Rattlesnake Mountain Trail
Hike of the Week:
January 14, 2008
Location: Off I-90 near North Bend
Distance: 5 miles r/t to Stan's Overlook; about 10 miles r/t to Grand Prospect; 12 miles r/t to East Peak; 10.9 mile traverse to Rattlesnake Lake
Elevation: Snoqualmie Point trailhead 980'; Stan's Overlook 2100'; East Peak 3500'
Maps: Green Trails Rattlesnake Mountain #205S
If you've hiked to Rattlesnake Ledges and beyond from Rattlesnake Lake, this is a delightful alternative. Thanks to the handiwork of our colleagues in the trail community, you can now reach Rattlesnake Mountain from the west, starting from a new trailhead at Snoqualmie Point.
Expect more solitude on this approach, and enjoy the fantastic views out over the Snoqualmie Valley, Mount Si, Mount Teneriffe, North Bend and more. You can choose to hike to one of the pleasant viewpoints along the way, to Rattlesnake Mountain, or as a traverse all the way to Rattlesnake Lake (11 miles). The views are some of the best in the Cascade foothills and the trail can be hiked year-round, though it can be snowy in winter.
The trail was officially dedicated in June 2007, though people have been hiking along a mix of trail and logging roads for years. Now the trail winds its way through mostly second-growth forest, crossing a few logging roads and requiring just a few stints on old roads.
The trail follows I-90 fairly closely, but there are times you don't remember that it is there. Still, the reality of being in a managed forest does intrude - you do see and walk through clearcuts. Fortunately, the forest canopy does get more mature as you go, and there is a delightful progression of ecosystems along the way.
The first nice viewpoint is Stan's Overlook, about 2.5 miles in (elev. 2100'). From there you can see Mt. Si and the Snoqualmie Valley. Next up, and a fine turn-around for those not traveling end-to-end, is Grand Prospect at about 4.9 miles. This precipice is due south of the town of North Bend. At six miles and 3500 feet is the high point of East Peak - great views abound from here! Then it is downhill to the Ledges (8 miles) and ending at Rattlesnake Lake (that is, if you've cached a car here).
This trail system is the result of thousands of hours of hard work by trail crews from Washington Conservation Corps, EarthCorps, and Washington Trails Association (WTA's handiwork was up to the Ledges from Rattlesnake Lake), all jointly managed by the Mountains-to-Sound-Greenway and DNR. If you see a crew, please take the time to thank them!
For More Information:
This approach to Rattlesnake Mountain is still so new that none of the published guidebooks describe it. The trail is well-marked, but you should carry the Green Trails Rattlesnake Mountain map #205S just to be sure. Also, check our Hiking Guide and Trip Reports.
Directions from Seattle/Issaquah:
To Snoqualmie Point Park, take I-90 east to Exit 27. At the end of the off-ramp, go right and follow the road to the end. Go through the gate on the right to enter the trailhead.
To Rattlesnake Lake, take I-90 to Exit 32. Go south on 436th Ave. SE, turning into Cedar Falls Rd. SE - follow this main road 3.1 miles to the parking area for Rattlesnake Lake. To reach the trail follow an old roadbed that circles the lake to the right (as you look at it).