Rattlesnake Ledge is a fine hike on a well maintained, but busy trail through the forest with views of the Cedar River watershed, Mount Si, Mount Washington, Rattlesnake Lake and Chester Morse Lake. Right when you arrive in the parking lot, you’ll have a view of Rattlesnake Ledge’s share rock face from across Rattlesnake Lake. If you want a hike that doesn’t take up all day, this is definitely the hike for you!
The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. Rattlesnake Ledge Trail is 1.9 miles long and begins at 830 feet altitude (Rattlesnake Lake). Traveling the entire trail is 3.8 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,493 feet. The trail ends near Rattlesnake Ledge (elevation 2,080 feet). There are also a cliff and restrooms near the end of the trail. This trail connects with the Rattlesnake Mountain Trail. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
On weekends and midday this is a very very busy trail with a constant stream of traffic up and down and people with dogs. Parking after 10am is almost impossible so get there early.
Rattlesnake Ledge Trail
From the parking lot, walk a short distance around the north end of Rattlesnake Lake to the trailhead on the northwest side of the lake. There you will find porta-potties and a very informative kiosk with maps, trail information and history of the area. A well signed trailhead is on your right. The Rattlesnake Ledge Trail starts here.
After about a hundred feet is a “greeter” boulder, the first of many mossy monsters along the lower section of the trail. On the way up, there will be a few places to look down on Rattlesnake Lake and appreciate your progress. At 1.9 miles is a signed junction. Though the sign does not indicate Rattlesnake Ledge, it is just to the right, about a hundred yards away.
It takes about 1 hour to get to the end of the trail. There are actually three ledges, all highly recommended. The middle and upper ledges are not too far from the bottom ledge and are well worth the extra few minutes, especially if the bottom ledge is getting crowded. The ledge is a very exposed, a large rock that has sheer cliffs, so be careful and approach slowly if you are hiking with kids or dogs.
Optional: Rattlesnake Mountain Trail to East Peak
If you wish to extend the hike, go back to the junction where the sign points out the trail to East Peak 2.4 miles away. This is the Rattlesnake Mountain Trail. Or continue along the entire ridge to Snoqualmie Point Park, 8.3 miles away.
It takes about an hour to get to East Peak from the ledge. The difficulty is similar to the Rattlesnake Ledge Trail. If you’re looking to add a few more miles and/or a challenging hike in absolute privacy, try this. Otherwise the lookout at the peak is very pretty with a bench and a romantic view of the area, but not really worth the effort of continuing further than upper ledge.
From Seattle, drive east on I-90 to exit 32 for 436th Avenue SE. Turn right onto 436th Avenue SE, also signed as Cedar Falls Road SE. Proceed about four miles down the road to the Rattlesnake Lake parking lot on the right. Parking is free but it fills up quickly. In summer and on weekends, you will likely not find a spot after 10am.