This Ultimate Guide to Rattlesnake Ledge Trail describes the scenic, 5.3-mile hike above Rattlesnake Lake with stunning views of Mount Si, Snoqualmie Pass, the North Cascades, and more.
The Rattlesnake Ledge Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Washington, along with Mount Si and Mount Pilchuck. We highly recommend making your trip on a weekday if possible. Because it's so close to Seattle and Little Si, you won't be the only one enjoying the views over a weekend.
Over several miles of moderate hiking, visitors mind 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.
Expect stunning views of the Cedar River watershed, Mount Si, Mt. Washington, Rattlesnake Lake, and Chester Morse Lake, as well as the North Cascades.
Need to Know
Here is the critical information for the hike up to Rattlesnake Ledge.
Dogs: Allowed on a leash.
Trailhead: Rattlesnake Ledge Trailhead
Bathroom? Yes, at the trailhead and on the far side of the lake.
Family Friendly? No, this trail is not suited for young children.
Permit: No parking permit is required.
Trail Conditions: Rocks, dust, sand, lots of people, steep drop-offs. The trail is maintained by the WTA, among other groups.
Camping? No camping is allowed at the lake, but the nearby Denny Creek Campground and Tinkham Campgrounds are good options.
Get to the trail before 10:00 AM on a weekend morning to make sure you get a parking spot!
How to Get to Rattlesnake Ledge
To get to Rattlesnake Ledge from Seattle, drive east on I-90 to exit 32 for 436th Avenue SE. Turn right onto 436th Avenue SE (or Cedar Falls Road SE). Take this road for around 4 miles until you see the Rattlesnake Lake parking area on the right.
Best Time to Visit Rattlesnake Ledge
We think the best time to visit Rattlesnake Ledge is in the summer or fall. Even if the rain has stopped for the year, the trail can still pose a danger due to snow and ice conditions.
Make sure to keep an eye on recent trip reports to see what the trail is like and whether it's suited for the type of adventure you're interested in. Deaths have occurred at Rattlesnake Ledge, so always be thoughtful in your preparation.
Rattlesnake Ledge 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.
Rattlesnake Ledge Trailhead Directions
To get to the Rattlesnake Ledge Trailhead, follow 436th Avenue SE (or Cedar Falls Road SE) for 4 miles. The trailhead is going to be on your right.
When you get to the trailhead, look up and admire the incredible, sheer rocky cliffs that make up the lower, middle, and upper Rattlesnake Ledges. It might seem impossible right now, but you'll end up on those same rocks in just a short time with a stunning view!
To get to the beginning of the trail, walk to the far side of the lake )the northwest side) and veer slightly left around it. The trail is very obvious here, so you shouldn't miss it!
Rattlesnake Ledge Distance from Seattle: 40 mins
Rattlesnake Ledge Distance from Olympia: 1 hour 20 mins
Rattlesnake Ledge Distance from Portland: 3 hours 10 mins
Rattlesnake Ledge Trail Parking
There is a great deal of parking available for the Rattlesnake Ledge hike. There are two separate parking areas at the trailhead that can accommodate around 100 cars. You should expect to see the trailhead full on any weekend day with decent weather.
Rattlesnake Ledge Trail Map
Check out this marked map of the Rattlesnake Ledge Trail:
Hiking Rattlesnake Ledge
The hike up to Rattlesnake Ledge is 5.3 miles round trip. It'll take you around 3 hours to complete the entire hike, that is, if you don't spend any time enjoying the views from the lower or upper Rattlesnake Ledges.
The hike begins in the Rattlesnake Ledge Trailhead parking area. Find a spot, and then head towards the northwest side of Rattlesnake Lake. The trail is well-marked and should be quite easy to find. There is a bathroom on this side of the lake as well as on the far side!
From the lake, you'll follow a well-maintained trail up the mountainside. Take this for the next 1.9 miles till you come to a signed junction. The first Rattlesnake Ledge is to the right. Many people choose to end their hike here, but if you want to, you can keep going to the middle and upper ledges too.
Did you know? If you're hoping to escape the crowds, the second and third ledges are also a great choice.
From the first ledge, continue up the trail, zig-zagging through the woods for another 0.2 miles. you'll soon arrive at the Rattlesnake Middle Ledge. Another 0.2 miles higher, and you can tick the upper Rattlesnake Ledge off your list as well!
Trails from here continue far north into the Rattlesnake Mountain Scenic Area and even to the summit of Rattlesnake Mountain (3,314') itself via the Rattlesnake Mountain Trail!
The View from Rattlesnake Ledge
Rattlesnake Ledge Deaths
It's always sobering to remember that these incredible places we love can also be dangerous, so much so that in recent years around two people per year have fallen to their deaths from Rattlesnake Ledge. Sadly, in 2018, a teen fell to their death from one of the ledges due to icy conditions.
We highly recommend waiting until after all the snow and ice melts to visit this beautiful trail. It's usually due to winter conditions that hikers find themselves in dangerous situations at Rattlesnake Ledge.
Rattlesnake Ridge to East Peak
If you want to make your day longer, also consider following the trail along Rattlesnake Ridge towards Rattlesnake Mountain. You can go all the way to the summit via the Rattlesnake Mountain Trail but most hikers choose to stop at East Peak.
How far is Rattlesnake Ledge from Everett?
Rattlesnake Ledge Trailhead is 1 hour and 15 minutes from Everett via I-405 S and I-90 E. If you go on US-2 E, expect to add around 15 minutes to your drive time.
Can you hike Rattlesnake Ledge at dawn?
Absolutely, you can hike Rattlesnake Ledge at dawn. You can hike this trail throughout the year. It's hard to beat the sunrise at Rattlesnake Ledge!
Which is busier, Mt. Si or Rattlesnake Ledge?
You're likely going to find that Mt. Si is busier than Rattlesnake Ledge, but not by much. Make sure to get to the Rattlesnake Ledge parking lot before 10:00 AM on weekends, or you risk not getting a spot. If you come later in the day, around 4:00 PM, you're likely to miss the bulk of the crowds as well.
How high is Rattlesnake Ledge?
Rattlesnake Ledge is around 2,000' in elevation. If you go higher to the upper Rattlesnake Ledge, you'll be closer to 2,200' in elevation. Rattlesnake Mountain, which can be accessed from the same trail, is just over 3,300' in elevation.