Oct 23, 2006

Rattlesnake Mountain Trail

Rattlesnake Mountain is part of the Issaquah Alps of the Western Cascades. It sits between SR-18 on the west and Rattlesnake Lake on the east, spanning about 7 miles. It reaches a peak of 3250 feet.

In recent years, the trail system on Rattlesnake Mountain has been revamped. There is now a groomed trail, without logging roads, that runs from Snoqualmie Point on the west side of the mountain all the way to Rattlesnake Lake. The trail is 11 miles long, with an elevation gain of about 2200 feet from either end.

My wife and I undertook this hike yesterday, our most aggressive to date. For the first time on our hikes we left the kids behind, as this is too aggressive for young kids (we did see a teenager running up Rattlesnake Ledge TWICE... wow, to be young and in shape again).

The trail wanders through different terrain; first on grass and trees, then through thick forest, then opens up to an area that's been logged, then through thick, shoulder-high brush, back through an open area, then through tall evergreens, then through brush again, then through a nice dirt path, and finally through rocks. It is quite varied and the change of scenery every mile or so is refreshing.

We started this trip from Snoqualmie Point (which in and of itself is fun, with a great view of Snoqualmie Valley, hence the name). At about two miles you get to the first great viewpoint. Another three miles will get you to "Grand Prospect", which lies directly north of North Bend (it's the peak you see as you drive north to the I-90 interchange). The next two miles will take you up and down between Grand Prospect and East Peak. The East Peak has some great views as well, peeking behind Mount Teneriffe. The East Peak is the highest point on this trail, at 3250 feet. From there, it's downhill. A mile and a half from the peak you will get to the first of three "Rattlesnake Ledges." The other two are a quarter mile away each. The last two miles is a long walk down from Rattlesnake Ledge to Rattlesnake Lake. This last stretch is the most popular stretch - most people hike/run this stretch only. On this day (a beautiful Sunday) we only met two people that were hiking the entire trail.

The views are simply magnificent. We chose a perfect day, and could see deep into the Cascades in every direction.

Whew... just 11 miles to go!

The twin peaks view... Mount Si (left), Mount Teneriffe, and North Bend from Grand Prospect.

Snoqualmie Valley due north... you can can barely see Mount Teneriffe on the left... from a side trail off east peak (some say this is the best view from Rattlesnake Mountain).

The lowest RattleSnake Ledge as seen from the "second ledge." (Look for the people at the bottom of the picture)


Lukasz said...


I hiked the Rattlesnake Ledge trail last year and I think this is the best trail within 100 miles from Seattle. I did the easy route from the lake - just 2 miles :-)

Anyway - I discovered the trail on Hikipedia - http://www.hikipedia.com. Hikipedia is a project that I started after moving into WA state from Poland. I wanted to discover some new hiking trails that others would share. Finding Rattlesnake Ledge trail was one result of starting Hikipedia.

So - I'd like to invite you to visit Hikipedia and look around.
I hope that you will like my website and I hope that you won't mind this comment which kind of treats your blog like an advertising media. If you have any feedback please send it to me via Hikipedia website.

Best regards,


Jove said...

I ran this trail yesterday (March 27, 2008) and found there to be deep snow after Rattlesnake Ledge. I plowed through it for about an hour and came to an observation tower of some point. There was no visibility into the valley, so I'm not sure where I was, or if I was still on the Rattlesnake Mountain Trail. Does this ring a bell at all? I figure I was around 6.5 miles in... Thanks, Jove

Nancy & Benoit said...

I am planning to do this hike this week-end. I'm just wondering how long it took you guys to do the whole 11 miles?

James V Reagan said...

We started about 10:15, had a lunch stop for 30 minutes, and were at Rattlesnake Lake by 5pm. So 7 hours at a very leisurely pace.

jill said...

hey cool blog, good resource for hikes close to Seattle.