HIKE DESCRIPTION: Rattlesnake Ledge is a great hike if you’re looking for a workout. It’s a great hike if you’re looking for impressive views.
But if you’re looking to get away from the crowds, you might want to look someplace else.
After a short approach along the bank of Rattlesnake Lake, this hike is almost entirely uphill, but that hasn’t kept it from being one of the most popular trails in the state.
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It draws a crowd for many reasons. The trailhead is easily accessible. The constant uphill grade is perfect for a quick workout for those training for more challenging trips. And even if you don’t like hiking uphill, the agony is over pretty quickly compared to more challenging hikes in the area such as Mount Si and Mailbox Peak.
The views are blocked by trees most of the way up, but once you reach the ridge (after about 2 miles), follow a short spur path to a spot where photo opportunities abound. Rattlesnake Lake and the parking lot are 1,160 feet below, and evergreen-covered peaks surround you.
This is the end of the line for most hikers, but the trail does continue upward, giving you an opportunity to get away from the masses.
Instead of turning right at the signed intersection at the 2-mile mark, consider turning left and continuing another 0.4 miles up the trail. Here you’ll find a footpath to a lesser known, 300-foot-higher overlook. This will extend your hike to 5 miles.
DIRECTIONS: From Interstate 90 near North Bend, take Exit 32 and follow 436th Avenue Southeast south for about 4 miles to the parking lot. The trailhead is well marked.
DIFFICULTY RATING: 3 (1 = easiest, 5 = most difficult).
MILES ROUND TRIP: 4.2.
ELEVATION: 1,160 feet.
BEST TIME OF THE YEAR: March-November.
MAP: Green Trails 205S: Rattlesnake Mountain.
PASS: Northwest Forest Pass.
ALSO: : The trailhead is large, but can fill up quickly on days with pleasant weather. Trout fishing (catch-and-release, special gear rules) is allowed if you have a state fishing license. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife website says fishing is best April-October. Toilets are located lakeside just before the trail begins climbing upward. Dogs are permitted (and commonplace) on this trail. They are required to be on leashes. Several geocaches are stashed along the trail. The John Wayne Pioneer Trail also starts at the lake and continues east to the Idaho border
INFO: Snoqualmie Ranger District, 425-888-1421.
Craig Hill, firstname.lastname@example.org