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Rattlesnake Ledge

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You won't find better views anywhere else this close to Seattle. Rattlesnake Ledge is a monolithic block of rock on the eastern end of Rattlesnake Ridge, towering high over the cool waters of Rattlesnake Lake and the Snoqualmie River valley. Looking up from the trailhead, the site is daunting--the rock face looks sheer and impregnable. Fortunately, the cliff face isn't too broad, and hearty Washington Trails Association volunteers have carved a path through the steep forests flanking the rock face. Indeed, the original trail, which was daunting in its own right, has been largely replaced with a new, more secure pathway.

From the parking lot, round the gate and walk the old road 0.25 mile to a grassy swath on the west side of Rattlesnake Lake. A well-signed path leads off to the right. The rebuilt trail climbs steeply from the get-go, gaining more than 1000 feet in just over 1.5 miles. Of course, the old trail made that gain in just 1 mile, so please keep the complaints to a minimum as you slog up the switchbacks. Those new hairpin turns add a little distance to the hike, but they also level the trail a tad, making it a bit easier on the thighs.

After a seemingly endless upward march, you'll suddenly burst out of the forest onto the snout of the rock ledge. The views are unbelievable. Peer southeast into the rarely seen Cedar River watershed, with Chester Morse Lake dominating the close-in scenery. This big lake supplies Seattle with a significant portion of its drinking water. The rest of the watershed is filled with untrammeled forest--the watershed is closed to most human access to ensure that the water remains uncontaminated. Look farther east and you'll see the peaks leading to Snoqualmie Pass and, of course, massive Mount Si is just across the valley.
Driving Directions:

From Seattle drive 32 miles east on I-90 to exit 32 (436th Avenue SE). Turn right (south) on 436th Avenue SE (Cedar Falls Road SE) and drive about 4 miles to the well-developed Rattlesnake Lake parking area on the right.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 341 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Rattlesnake Ledge — Apr 13, 2014 — Playapixie
Day hike
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Like being in line for a ride at Disneyland. A woodland superhighway. The busiest trail I have eve...
Like being in line for a ride at Disneyland. A woodland superhighway. The busiest trail I have ever been on. But it was the first 70 degree weekend day of the year at a popular trail 35 minutes from Seattle, so that's pretty much what we expected. Despite the crowds, it was a lovely day.

Lots of well-behaved kids and dogs on the trail.
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Rattlesnake Ledge — Apr 07, 2014 — BackpackingRN
Day hike
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Usually try to hike this during the week to avoid the masses. Today I arrived to cars lining the str...
Usually try to hike this during the week to avoid the masses. Today I arrived to cars lining the streets for several hundred yards before the parking area. I parked in the parking area anyway hoping people were enjoying the BBQ and day use area instead of the hike? Wrong.
Hiked up the trail with my dog as usual. Came across the typical weekender crowd that don't yield to the uphill hiker and think it's ok to offline ash your dog on not a busy but packed trail with a cliff on one side while young children and older adults edge by bouncing fido. I am not opposed to an off leash dog on a less used trail but if it is so packed you are walking like cattle, throw your pup on a leash guys!
That aside, the ledge was packed to the edges but the few "secret" ledges a few more minutes up the trail were much less populated. Shared one with a few guys enjoying a lunch break on their way up to east peak.
Despite the crowds it was still a gorgeous day to feel the sun on my skin and smell the sweet smell of a sun warmed forest.
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Rattlesnake Ledge — Apr 06, 2014 — Peregrine
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Water on trail
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Lovely hike today - plenty of people but worth coming out anyways! The trail is in great shape - I ...
Lovely hike today - plenty of people but worth coming out anyways! The trail is in great shape - I sprained my ankle about a month ago but it's in good enough shape that I was able to go hike with just a brace without issues. Some water on the trail and it does get muddy, so boots are definitely a good call. Lots of wonderful vegetation - early flowering currant and salmonberries, plus a large variety of different forest types as you ascend. Plenty of birds, too - a loon on the lake, displaying Rufous Hummingbirds, Hairy Woodpeckers, Swainson's Thrushes. Even some early bumblebees on the salmonberries.

View from the top (and the chasm in the middle of the top) is not for the lightheaded, but it's quite worth it. Plenty of safe space to sit and not feel like you're likely to fall, though.

All in all, a great hike. The only downsides were the large crowds and their habit of chucking clementine peels into the woods...
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Rattlesnake Ledge — Mar 29, 2014 — hikinginthenorthwest
Day hike
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After a short hike to Snoqualmie Falls decided to cover Rattlesnake also as the weather had improved...
After a short hike to Snoqualmie Falls decided to cover Rattlesnake also as the weather had improved.

Reached the parking lot around 2:30. Not many people were there. The lake was overflowing. The trail is in good shape. The hike is gentle in the beginning but becomes steep around the first mile. The views were fabulous as you step out on the ledge from the trail. The mountains, the lakes and the valley were awesome. The weather was playing tricks. Could see rain, clouds and sunshine all at the same time. With so few people it was very peaceful.

Spend around 40 minutes at the ledge and did not venture further to the other ledges higher up. Was down in the parking lot by 5:45 and headed back.
More details and picture at http://sunilshikes.wordpress.com/[…]/
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Rattlesnake Mountain, Rattlesnake Ledge — Mar 26, 2014 — Suhleenah
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Water on trail | Snow on trail
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We dropped a car at Snoqualmie Point (south on exit 27 I-90) and then drove to the Rattlesnake Lake ...
We dropped a car at Snoqualmie Point (south on exit 27 I-90) and then drove to the Rattlesnake Lake area. We started our hike by visiting the Rattlesnake Ledges and then continued uphill. Once you gain enough elevation, there is significant snow, hard packed and slippery in places, and soft/easy to fall in once off the trail. The trail wasn't hard to follow because you can see where people have been before, but between the Ledges and the East Peak of Rattlesnake Mountain there were so many blowdowns over the trail that I gave up counting. At least a hundred. Many of them required climbing over/under or around, and some could just be stepped over. It'll require some real work to clear this trail of the blowdowns. It snowed a bit at the top of the mountain where the towers are, gradually transitioning to light rain as we descended. Chillier than anticipated, but we did come prepared with gloves/mittens/hats and warm layers.

If you are venturing to higher elevations on this trail, I'd recommend bringing microspikes and/or poles for traction, it was definitely slippery in places. Since the trail area is reasonably packed down, snowshoes were definitely not necessary. We never sunk in more than a couple of inches into the snow except when stepping off the packed trail.

We continued from the East Peak to Grand Prospect. There were plenty of trees down in this area as well, but many of them had been sawed to make the going much easier than between the ledges and Rattlesnake Mountain's East Peak. Descending from Grand Prospect the snow and blowdowns gradually fizzled out and both were fully absent by Stan's Lookout, leaving a clear well maintained trail leading to the Snoqualmie Point trailhead and our waiting vehicle.

It took us just under 5 hours to complete the one-way trip, which my GPS tracked as 10.9 miles and 3022 elevation gain. It started to pour rain in earnest as we retrieved the car at Rattlesnake Lake- perfect timing.
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RattlesnakeTrail.jpg
Location
Snoqualmie Pass -- North Bend Area
Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Snoqualmie Ranger District, North Bend office
Statistics
Roundtrip 4.0 miles
Elevation Gain 1160 ft
Highest Point 2078 ft
Features
Lakes
Old growth
Mountain views
Ridges/passes
User info
Good for kids
Dogs allowed on leash
No pass or permit required
Guidebooks & Maps
Day Hiking: Snoqualmie Pass (Nelson & Bauer - Mountaineers Books)
Green Trails Rattlesnake Mountain/Upper Snoqualmie Valley No. 205S

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

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