A friend and I started hiking at 8 am on Sunday morning. There were less than 10 cars in parking lot. Once we reached the Bridal Veil Falls, we had the place to ourselves! It was my first time up there, and it was beautiful - falls were gushing with water and there was mist in the air. Take time and enjoy the views!
Then we backtracked 1/2 mile back to the trail and started the ascent for the Lake Serene. We passed two or three other small groups. Not that many people out at 9am, so it was perfect!
The snow starts at around 2,300ft, about 1/4 mile from the end of the trail. It is intermittent and considerably easy to cross, just slow down, as the boardwalks are slippery! The snow was packed down, and even though I had gaiters and microspikes in my pack, I did not need to use them. (Be careful on the way down, walking down the steps can be icy - I actually slided down on my butt as I thought that to be the safest way to descent those few steps.)
When we got to the Lake Serene at around 10am, it was beautiful! But it was much colder and super windy. Had a quick snack, water and started heading back down.
About half a mile from the top (on our way down) we started seeing large groups of people, many dogs, and more groups of people. Because we were on our way down, they had the right of way, so our descent involved lots of stopping and letting people pass on their way up. It was way too many people to my liking, people of all abilities. But be aware that this trail is not kid friendly, as it is steep. I saw some people brought their snowshoes, but these were not necessary as the snow was packed down, and just in the final stretch of the hike.
Get ready to cross numerous streams along the way, so if possible, wear waterproof shoes, or get ready to get wet. The more the snow melts, the more water will be present along the trail.
Total moving time: 3hrs 45min // Distance: 8 miles round trip // Parking lots were full as we returned at noon.
My route stats and more pictures at: https://www.gaiagps.com/datasummary/track/7199688ee7debbe7c1f2031567e963fa/