In only five miles and at about 2,000 feet up, you’ll be at one of the most popular, beautiful and unique outlooks in Washington. Plus you can do it all with your four-legged hiking buddy!
Rattlesnake Ledge is popular because it is relatively easy, well-maintained for all types of families, it’s easy to get to in the Snoqualmie Region and the lookout surrounds you in open air, mountain-side and views of Cedar River, Mount Si, Mount Washington, Rattlesnake Lake and Chester Morse Lake.
But it also has a grim history we weren’t aware of before making the climb.
Since 2009 there have been at least five deaths, some accidents and some suicides. When we reached the top you can stand on the edge of steep and abrupt drop-offs. Walking out toward the boulders there are usually groups of people sitting for a break, eating lunch or taking IG worthy pictures. To get to the lower rocks or many of the edges you have to be careful and jump over varying crevaces and gaps in the rocks. The rounded and jagged edges are what make this hike beautifully unique but also dangerous.
Use caution if hiking with dogs or young kids. Also be aware of weather conditions as the rocks can get wet, icy and slippery quickly.
Please use this to be aware of what to expect but don’t keep it from you missing out! Having said that, let me use this as a place to remember and document this perfect day.
It was sunny, warm with a cold breeze; ideal for any weekend warrior. We had heard of this hike from several local friends and frequent suggestions on the Washington Trails App. We drove out October 29, 2017 (Thanks for tagging the date, Instagram!)
It was a short walk from the parking lot (you don’t need a pass or money to park) and you pass through Rattlesnake Lake’s beach. There were boulders, trees and leveled off stumps that made for fun photos.
As we started hiking through the old and new growth, we noticed it wasn’t near as thick as some of the forests we had walked through. A majority of the people who bring their pets will have them off-leash which is frustrating on narrow paths or for other dog owners but a majority of them are understanding and good owners. We only had one man who was pretty rude about his dog.
Be respectful that not everyone wants a dog in their face, in their kid’s snacks or near their own leashed dog. It sets back training and behavior even though we’ve been working with him and a trainer for a while.
This hike is relatively short but dang do you climb. The switchbacks are many and while it’s well-maintained don’t expect handrails or guard fences. It’s a very loose trail rule that you let the people coming up to ‘keep working’ and if you’re descending you step to the side. As being someone who has done both, we usually try to move over with our dog or whoever finds a clearing first. It’s nice to catch your breath for a second on your way up, too.
I am super curious on if you’ve heard this or how you handle passing people on a narrow path. Please share your advice in the comments!
Because the forest is fairly thin there are several spots to look through the trees and see your progress. The entire Snoqualmie area is stunning so make sure to look up while hiking. I keep reminding myself on any trip up a mountain and it’s the main reason our time is slow sometimes (hehe). Watch your step and be careful but don’t forget to take some breaks to look around.
As you break up top you see an opening on the left. There are several people who check out the trees and homes next to the highway we came off of. It’s a VERY. STEEP and abrupt drop off but only a few more feet up a small hill and you’re at the top of Rattlesnake’s sheer drop off.
We were able to find a few open paths to head off to the right and a man offered to take our photo.
The walk down was like many: Long and short steps with braced knees and a pretty sunset by the time you’re out at the bottom. There are some portable restrooms and several signs with maps. It’s built out and you’ll probably see some engagement or other photos being taken nearby. Look on Instagram or a Google search to see some BEAUTIFUL photos and drone footage!
Let me know if you take this hike. It’s a Must-Do while you’re here.
Cheers to adventure!
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