Lake Serene Trail and Bridal Veil Falls

HARD 876 reviews

Lake Serene Trail and Bridal Veil Falls is a 7.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Gold Bar, Washington that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, nature trips, and birding and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
7.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,660 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

snow

Lake Serene is a alpine lake nestled in the Cascade mountains of Washington State. Lake Serene Trail is a popular hike within the Mount Baker Snoqualamie Forest. The trailhead can be accessed off of Mount Index Road near Stevens Pass. Make sure to get an early start in order to get a parking spot at the trailhead. What the trail lacks in length, it makes up for in elevation gain. The first mile and a half winds across a well manicured and slightly inclined path, at the end of which you can choose to go another mile on Bridal Veil Falls Trail to Bridal Veil Falls or another two miles to the main trail to Lake Serene. The extra mile is certainly worth the side trip to see the falls. One you have returned to Serene Lake Trail, the two miles to the lake traverse a large climb, through a series of long, wooden steps, rocky passages, and switchbacks. Approximately 1.4 miles into the lake trail, you will encounter a very steep grade. Once you reach the lake, you will be rewarded by the stunning blue lake is that is clear, cool, inviting, and surrounded by high ridges and remnants of the previous winter snowfall. Find a spot along this gorgeous lake to eat lunch and take a rest. From the lake, you can also cross a log bridge and take a short trail that will take you to a large, smooth rock named "Lunch Rock", where you will find people relaxing and jumping into the lake. When you are ready, return via the way you came. This is a great hike and a must see destination that will greatly satisfy your sense of adventure and search of natural beauty. A Northwest Forest Pass is required.

Insane views. semi-steep with the occasional patch of snow approaching the lake.

hiking
muddy
snow
2 days ago

This was a thrilling and energizing hike. Wasn't too sure how to pack for this hike, (ie. Snowshoes, yaktrax, or micro spikes), but I packed my yaktraxs, and was glad I did. The last 1/4 mile was covered in packed snow. You can get away with good hiking boots alone, but the extra traction helps with the slippery accent and decent. The frozen lake was a great site, but even more amazing was all the avalanches occurring across the lake. We started our hike at 1:30 pm, and reached the lake at 4:10. We were back down at 6:45 pm. Head lamps were a must, and very much used. It was exciting to hike back down in the cover of night, and moonlight.

hiking
5 days ago

Hiked up about 1.5 hours at a slow pace and did not quite make it to the lake. Trail was in good condition; wet and rainy but no snow or ice. Saw other hikers both solo and in groups. Seems well trafficked for a Thursday and therefore great for the solo hiker! Lots of parking (2:00pm Thursday). Bring Northwest Forest Pass. Bathrooms still closed. Beautiful hike!

hiking
8 days ago

We hiked on 1/12/19. Clear trail most of the way with slick rocks and compacted snow near the top. We managed with athletic shoes, but more traction is highly recommended. Much colder and windy at the lake, but beautiful. High foot traffic. Bathroom is locked due to the government shutdown...

11 days ago

Beautiful trail, we hiked it on Jan 9. Majority of hike has slushy snow on it - it rained the night before which made some of the spots fairly slick. Decent amount of steps as well as occasional rocks. Microspikes encouraged. Beautiful lake - we had it all to ourselves!

hiking
16 days ago

Did this Jan 2, 2019. Beautiful views! I’d say there’s not snow until 2/3 of the way up? Maybe 3/4? Not a lot but enough that micro spikes made life 1000% easier. Would be tricky to do without, especially coming down - the snow is packed down enough on the trail that it’s quite slick and you’d be sliding down. The lake was very pretty and the views were lovely the whole way up. I’d say this is moderately difficult, with the last couple miles to the top being quite steep. It’s also closer to 9 miles according to my Strava recording. Took us about 4 hours to do with a snack break at the top.

hiking
18 days ago

Completed this a few months ago. Was great.

hiking
18 days ago

Well maintained trail. Stairs at a lot of places add convenience but feel not belonging there. waterfall first. if you feel you have exhausted less than 30% energy, go for the lake. On 1st Jan, the last one mile had snow requiring microspikes. I did without them but had to struggle a lot. Ample parking space and toilets in parking as well as when you reach lake serene. Mesmerizing view of lake serene from lunch point in winter.

20 days ago

Amazing hike. The hike to the waterfall is filled with clear ice so extremely slippery. The lake is beautiful! Try going on a clear day if you can.

22 days ago

go in the winter time.

hiking
1 month ago

this is an easy to moderate hike. there was no snow until 5mins before we got to the lake.

hiking
1 month ago

A fairly challenging hike with one of the most beautiful alpine lakes at the top! Did this one a few years back and remember really loving it.

trail running
1 month ago

This is a great hike. There was Snow in the last .5 miles, but the trail is still easy to follow. There are not too many views before the top, and the Falls always underwhelm me, but Lake Serene is just beautiful, and the tall cliffs that surround it are so magnificent. The sound of snow cascading off the cliffs sound like thunder.
It is a hard hike, but worth the effort. My only reason for the 4 star is because it is a very popular hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Fantastic day hike - the lake was stunning with the sun coming through the peaks of the mountains. Bridal falls is an incredible bonus of this hike...trails were in good condition all the way up, but did get a bit slick towards the top as they turn into mostly rock.

hiking
2 months ago

We did this today and it was a cool and crisp day. The trail definitely gets more steep after the falls, but it's worth it to make it to the beautiful lake. Bring layers! Got hot on the way up from the exertion, but the lake area was very cold and windy. There was ice in places with some very slippery rocks near the top, which slowed our pace. I recommend poles for this very rocky trail.

hiking
2 months ago

Good hike. Can be muddy in areas. Very well maintained trail.

hiking
2 months ago

We decided on this trail and we all enjoyed our time on the hike. Don’t stop at the lake keep following the trail and you will end up at a massive bolder you will want to see. Beautiful views make this a must do.. The falls are worth the extra steps.

2 months ago

Highly-recommend trail!!! There are two trails separated when walking about 40 mins. The trail starts getting harder once u finish bridal veil and set foot to Lake Serene,because there are so many rocky switchbacks and the accumulated ice makes them much harder. Watch your steps, cuz the rocks covered with ice are so slippery, and my friend even slipped three times

2 months ago

This was overall a moderate-ish hard hike. Like the rest of the reviewers, recommend doing the bridal veil falls first. There’s a small loop near that takes you closer to the falls and then back. The trail starts getting harder once you finish bridal veil and set foot to lake serene. With 23 switchbacks in 2 miles, this is a beast of a hike. The only thing that makes switchbacks harder is rocky switchbacks. But the trail has so many treats with little falls all over, that distracts you from your screaming knees. Quite a few creek crossings as well. Lake Serene is absolutely mind blowing. Definitely hike up to the lunch rock once you reach the lake, it’s a better view of Mt Index and Serene. The hike back down was much more challenging, this time of the year. With the rocks just having a thin layer of ice, it can get really slippery. Took me a little under 6hrs. Started at 11:15am, got to bridal veil falls by 12:15 and made it to lake Serene by 2:30. Spent about 25 mins at the lake and was back to my car by 5:00pm. There wasn’t any snow.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked Saturday (11/10). Lot was about 75% full when we got there around 9:30. We did this combined with the falls. Seemed like most people just did the falls. Please be aware that the bit where it opens up from the tree line, close to the lake, is very slick and you’ll see frost around. I busted my knee, several others slipped/fell. For me, this was definitely a hard hike, especially with the slick rocks, so be sure to plan accordingly and consider the time of year. We took about 50 minutes to get to the falls, about 2hr 15min to get to the lake, and 2 hours out. It took us longer than expected, at our usual pace I predicted 4-4.5 max.

2 months ago

Says it is hard. Feels more moderate. We did a round trip in 4.5 hours with an 8 year old including time chilling at the lake. It's always beautiful. I also didnt see any change to the scenery from the past summer's logging that shut the trail down.

hiking
3 months ago

2018/10/13 Saturday (Hiking Date). Best hike. Very good views (Falls, Lake). It is a rocky trail with lot of stairs. Total of around 7.5 miles. Tip: Visit the lake first as it needs more energy and then cover 0.5 mile trail to Falls on return. Also been there in 2017. Will I go there again? Yes.

3 months ago

Freezing. Gorgeous peaks. Waterfall on the way. Sept 1.

hiking
3 months ago

im not in great shape so this was tough for me. im glad i did the falls first because i was exhausted by the time a got back down from the lake. it was soo worth it though. im used to doing hikes during the week so very surprised at the amount of people. a message to anyone who is on the hefty side, "you can do it." although it might take you longer and bring lots of water.

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail, the falls are definitely a must on the way to the lake. It didn't feel as though as we thought it would be. It was crazy busy so that kinda took away from the magic.

3 months ago

Fantastic trail! the falls is a quick and easy trip and you should definitely make the side 0.5mile visit. catch it in the fog and be ready for amazing pictures.
the lake requires much more work, not hard but persistent elevation gain through a mostly well kept trail with wide-breasted stairs throughout. plenty of things to look at along the way not just boring dirt. the lake itself was clouded out for me but still awesome to be up there.

hiking
3 months ago

Nice fall hike. Oct 7. Hiked to Bridal Falls then to lake Serene. Total mileage is about 8.4 miles. Started at 1115am, was in my car at 315pm. With maybe 25min spent at the falls and 25 min at the lake.

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked Oct 2017, strenuous and totally worth it. Really enjoyed this one. Don’t go chasing waterfalls, get to the lake first and then stop by the falls on the way down. We wasted way too much time at Bridal falls

hiking
3 months ago

First rainy hike since moving to the PNW a few months ago. Went to Lake Serene and skipped the falls. I would rate this trail as more moderate, it's steadily uphill but not technical at all with well a manicured trail and well positioned rocks for your climbing needs. The lake was beautiful even in the rain and you pass a few smaller waterfalls on the way up.

hiking
4 months ago

Trail starts out pretty level and easy but quickly turns to rocks and stairs after the falls. We left the lot at 2pm and arrived at the top to see that the sun was behind the mountains and the lake entirely shaded. Plan to come back at sunrise to photograph the lake with sun. Super great hike

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