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Lake Serene and Bridal Veil Falls

A stiff climb to a spectacular alpine lake below the formidable peak of Mount Index.

Hiking Severe

12 km
778 m
778 m
3-4 hrs
Low Point
170 m
High Point
780 m
Lake Serene and Bridal Veil Falls Map

If you are looking for a challenging and rewarding hike that offers a spectacular waterfall and a hidden alpine lake, the Lake Serene and Bridal Veil Falls hike is a perfect choice. This 7.6-mile out-and-back hike near Gold Bar will take you through a lush forest, along a rocky river, and up a steep and scenic trail, with a total elevation gain of 2,549 feet.


The hike starts from the Lake Serene Trailhead, where you will need a Northwest Forest Pass or pay a $15 fee for parking. The first part of the trail follows an old road through towering salmonberry bushes and deciduous trees. At 1.7 miles, you can take a signed spur trail to the right to visit Bridal Veil Falls, a stunning cascade that drops over 100 feet into a pool. The spur trail is half a mile long and climbs steeply up stairs and switchbacks. It's worth the extra effort to see the falls up close and feel the spray on your face.

Back on the main trail, you will cross the creek and begin the final climb to Lake Serene. The trail is rocky, muddy and steep, with many wooden steps and switchbacks. You will also cross several avalanche chutes that offer views of Mount Index and Mount Persis. The trail can be slippery and snowy in winter, so bring micro-spikes or poles if needed.

After 3.8 miles of hiking, you will reach Lake Serene, a crystal-clear lake nestled between Mount Index and Mount Persis. The lake is surrounded by snow-capped peaks and cliffs, creating a serene and majestic atmosphere. You can walk around the lake or find a spot to relax and enjoy the scenery. There is also a large rock called Lunch Rock that you can access by crossing a log bridge. This is a popular place to swim or jump into the lake if you are feeling adventurous. There are also two campsites near the lake if you have a wilderness permit and want to stay overnight.

Sources: Lake Serene — Washington Trails Association. https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/lake-serene. How To Hike Lake Serene Trail + Bridal Veil Falls Washington. https://wherearethosemorgans.com/hike-lake-serene-trail-washington/. Lake Serene and Bridal Veil Falls, Gold Bar, Washington - The Outbound. https://www.theoutbound.com/washington/hiking/hike-to-lake-serene-and-bridal-veil-falls. Conversation with Bing Chat



Hiking challenging trails where simple scrambling, with the occasional use of the hands, is a distinct possibility. The trails are often filled with all manner of obstacles both small and large, and the hills are very steep. Obstacles and challenges are often unexpected and can be unpredictable.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

between June and October


  • Alpine
  • Picturesque
  • Water features
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area