TRAIL OF THE WEEK: Our seasonally accessible trail information and trip report. Found online or delivered to your in box every Sunday night.
Nestled beneath the snow-capped massif of Mount Index, Lake Serene offers a peace and paradise that lives up to its name. The trail begins on an old service road, but soon you will find yourself crossing trickling creeks, surrounded by a forest of mossy maples and evergreens. Roughly .5 miles into the trail there is a turnoff for Bridal Veil Falls, which is an additional .5 miles away. If you don’t have time to make the expedition to see the falls up close you’ll still have an opportunity to see them from the perch of a wooden bridge that offers scenic views of the roaring Bridal Veil Falls from below.
The trail narrows and steepens shortly after you pass the falls, giving way to stairs and switchbacks that ascend into the mountains. Be prepared for a workout: the trail gains about 1300 feet in 1.5 miles. Even if you find the climb a struggle, don’t even consider turning back. After you gain altitude you will suddenly break through the trees to find uninterrupted vistas of snowy Mount Index and the surrounding Cascades. As you make your way along the unsheltered mountainside be prepared to find deep snow and icy creek crossings. In the winter it is best to be prepared for any weather, so bring crampons and/or snowshoes for traction. The trail gradually levels out, dipping into a small basin where the Lake Serene resides, swollen with ice and snow.
Season: All season
Length: 7.2 miles
Difficulty: My crazy uncle could do it
Variety: Out and back
Elevation Gain: 2,000 feet
Highest Point: 2,521 feet
Lowest Point: 521 feet
Maps: Green Trails Map #142
Open to: hikers. Dogs allowed.
Passes and permits required: NW Forest Pass at trailhead
From 1-405 take exit 23 towards Woodinville/Wenachee/US-2. Merge onto WA-522 E and continue for 13.4 miles. Turn left onto US-2 E/Stevens Pass Highway. Follow the highway for 20.7 miles and turn right onto Mt. Index Road. Follow the dirt road for .4 miles and turn right at the first fork, following the sign for Lake Serene Trail 1068. Follow the road for 500 feet to reach the parking area.