ft

Route Type



Added by Scott Kranz

Lake Serene and Bridal Veil Falls is a fantastic hike to see a hidden lake in between two peaks.

Consider this a must-do if you are in Seattle and feel like knocking out two amazing hikes AND getting to see a hidden lake all along US 2.

The trail starts out on an old road with the typical amazing forest surrounding you. After roughly 2 miles the road will end and you can go right (signage is easy to see) to Bridal Veil Falls or you can keep going and go straight to Lake Serene. This is where I would suggest going up to Bridal Veil since it's only an extra mile and totally worth it. Plus there's nothing like swimming under a waterfall.

For Bridal Veil, it's a staircase to the top (1/2 mile up, 1/2 mile back) and if the falls are flowing, you can hear them all the way up. There will also be water on the trail itself, so make sure you have good hiking shoes (possibly waterproofed) with a good tread. As with any falls, the rocks around it are slick, so be careful and if you are brave, don't hesitate to jump on in. There's nothing like a cold waterfall beating down on you to make you feel alive.

Once back on the main trail you'll cross over a bridge, good place for a photo, and then start to climb. It will be a combo of stone steps, rocks and trail, but just be prepared to push (gaining 1300' in 1.5 miles). Along the way you will see a bunch of peaks in the Wild Sky Wildnerness.

At the top you will see the stunning Lake Serene and all its glory. There is a 3000 vertical foot wall that sits behind the lake, so venture around a little bit before stopping to each your snacks/ lunch. If you're up for it, don't hesitate to jump in! Go back down the same way you came and take it slow, you've done all the hard work already.

This hike will be WAY less crowded in the winter, but be very prepared with your gear if you do. Snowshoes, snow gear, micro-spikes, etc. are all very good investments if you wanting to go up during this time.

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Lake Serene and Bridal Veil Falls Reviews

Did this hike on a sunny morning in early May and it was gorgeous! There was still some snow at the lake which made for great photos. Note the trail gets very crowded and is a little rocky but in general is a family and dog friendly trail. When you reach the lake follow the path to the right to get to a big rock - perfect spot for lunch, taking a nap, or for jumping off into the water on a hot day!

My wife and I did this hike yesterday morning into the afternoon. Started out about 9am. Made the mistake of going on Father's Day weekend as there were a ton of people. This is a hike I would recommend doing during an early weekday morning, maybe even earlier in the year. I would also stress that this is not exactly a child friendly hike. I did see several kids and many of them seemed to be having a hard time. I have a four year old and would consider taking him on the Falls trail but certainly not the Lake trail. Which brings me to my next point. DO THE FALLS TRAIL FIRST. Trust me, you will not want to do the falls trail after the long and arduous lake trail. As far as recommended gear goes, take a daypack. Plenty of snacks and maybe even a full meal. Lots of water (I used a camelbak) is also recommended. A quality pair of high top hiking boots is a MUST. I'd say roughly 60-75% of the trail is jagged rocks that will wreck your feet and ankles if appropriate shoes are not worn. I also recommend a good set of trekking poles for the descent. The trail is worth every ounce of effort. Beautiful, scenic landscapes, a great view of Mt Index and the gorgeous green waters of Lake Serene make the Lake trail worth it. The falls trail is a must as well! Definitely bring your camera and maybe even a GoPro! One of my favorite hikes I've done thus far!

Great hike! Went today (4/29/16) and it was a little foggy and rainy so not too many people. The lake was really foggy and we couldn't see much, but we stuck around for a little while and it cleared up! It was absolutely beautiful! The lake was still partially iced over, so I couldn't get a good picture of the reflection but I plan on going back this summer!

Just did this hike in late April and the trail was completely snow free. Compared to a lot of other hikes east of Seattle, it was a welcome change. Hit the trail early to avoid the crowds, take the mile detour to see the falls and then tackle the switchbacks up to Lake Serene. Once you're up there, grab a snack and enjoy the view..it was beautiful.

This hike was fairly difficult the second half. About a 2 mile trek up stairs, to wit my wife called it Mt. Stairmaster. The view at the top is definitely worth it and even in mid April the lake was still frozen with a layer of snow. The craggy mountains we majestic on either side. Other reviews gave fantastic advice to get there early. We got there at 6 and there were only a few other hikers but on the way down at around 10, it was way too crowded to be enjoyable. Also if you are those obnoxious people that blast your music from a Bluetooth speaker from your backpack, I wanted to punch you in the head and smash your speaker for polluting this hike. That is all.

This is a popular hike, and for good reason. I just hiked it this past weekend and was very happy with the reward I received at Lake Serene. The views of the Lake and the towering cliffs of Mt. Index are phenomenal. I suggest going early to beat the crowds. While this hike may be best in the summer, I did it in April and really enjoyed the view of the still frozen lake and snow covered mountains.

Leave No Trace

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