If you’re looking for a challenge. This hike is for you. This 2 piece monster is one for the books. 8.2 miles round trip and nearly 2000 ft elevation gain. yeah!
Christian and I decided to go on a hike one Saturday morning. After some short research during breakfast, he showed me pictures of Lake Serene and we just had to check it out. It was late August and the weather seemed perfect!
Lake Serene/Bridal Veil Falls is located in the Cascade Mountains approximately 2 hours away from Fort Lewis.
For the trip we packed what we though we needed. For us two it was:
- 1 change of clothes
- 2 water bottles (each)
- 2 pb&j sandwiches
- 4 boiled eggs (kept in a insulated pack)
- granola bars (we’re hungry people)
We packed it in 1 medium backpack and who ever was not carrying Olivia would carry. (We took turns).
For Olivia we packed:
- Hiking backpack
- 1 change of clothes
- Ritz Bits
- 2 Servings of milk (kept in a thermos)
- 2 water bottles
- 3 diapers
Before you go: Make sure you have a Northwest Forest Pass. Get one here. Free for military!
The ONE mistake that we made during this trip was not checking the level of the hike. Meaning this hike was intermediate and we had sneakers on. I HIGHLY recommend a nice pair of hiking boots as this trail can get rocky fast!
The trail begins like any other trail. It is smooth and has a slight incline. A good quarter mile in you can start to notice you’ve really put in some work. I was struggling with my weight at the time, and I had been out of shape, so I was dying and wondering when we were going to get anywhere.
You get to a fork with a sign about a mile and a half in that directs you right, towards the falls, or left, toward the lake. We decided to go to the falls first just in case we were too tired to go on the way back, which, in my opinion, was the best option. All I can remember from walking to the falls was an endless amount of steep stairs. Get your legs ready to feel the burn!
Now you’ve climbed nearly half a mile of steps. Most of the way you can hear the falls rushing.
Olivia was doing amazing so far. She was just looking around and I’d toss her a snack every now and then along with a sip of water.
Finally we made it to the grand entrance of Bridal Veil Falls. You have two options. Take the more root-y, straight forward path, or go around and take more steps.
Boy was the climb worth it. We made this our rest spot. We pulled out our sandwiches and just admired the view. Be extra cautious with your littles as the water can easily sweep them away. There aren’t many flat areas so sit so you’re sort of inclined to the falls.
This would now be the time to take a family photo. There’s an easy path to the middle of the falls that gives you a great snippet of what you have just accomplished.
After about 30 min we made our way down back to the fork and we continued our journey to the great Lake Serene. The last 1.7 miles are very steep and rocky. At some points it can get very narrow to where we have to take turns with other hikers. You get the most elevation gain here.
We had to stop about half way to take Olivia out and change her diaper. We laid her down on our laps and changed her that way. We gave her a snack and some milk and we put her back in the backpack.
At this point we were already exhausted. Our ankles hurt from all of the rocks. But we had already made it so far. We were determined to finish! We quietly made our way up and pushed through the last few yards.
Finally, Lake Serene.
We did not make it in time to have the sun gleaming into the valley but it was still beautiful. The water was crystal clear and freezing. We put our feet in the water in hopes that it would soothe our aching muscles and we just smiled the whole time. It was surprisingly slightly crowded so we did not stay for long. The sun was also beginning to set and we didn’t want to be caught in the dark. The tread down can be scary since the steep areas can be crumbly and again, the rocks.
This hike is only one of many we have taken and it takes a definite place in one of the most difficult. Would we do it again? Maybe with proper foot wear and without Olivia, haha. I will never forget that sense of relief we felt when we saw our car. I am just glad that we were for the most part prepared with enough food and water since we were there most of the day. Have a good breakfast and stay hydrated!
If you have any recommendations on hikes in the PNW, please feel free to comment below. We are wanting to tackle some before we move back down South. Thanks for reading.