Nestled beneath Mount Index, the hike to Lake Serene absolutely lives up to its reputation. The trail begins on an old service road, within a short distance from the trail-head you will cross trickling creeks that are surrounded by maples, and evergreens. Roughly .5 miles into the trail there is a turnoff for Bridal Veil Falls, which is an additional .5 miles away. This will take you to a vantage point that is higher giving you a better view of the falls. Bridal Veil Falls is maybe 200-300 feet tall and has considerable flow. Once you are back on main trail you’ll have an opportunity to see the falls again when you cross a wooden bridge that offers scenic views of the roaring falls from below.
Shortly after you pass the falls the trail narrows and steepens, giving way to switchbacks that will take you up to Lake Serene. You should be prepared for a workout: the trail gains about 1300 feet in 1.5 miles. Even if you find the climb a struggle, don’t consider turning back. When you break through the trees you will enjoy the gorgeous, uninterrupted vistas of Mount Index and the surrounding Cascades. You will want to use your camera at this point. The trail gradually levels out, dipping into a small basin where the Lake Serene resides. Bring a snack to enjoy at Lunch Rock.
- Length: 7.2 miles (round-trip).
- Difficulty: Moderate. The stairs built into the trail will give you the most difficulty.
- Variety: Out and back.
- Elevation Gain: 2,000 feet.
- Highest Point: 2,521 feet.
- Lowest Point: 521 feet.
- Maps: Green Trails Map #142.
- Dogs allowed on leash.
- Passes and permits required: NW Forest Pass at trail-head.
- Bathroom: There is really one decent bathroom at the trail-head.
You will have a more pleasant experience if you wear proper footwear, bring water, and have a healthy treat in your bag. This is a busy trail so come early enough to park in the lot (before 8:30 on the weekend)
From 1-405 take exit 23 towards Woodinville/Wenatchee/US-2. Merge onto WA-522 E and continue for 13.4 miles. Turn left onto US-2 E/Stevens Pass Highway. Follow the highway for 20.7 miles and turn right onto Mt. Index Road. Follow the dirt road for .4 miles and turn right at the first fork, following the sign for Lake Serene Trail 1068. Follow the road for 500 feet to reach the parking area.
Do not pass by the Sultan Bakery without stopping on your way home. This is the stop that is made to get coffee on the way to Lake Serene and lunch on the way home.