You are here: Home Find a Hike Hiking Guide Lake Serene - Bridal Veil Falls

Lake Serene - Bridal Veil Falls

» REI » Amazon

A portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.

Towering and formidable, Mount Index is perhaps the most awesome and fiercest sight and site along US 2. But softening its stark appearance is Bridal Veil Falls. Emanating from beneath the mountain's austere crags, the tiered and tumbling cataract drapes over granite slabs. To really appreciate this plummeting waterway, however, you'll need to leave your vehicle and hit the trail. And in your journey, discover a secret - there's a beautiful lake perched beneath those rugged spires feeding those falls.

Start by following an old road lined with mossy maples and alders. Cross a series of minor tributaries. Pretty in their own right, especially after a storm, these streaming streams are also eroding away chunks of tread. Next, along a thickly forested slope, the trail gradually ascends. At 1.7 miles, just after leaving the old roadbed, come to a signed junction (elev. 1200 ft.). The trail left continues on, heading to "secret" Lake Serene tucked in a deep basin beneath the spires of Mount Index.

For Bridal Veil Falls, head right. The falls is 0.5 mile away. Just follow the roar, using a series of short switchbacks and stairways that steeply climb toward the tumult. Cross several side creeks and expect to get your feet wet. Be sure to pause for a moment or two to look back at the Skykomish Valley spread below. One last grunt and reach the first of two waterfall viewing platforms.

Except for late summer, when the falls trickle more than pummel, the roar should be pretty deafening at this point. Don your rain parka and set out on a drenched boardwalk to embrace the cascade's full force and beauty. Bridal veil? From this proximity, it's more like a bridal shower. Literally soak up the falls beauty. When you've had enough, retreat to the trail junction and make a decision. Back to your rig, or up to Lake Serene?

Serene usually wins, so carry on. Continue on the main trail, dropping a little into a damp ravine. Cross Bridal Veil Creek on a well-built bridge, and then begin climbing. On solid tread that occasionally utilizes stone steps and rock cribbing, the trail steeply ascends. A long sweep east - then a long sweep west - the way works under, over, and around cliffs, gaining 1300 feet in about 1.5 miles. Take in fine views of the valley below as well as out to Ragged Ridge and other peaks of the newly minted Wild Sky Wilderness.

And Lake Serene? It lies just a short distance ahead tucked in a tight basin beneath the ramparts and parapets of fortress Index. Stare straight up those 3000-vertical-foot stark walls. Hardly serene, it's more like awe-inspiring. But when the basin is calm, those imposing rock faces delicately reflect in the lake's surface. Now, that's serene and quite a sight!
Driving Directions:

From Everett, follow US 2 east to the hamlet of Gold Bar. Continue on US 2 for 7 more miles to just before it crosses the Skykomish River (near milepost 35), and turn right onto Mount Index Road. Proceed on this dirt road 0.4 mile, turning right on the spur road signed "Lake Serene Trail 1068." The trailhead and large parking area are 500 feet farther (elev. 600 ft.). Privy available.

Improve or add to this guidebook entry

Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

Recent Trip Reports

Hiked here recently? Submit a trip report!
There are 594 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Lake Serene - Bridal Veil Falls — Apr 20, 2014 — eadek
Day hike
Issues: Water on trail | Snow on trail
Expand report text Hide report text
Awesome hike. The trail was a bit muddy in some areas. There were also a couple of streams crossing ...
Awesome hike. The trail was a bit muddy in some areas. There were also a couple of streams crossing over the trail, but they were very shallow. Not many bugs, only encountered a few curious bees and a handful of gnat clouds. There's snow on the trail the last 1/4 mile or so up to the lake. It's somewhat deep, but the trail is packed down and my feet never punched through. The snow was also a bit slippery in some areas. If you have trekking poles it's a good idea to use them. The lake itself was beautiful. It's starting to thaw, and the snow up on Mt. Index is starting to melt as well. I heard several loud cracking noises, which was the snow shifting and falling. You could see the snow falling off the side of Mt. Index every once and a while across the lake. Overall this was an awesome hike.
Read full report with photos
Lake Serene - Bridal Veil Falls — Apr 19, 2014 — Muledeer
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Snow on trail
Expand report text Hide report text
Started early, beat the crowds, beat the rain. The trail is fine, snow the last quarter mile into th...
Started early, beat the crowds, beat the rain. The trail is fine, snow the last quarter mile into the lake. We didn't use spikes on the way up, but put them on going down. It's chilly and windy at the lake, dress accordingly. If you think you're in shape, try the Serene Stairmaster! No matter how hard you work, you're never in quite the shape you want to be on the first real hike of the season. The mist at Bridal Veil falls will get your camera wet for sure, so bring something to wipe it off if you want to take pictures. This was not my first choice of a hike for a Saturday, but it was a close by hike, or nothing. Luckily, we mostly beat the hiking hordes of humanity by leaving at 6. BUT, RANT, On a trail as popular as this KEEP YOUR DOG LEASHED! My friend hikes with her dog, leashed, and steps off the trail, dog at her side, for all other hikers. Today a poorly trained, unleashed, dog, jumped all over her dog, and the owners wondered why Loki gave a little snarl? AND PACK OUT YOUR TRASH! The little pickup fairy does not live in these woods or reside in the bathrooms, which are still locked. SO people have been using the communal hill, BURY IT PEOPLE! REALLY! AND the garbage, you don't have to even hike it out your car is RIGHT THERE!, don't leave it in a pile by the loos, just throw it in your car in a plastic garbage bag! GRRR! Lots of trillium in bloom. Posted pictures of the snow level at the lake and plants(of course).
Read full report with photos
Lake Serene - Bridal Veil Falls — Apr 13, 2014 — Mindy
Day hike
Issues: Mudholes | Washouts | Water on trail | Snow on trail
Expand report text Hide report text
This hike has it all and is gorgeous! Waterfalls, Lake Serene, and mountain views. It was a beauti...
This hike has it all and is gorgeous! Waterfalls, Lake Serene, and mountain views. It was a beautiful day.

The bathrooms at the trailhead were locked. :(

There was a sheriff deputy on patrol in the parking lot, which was great to see after getting my window smashed in a couple weeks prior at Lake 22.
Read full report with photos
Lake Serene - Bridal Veil Falls — Apr 13, 2014 — mkhikes
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Mud/Rockslide | Water on trail
Expand report text Hide report text
Beautiful day! We got to the falls by about 12:30 and it was a little crowded up there. I think ever...
Beautiful day! We got to the falls by about 12:30 and it was a little crowded up there. I think everyone wanted to enjoy the gorgeous 70 degree weather! The bathrooms at the trailhead were locked, which was a major bummer.... not a lot of options on the trail. The trail had a few little wildflowers here and there (not as many as we were hoping but still lovely) and hardly any bugs. Lots of water on the trail the further up you go, and lots of places where you cross over rocky streams, so waterproof shoes are a good idea. There was a small mudslide in one area, but easily crossed. I'd be hesitant to take little kids because of how the terrain was, but I saw loads of kids on the trail, so. The falls were really gorgeous.
Read full report
Lake Serene - Bridal Veil Falls — Apr 11, 2014 — Marmoteer
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Water on trail | Snow on trail
Expand report text Hide report text
The Mount Index Rd up to the trailhead is in fine shape (I drive a small 2WD mazda sedan). This was ...
The Mount Index Rd up to the trailhead is in fine shape (I drive a small 2WD mazda sedan). This was my first time hiking this trail. The trail is in great shape, though spring run-offs require hopping over streams every now and again. The first 1.5 miles are scattered with these lovely magenta flowers, and I also saw a bed of these odd yellow, waxy lily-like things pop through. Bridal Veil Falls is gushing. I was pleased to also see many other little cascades and one other large falls between the spur trail up to Bridal Veil and the switchbacks to Lake Serene.

However, the last ~1/3 mile up to the lake are above the snowline. You have to remember this is a hike pretty much up the north side of Index. For the last 30 minutes of my ascent to the lake basin and the first 30 minutes of my descent, I was trudging through snow. Though the footing is generally secure, you do have to expect that your legs will drop through parts of the snowfield that are rapidly thawing. This creates a danger, so I wouldn't recommend the hike to the lake to anyone at this point. Not that I took my own advice at the time. When I got to the lake, I was greeted by a wonderful log bridge, and stunning views of the rock wall that is Mount Index, rising into the fog from the still 95% frozen-over Lake Serene. Wait another month for all this snow and ice to open up the features of the hike.
Read full report
Serene.jpg
Photo taken by @ziptiecloud on Instagram
WTA worked here!
2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
Location
Lake Serene (#1068)
Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - West
Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest - Skykomish Ranger District
Statistics
Roundtrip 7.2 miles
Elevation Gain 2000 ft
Highest Point 2521 ft
Features
Lakes
Waterfalls
Wildflowers/Meadows
Mountain views
User info
Good for kids
Dogs allowed on leash
Northwest Forest Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
Green Trails #142: Index WA

Improve or add to this guidebook entry

Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

Map it
Red MarkerLake Serene - Bridal Veil Falls
47.8089343 -121.5720186
  • Trail Work 2013 Frontcountry
  • Trail Work 2012
  • Trail Work 2011
  • Trail Work 2010
(47.8089, -121.5720) Open in new window
Document Actions
  • Print this
  • Share
Get the Guidebooks

Mountaineers three booksSelect content from The Mountaineers Books' guidebooks is featured in this Hiking Guide. Sales of the books from this website help protect and maintain trails.

> Shop Now

More hikes » Hike of the Week
Diablo Lake Trail (Apr 17)

Diablo Lake

North Cascades

Follow the Diablo Lake Trail up and across talus slopes on the flanks of Sourdough Mountain to impressive cascading waterfalls and stunning views. This hike in the North Cascades Institute's backyard makes a great option for an early season hike in stunning North Cascades National Park, much of which is inaccessible during the winter and spring.

Get Trail News

Subscribe to our free email newsletter for hiking news, events, gear reviews and more.

What's Happening
Trails and Ales - Spokane 2014 Apr 22, 2014 Meet fellow hikers and raise a glass for trails!
GiveBIG 2014 May 06, 2014 Donate to WTA during The Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG event and grow your impact on trails!
Hiker Potluck in Vancouver May 28, 2014 Come out for an evening of great food, meet other hikers and learn what is happening on trails near you.
More »