This is a serious mountain ascent. I'm an intermediate mountain enthusiast and ex-bike racer and this climb pushed me way past my physical limits. To find the trailhead don't go towards the Snow Lake trailhead. The entrance to this trail is a little foot path right off the main road. You'll get a nice meadow view as you climb for the first few minutes. The trail then rears it's ugly head with a straight-up approach over knee-high boulders. Honestly I've never seen a mountain approach this aggressive. It might meander around a tree or two and levels off twice for about 10 feet but the majority of this climb is at least a staircase grade or steeper. I committed to using hiking poles but the whole time I considered ditching the poles for my scrambling gloves. The trail for the most part is easy to follow if you keep your head up and know how to recognize an established path. Having said that I started loosing my way up towards the summit. It gets really loose and rocky towards the top once you get to the boulder field and it's easy to loose the track. There are quite a few cairns showing the way if you look for them. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get to the summit on this trip. The approach to the summit is on the West side of a ridge and on the day I climbed there was rain & wind blowing sideways on that side of the ridge. With a few hundred feet left to go my legs were really starting to shake, the weather was getting worse and the ridge looked like it would require some pretty technical bouldering so I made the decision to turn around. The hike down was treacherous. My legs were cold and exhausted, my clothes were drenched and the rocks were wet and slippery. Quite an ordeal!
So I did this hike back in May and I ended up having to park about a mile away from the trail head because of how many people decided to hit the trail on the same day. If you're going to to this hike, I highly recommend you going early in the morning. Although the falls are GORGEOUS, the hike is just not worth it when the trail is packed with people and you're literally stepping on peoples ankles because everyone is packed together like sardines and really close to each other. The falls are worth 5 stars, but I am rating it a 3 because it was just too busy.
Danny H. on Rattlesnake Ledge Trail
Loved the views
Suuuuuper easy. Albeit very pretty area it felt like a mile walk by the river with a couple inclines. My friend and I got to the upper part of the falls (the bridge) and kept walking for another mile at least because we felt it couldn't be the end before we realized we were next to a freeway and turned around. Even with that add on we were done with the whole thing in 90 minutes and weren't tired at all. I would def call this a trail and not a hike. The viewpoint was very pretty though
The trail is not well marked. Suggest to follow the AllTrails tracker at least at the start. You can easily miss it.
My apple phone registered ~10.5 miles out and back.
A lot of loose rock on the trail requires caution and proper shoes.
Discovery pass for parking.
Very pretty at the top! Great hike for beginners to determine what elevation you prefer. The only downside is how crowded this trail is on the weekends. It gets so crowded to the point where you are following a train of people. Will be back during the work week.
Never have a stopped so frequently on a hike just to take pictures. You'll enjoy awesome views the entire length of the trail. The trail is pretty easy for the first 4 miles. However once you pass the sign that says Mt. Defiance you can expect one FIERCLY DEFIANT mountain! The last mile was grueling and the turn to the summit was so subtle I almost missed it (thank you AllTrails map!). One of the single best hikes I've done to date. Loved it.