So far, the hike to Lake Serene and Bridal Veil Falls is one of my favorite hikes in the Seattle area. Particularly because you can hike to it, pretty early in the season, without much snow fall, with gorgeous mountain views and a beautiful alpine lake to look forward to.
Distance: 8.2 Miles RT
Elevation Gain: 2000 Feet
Highest Elevation: 2521 Feet
Difficulty Rating (0-10): 7
Time of Day: Sunrise
Time of Year: May 2016
My Lake Serene and Bridal Veil Falls Hiking adventure began in the dark, on a clear day in May. Hiking in the dark, with a head lamp, still gives me the heebee jeebees. The possibilities would be endless, if only I could get over this silly little fear. I planned on doing a sunrise hike, as I have planned several times in the past, but my sneaky subconscious enabled me to stall quite a bit, so I didn’t get started until 415 am. Although this was before the first light, I did not make it to the lake for the sunrise.
It amuses me how our minds are able to turn things into something they are not, resulting in more fear. For instance, as I am walking through the forest with only the light of my head lamp, I catch the glowing eyes of a terrifying beast. As I quickly move my light back to the beast, I assured myself that it was only a porcupine, which are actually cute little things. As I approached the cute, prickly little guy, keeping my distance of course, I soon realized it was not a porcupine, but only a log. Really brain?
Salmon berry bushes surround the path for 1.6 miles; some flowers still holding on for dear life, while most of the purple petals remain scattered along the path. Sounds like a fairy tale, right? Well, most fairy tales have a villain, and at 4 o’clock in the morning, the shadows of the thin branches of the salmon berry bushes, reaching for my appendages, were the villains in this fairy tale. I have come to the conclusion, that my brain is absolutely ridiculous in the dark, at 4 am.
Thankfully, I was only hiking in the dark for less than an hour before the light of the sun started to appear through the trees.
One of the things that I admired most about this hike is, that about half way through the hike, there are spectacular mountainous views that make the hike go by quickly. Hikes that keep you embedded in the forest for the entire hike until you summit, are rather boring, repetitive and make the hike drag on for forever.
After what felt like a million wooden stairs and climbing up hundreds of fairy steady rocks, I arrived at Lake Serene at 630 am. Upon arrival, it was only myself, my dog and this beautiful snowy alpine lake. The amusing thing to me, is that with every strenuous and exhausting hike, I tell myself that hiking the Pacific Crest Trail will cause exhaustion during every single step; why in the hell do I want to put myself through that misery for almost 6 months.
I then start to take in the beauty around me, see the mountain ranges, or come to an surreal alpine lake and after thanking God for the beauty he has shared with me, I am soon reminded of the reasoning for the desire to hike the PCT.
Although many websites will suggest hiking to Bridal Veil Falls before Lake Serene, I was trying to make the sunrise at Lake Serene, so I chose to save Bridal Veil Falls for after Lake Serene. However, after the strenuous hike up to Lake Serene, tripping over large boulders resulting in a few battle wounds, and hiking down all of the boulders and steps, on the way down, I can absolutely understand the reasoning behind that suggestion. I almost talked myself out of going to Bridal Veil Falls due to exhaustion, which is exactly the reason for the above suggestion. Bridal Veil Falls did not impress me that much compared to other stunning waterfalls in the PNW and I do not feel it was worth the struggle. If I return to this hike, I will skip Bridal Veil Falls and only visit Lake Serene.
As I am hiking back to my car, I admire everything I was not able to admire with the light of my head lamp. I can’t grasp why it is so easy for me to fearlessly hike during the day, but take away my peripheral vision at night, and I am a revert back to a scared little girl. My Google search of “why are we afraid of the dark?” resulted in some interesting findings. Some research shows that we aren’t actually fearful of the dark, but of the night; our bodies have learned to be more vigilant at night. Most of the things that urk me while hiking in the darkness of the night are stimulated solely by my imagination. The thing is, I am not scared of the dark in my home, or when hiking in the dark with others, only while hiking alone. To me, it is a completely reasonable fear, but very annoying nonetheless.
At the end of the day, I highly recommend the hike to Lake Serene and Bridal Veil Falls. It is an awesome workout, with great reward!.