With the unseasonable weather we are having I was looking for a way to get out but keep the day easy. Lake Serene Trail fits the bill. I have not been here for a while, and it usually has snow this time of year.
I was wrong. The weather was beautiful and by the time I arrived at the parking area for Lake Serene, it was full. It was right after 9 am. I managed to grab one of the 3 spots available. The lake serene trail parking is usually this way. On a sunny summer day you may not find parking at all after 9 am.
I have seen people park down the dirt road in the past. But, that means an extra half-mile of hiking to get to the trail.
The first section of the Lake Serene trail is easy to navigate. It follows an old bed on a wide path uphill. Along the way there are 2 or 3 spots that the trail crosses over the creek. In the past these crossings became run down and could be difficult to navigate. But, it looks like trail crews have been at hard at work lately. There are multiple reroutes that allow for easy crossings.
There is one spot where the reroute is not well marked. I witnessed two people wandering off in the wrong direction along the river bed. Be careful to stay on the marked trail.
Once at the top of the first hill the trail begins winding through the woods. It meets with the Bridal Veil Falls trail within a half-mile. Stick left to head up the Lake Serene Trail. After winding through the woods for 15 minutes the trail begins to climb. There is a small waterfall right before the trail starts to climb. Stop there if you need a break before the hike gets tough.
As the Lake Serene Trail begins to climb the views east open up. You will get the treat on a clear day of seeing all the way out to the Wenatchee peaks and up Highway 2. As you climb the view will fade and return, but each time it gets more entrancing.
For the next 2 miles, all you will do is climb climb climb. Lake Serene trail is well cut with stairs in spots and a wide track. But, that doesn’t mean it will be easy going. Right now with the amount of snow there is at least one spot that will require you to go straight up a small snow slope. Microspikes were invaluable today.
After around 1500 feet of climbing before the trail levels back out and heads across the hillside. From here on a clear day be sure to loop up as you exit the trees. The twin peaks of mount index stand above you and the end of Lake Serene trail is near.
With the snow year we’ve had I was not surprised to see snow lining the track. The Lake Serene trail is well packed from all the traffic and easy to follow. But, I would not continue past here without traction this time of year. I saw at least two groups of people in sneakers. They were slipping, sliding, and laughing about it right above a precipice. I can’t explain how angry it makes me to see people risking a waste of emergency services. I always want to shake my fist and scream “just buy the damn microspikes”, but I digress.
As expected lake Serene has a blanket of snow over the top of it. The view was to die for as always. Yet, with the amount of snow the area to spread out in felt limited. After waiting for some people to leave, I took my photos and headed back. I knew a mass of hikers was coming up the trail and I didn’t want to be stuck in traffic. Instead I took the opportunity for the side trip up to Bridal Veil Falls.
If you want to attempt both hikes in one day, I would suggest doing Bridal Veil first and then Lake Serene Trail. Your legs will thank you.