I headed to Rattlesnake Ledge on a Thursday around 5 pm, shortly after the trail was reopened after being shuttered for about a year due. Historically extremely popular, I was eager to go before the word fully got out that it was open. Nonetheless, there was still a moderate amout of people on the trail.
Rattlesnake Ledge Trail Review
- Hiked: late March
- Distance from Seattle: 40 minutes
- Accessibility: Entirely highway and paved road
- Length: ~4 miles round trip
- Difficulty: 3/10
- Crowds: 5/10*
- Trail views: 7/10
- Water features: 2/10
- Overall: 6.5/10
*I actually had the ledge to myself for a few minutes, but this is not the norm from what I’ve read. Crowds are reportedly awful on weekends and even can be intense on weekdays.
Rattlesnake Ledge is a classic trail. It’s a nice for many reasons. The proximity to Seattle, the forested trail, and the not-too-steep ascent make it a great option for beginners. The lower mileage makes it feasible for a quick morning or afternoon activity. The views from the ledge are sweeping and pretty fantastic for the comparatively small amount of work it takes to get there. There’s a lake hikers can appreciate before or after the hike. What’s not to love? Well, pretty much nothing. That’s why this trail can be supremely packed!
The trail is a mix of soft pine-needled dirt and some rockier patches. There were a few trail runners here; the trail was good enough that trail running is possible here.
Gaby and I had the ledge to ourselves for a few precious moments. I was honestly a little nervous taking Gaby around up there because there are steep drop offs, so if you bring a pet or small children, make sure they are adequately restrained, held, and kept away from the edges.
While it wasn’t a perfectly clear day, the sun playing with the clouds still made for a beautiful experience.
All in all, an afternoon well-spent. As the days get longer, I’ll surely be doing more post-work hikes when I can.
Tips for the Rattlesnake Ledge Hike
- Go in off-peak times (ie, not on a Saturday morning. Or probably at all on Saturday). Crowding gets intense.
- Make sure you check the hours of the parking area. Currently, it closes at 7 pm. The gates can clos at that point, and vehicles are subject to being towed if they are still parked there. There was an overflow parking area that I used that did not have signs saying “Closes at 7 pm” because I thought I might be parked there longer.
- No parking pass needed here! Do note that there are multiple signs about high theft in the area, so make sure to leave no valuables in your car and that it’s locked.
- Bring a snack or a coffee to enjoy at the lakeside post-hike. You deserve it!