This page is mostly dedicated to the true summit of Rattlesnake Mountain just south of North Bend and will focus little on popular Rattlesnake Ledge 2.5 miles to the south. For detailed information on Rattlesnake Ledge click here .
The main summit is a 9.0 mile, 2600 feet hike that is basically a walk up. It can be achieved by the same trail that climbs to the top of Rattlesnake Ledge. The summit can also be from the other side via Snowqualmie Point. Along the way this passes two other ledges that contain great views of the I-90 corridor peaks of Mailbox, Mount Si, Teneriffe and Washington. At no time does this trail does this trail ever hit a scramble . The roundtrip time between three to five hours depending on conditioning and how long you want to spend checking out all of the ledges.
As for the summit it is wooded with second and third growth evergreen but good views can be seen from the summit of Rainier from a purposely put clearing by the tower on the summit (caution the steel tower is illegal so do not climb it). There is a park bench by another clearing that has great views north of towards the North Cascades. Due from the reaction from friends these trees are growing at a rapid rate and the views that here in 2007 may be gone in the next couple of years.
I would strongly suggest doing this mountain as a snowshoe hike in winter. The trails here are gradual enough to comfortably hold snowshoes and the weather on top is not extreme. The added bonus of doing this mountain in winter is seeing both Rainier and the I-90 peaks covered in snow.
RATTLESNAKE LEDGE TRAILHEAD: Take exit 32 off of I-90: Take 436th Ave SE three miles to the large parking lot on right side of the road. You pass a Cedar Creek Watershed sign on your right. This parking lot is well marked and across the street from the Iron Creek Trailhead.
SNOWQUALMIE POINT TRAILHEAD: From Exit 27 on Interstate 90 take a right when you see a stop sign. Then follow the road a short distance to the trailhead for the Rattlesnake Mountain Trail. The trail will be located on the right side by a gated road.
Red TapeNew for July 2011: Discovery Pass is now required for this and all Washington State Parks. Here is the link to the site Discovery Pass .
The main trailhead parking area at Rattlesnake Ledge is open between 6 am. and 6 pm. However there is a side parking are open off hours.