Rattlesnake Lake in King County, Washington, is a gorgeous bright blue lake in the Rattlesnake Mountain Scenic Area. It is 30 miles from Seattle and very popular!
The lake's incredible setting is well-loved with day trippers from the Seattle area and all around the Pacific Northwest. The lake is part of the larger Rattlesnake Mountain Scenic Area.
Rattlesnake Lake is nestled amidst the scenic Cascade Range and is surrounded by dense forests, towering mountains, and crystal-clear waters. It offers breathtaking views and a gateway to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area.
Rattlesnake Lake: At a Glance
Location: 40 minutes from Seattle
Coordinates: 47.43030678672016, -121.77515443835945
Parking Pass/Permit: None
Size: 111 acres
Why Visit? Amazing views and the Rattlesnake Ledges Trail.
Location of Rattlesnake Lake
The lake is 40 minutes from Seattle, near Interstate 90 and Exit 32. It's 3 miles southeast of the town of North Bend. Here are some common big cities and how long it would take to get to Rattlesnake Lake:
From Portland: 3 hours and 10 mins
From Everett: 1 hour 15 mins
From Olympia: 1 hour 20 mins
Directions to Rattlesnake Lake
Use the map below to navigate to the parking lot at Rattlesnake Lake:
What You Need to Know Before Visiting Rattlesnake Lake
Here is what you need to know before visiting Rattlesnake Lake:
The lake is open from dawn to dusk all year.
There is no permit required to visit Rattlesnake Lake.
No camping is allowed at Rattlesnake Lake.
No open fires are allowed at Rattlesnake Lake.
No motor boats are allowed at Rattlesnake Lake.
Swimming is allowed, but no lifeguards are on duty.
What to Do At Rattlesnake Lake
Rattlesnake Lake offers a variety of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy.
Fishing is a popular pastime, with the lake being home to several fish species, including trout, bass, and perch. However, it's important to note that fishing is regulated, and a valid Washington state fishing license is required.
The lake features well-maintained picnic areas, making it a great spot for families and groups to relax and enjoy a meal while taking in the beautiful surroundings. Additionally, there is a designated swimming area near the lake's edge, providing a refreshing escape during the warmer months.
Rattlesnake Lake is also known for its environmental education programs. The Cedar River Watershed Education Center, located near the lake, offers various programs and exhibits focused on the importance of protecting and preserving the watershed ecosystem.
Visitors can learn about the region's natural history, wildlife, and the significance of the Cedar River as a source of drinking water for the Seattle metropolitan area.
Rattlesnake Lake Hike
There are a few popular hiking trails near Rattlesnake Lake:
Rattlesnake Lake Hike
Rattlesnake Lake is best known for the Rattlesnake Ledges hike that ascends the rocky slopes to its north. But, there is another fantastic trail that is beautifully well-maintained and starts from the Cedar River Watershed Education Center (you can also get water here!).
From the lake, you'll head along the lake's shores, towards the northeast and the main parking area. It's an out-and-back trail, meaning that at the end of the hike, you'll need to turn around and come back the way you came.
It is 1.4 miles long and barely gains any elevation, less than 50 feet. It's family-friendly and well-suited to dogs as well. Most hikers only take around 30 minutes to complete the entire hike.
Rattlesnake Ledges Hike at Rattlesnake Lake
At Rattlesnake Lake, visitors will find several possible hiking trails, the most popular of which ascend the mountain slopes to the three (upper, middle, and lower) Rattlesnake Ledges.
Over several miles of moderate hiking, visitors find themselves on Rattlesnake Ledge, high about Rattlesnake Lake and North Bend. The difficulty of Rattlesnake Ledge will rest entirely on your experience with hiking. In general, it's considered a moderate hike. But for those with little experience, this hike can be quite grueling.
Rattlesnake Ledges is considered one of the best hikes near Seattle and is certainly one of the most popular hikes in the Seattle area (rivaling only the hike up Mt. Si).
Best Time to Visit Rattlesnake Lake
We think the best time to visit Rattlesnake Lake is in the summer or fall. The lake is far more enjoyable when the weather is warm (but it's also busier!).
Rattlesnake Lake Weather
In summer, the average high temperate is 75 degrees F. In winter, the average high is closer to 50 degrees F. You can expect lows in the 30s in winter and lows in the 40s in summer.
Interesting Facts about Rattlesnake Lake
Here are a few interesting facts about Rattlesnake Lake
Average Rattlesnake Lake depth: 20 feet
Surface elevation of Rattlesnake Lake: 911 feet
Rattlesnake Lake size: 111 acres
When the water is low enough, numerous tree stumps are visible above the waterline.
The lake is spring fed by the Cedar River.
Rattlesnake Lake Camping
Here are a few of the best campsites near Rattlesnake Lake:
Tinkham Campground - 10 miles from the lake
Denny Creek Campground - 15 miles from the lake
Salmon La Sac Campground - 15 miles from the lake
Can you fish at Rattlesnake Lake?
Yes, you can fish at Rattlesnake Lake! Normal fishing rules for Washington state apply. Boats are also allowed on the water, but only non-motorized ones.
Can you swim in Rattlesnake Lake?
Yes, you can swim in Rattlesnake Lake. It is popular throughout the summer months and even in the late spring and early fall. But, keep in mind that there is no lifeguard on duty.
Are there rattlesnakes at Rattlesnake Lake?
There are no rattlesnakes at Rattlesnake Lake! Don't worry, you're not going to spend your whole visit worrying that there's a snake around the corner. It's believed that the entire area takes its name from the vast grassy plains that, when blown in the wind, sound like a rattlesnake's tail.
Do I need a Discover Pass for Rattlesnake Lake?
No, you don't need a Discover Pass to park at Rattlesnake Lake because it isn't a state park. There is no fee or permit required to park there.