Over 20,000 hours of volunteer trail renovation was completed in 2003 by Washington trails Association, Earthcorps, Mountains-to-Sound Greenway Trust, and Seattle Public Utilities making this hike almost a mile longer but much more pleasant.
The old trail was steep climbing 1,100 ft in less than 1.5 miles, and was riddled with switchbacks. Only a small portion of the old trail remains and switchbacks are very minimal. From the parking lot is a short service road off the west shore of rattlesnake lake, make your way around the corner and follow the signs to the trail head. Half way up the trail are views of Cedar River Educational Center and on clear days mount Rainier consumes the horizon. Keep watch for signs posted along the trail, Cedar River Watershed boundaries are along many parts of the trail and are restricted. Once you reach the top after climbing 2 miles you have the choice of heading right about 0.1 miles to the Ledge, which sits at about 2020 ft., or continuing on to 3517 ft. along East Peak of Rattlesnake Mountain. At the Ledge you will find 275 degree views, and for those daring enough, walk right up to the ledge for a 1,100 ft straight down view. Caution for those along the ledge, winds can be anywhere from mild to 20-30 mph.
Mount Washington and Chester Morse Lake can be seen to the East from the ledge. And to the North, Mount Si is at the forefront.
Points of interest: To the left of Rattlesnake Ledge is a trail that takes you to Middle Ledge and Upper Ledge, from there you have a great vantage point in viewing Rattlesnake Ledge from a slightly higher elevation. Also, Rattlesnake Ledge provides rock climbers with 1,100 ft. of rock face for challenging aid climbing.
From I-90 take exit 32 in North Bend. Head south on 436th Ave SE, and travel this road approx. 3 miles to the large parking lot on right side of the road. Elevation at parking lot is 920 ft.
Plenty of parking, Discover Pass required. Parking area closes at 6:00 PM, additional parking available outside gated area. Dogs allowed on leash. Cedar River Watershed is restricted and trespassing ordinances posted along route.
When To Climb
Rattlesnake ledge is open year round to all hikers. During the winter months, snowshoes are highly recommended while hiking beyond rattlesnake ledge.
No camping allowed on mountain
Rattlesnake Ledge virtually snow free year round, hiking beyond the Ledge along the Rattlesnake Mountain ridgeline yields great snowshoeing during the winter months. Information can be found by contacting the Department of Natural Resources South Puget Sound Region; (360) 825-1631, or Cedar River Watershed Educational Center, (206) 733-9421