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Rattlesnake Lake / Rattlesnake Ledge Trail

Rattlesnake Lake / Rattlesnake Ledge Trail

Rattlesnake Lake Recreation Area sign
Rattlesnake Lake sign at the bottom of the lake

Nestled within Washington's Cascade Mountains, Rattlesnake Lake and the Rattlesnake Ledge Trail stand out as one of the Pacific Northwest's top-tier destinations. Before I moved to Seattle, I visited often since 2014. Before I visited for the first time, my coworker was telling me 'how great it was out there' and how his buddies took a trip out to WA and went hiking to this place called Rattlesnake Ledge. He said he it was 'like a religious experience' getting to the top and looking over the ledge. I never forgot our talk, and now I'm able to finally visit!

Where are all the Rattlesnakes at Rattlesnake Lake?
"No rattlesnakes live here. However, the lake, ledge, and mountain all carry the name of this powerful reptile. Why?

For thousands of years, Native American travelers crossed the Cascade Mountains. Did the name travel with them from dry Eastern Washington where rattlesnakes do reside? Or could the name reflect more recent times, when a team of surveyors in the nineteenth century ventured east from Seattle? Startled by the rattling of dried camas seed pods in the wind, did they leave the name behind?

Today we find that the true story eludes us, locked in the past, leaving us with only guesses"

Rattlesnake Lake

A very foggy day at Rattlesnake Lake
We almost didn't come because of how foggy and drizzly it was, but man I'm glad we did. Foggy hiking is now something I'd highly recommend! 

At Rattlesnake Lake, as water levels drop, a curious sight is revealed: an ancient forest of tree stumps. These stumps harken back to an era when a dense forest dominated the region, only to be transformed by logging operations in the early 20th century.

The saga continues with the creation of a dam, altering the water levels and submerging the forest. Though the trees met their end, their stumps endured, shielded beneath the water. On days when the lake retreats, these aged remnants emerge, bearing silent testimony to the delicate balance between man and nature.


Twin Falls Trail -- Olallie State Park

Twin Falls Trail -- Olallie State Park

 We planned on doing a bigger hike like Poo Poo Point or Rattlesnake Ledge for this day, but I had a litttttttle too much fun at Hellbent Brewing the night before and just wasn't feeling it. It was still going to be a beautiful late September weekend so I wanted to do something. We settled on Twin Falls Trail at Olallie State Park near North Bend, WA. I definitely don't feel like I settled. What a beautiful area it was! I was worried about the "water features", like the falls and the Snoqualmie River, being attenuated due to the dry summer, but I was pleasantly surprised. It definitely helps we just had a few inches of rain over the past week. As you can see, you need a Discover Pass to park! There are several bathrooms at the trailhead! Yay! A win for my coffee induced small bladder syndrome.

Twin Falls Trailhead Sign
Twin Falls Trailhead Sign Ollallie State Park. Discover Pass Required!


So, if you're ever in North Bend, Washington, and itching for a hike, Twin Falls Hiking Trail is a must-do. Nestled amongst the thick forests of the Pacific Northwest, this trail offers a 3.6-mile round trip of pure nature immersion. I really enjoyed it, but my girlfriend went nuts for this place. Every square inch was met with "OOH" "AAH" "WOW!".

Hiking Lake 22 Trail -- Mountain Loop Highway

Hiking Lake 22 Trail -- Mountain Loop Highway

Lake Twenty Two Trail Sign
Onward to Lake 22! I can't believe we've done 21 lakes so far! Just kidding, who's counting anyway. You can spend the entire 6 mile out-and-back hike wondering what the 22 means, or I can just tell you!

Lake 22 Research Natural Area
You are entering the Lake 22 Research Natural Area (RNA)!


Why is it called Lake 22?

"The exact story behind the unique name of Lake 22 remains shrouded in mystery. A popular hypothesis suggests that in the 19th century, railroad cartographers used numbers to identify creeks and their originating lakes in the region. It is believed that the lake and its feeding creek were designated as number 22 on these maps, leading to the name Lake 22". Sounds believable enough. After awhile in an area like Washington you can't just name every beautiful thing you see with something unique. You'd run out of brain space.


Boardwalk -- Lake 22 Trail

Lake 22 Hiking 

The Lake 22 Trail is right off of the Mountain Loop Highway outside of Verlot, WA and takes you to a beautiful alpine lake setting. It is literally right down the road from the Heather Lake trailhead. As such,  both trails, Lake 22 and Heather Lake, offer similar hikes in very similar terrain and sights. 


Lake 22 Trail -- Wet Rocks
Weeping Wet Rocks -- You gotta walk over these dudes!

 I do think I enjoyed the Lake 22 Trail just a bit more though. It's a 6 mile out-and-back hike and just under 1500 feet in elevation gain. It might be every so slightly more challenging than Heather Lake Trail but not by much in my opinion. The lake itself is slightly bigger than Heather Lake as well. 

Lake 22 Trail - Streams
More Streams to Cross!


The trailhead isn't far from the Mountain Loop Highway, in fact the parking area is right off of it in a big parking circle. Parking in the circle was full so we had to park on the side of the entrance way near the road. Not ideal, but not illegal either. Remember kids, get to the trailhead early to avoid people!

Snow Lake -- Alpine Lakes Wilderness Hiking

Snow Lake -- Alpine Lakes Wilderness Hiking

Snow Lake Trail sign
We made it!

 How's the hike? Amazing! My coworker was suggesting hikes and said this was one of their favorites. I instantly said "I'm gonna have to try that soon!" and instead of just saying things like most people do, I went to Snow Lake that very weekend! It was a beautiful day to do so, rising into the lower 50s. Not too cold, but not too hot that I would sweat all over. Oh wait...I did sweat all over anyway because that's just how I am. My Osprey daylite let me down. I took it off my back to snag a drink and my back was SOAKED. I thought our waters that we packed leaked inside the pack. When we opened my backpack to pristine dry conditions, imagine my shocked surprise. Good lord I need help. 

Fungus on a tree Snow Lake
Hey buddy, don't think I didn't see you growing in there.


Hikes like Snow Lake are my favorite. This was definitely one of my favorite of the year. It has a perfect mix of everything. There's challenging inclines (with numerous switchbacks of course), beautiful mountain views, beautiful forest views, running water streams, and a beautiful lake to rest at before heading back. 

Reflecting Pond Snow Lake
A wonderful reflecting pond on the trail before the lake.


This trail is right off of I-90 near Snoqualmie Pass. It shouldn't be confused with the Snow Lake or "Snow Lakes" that is part of the Enchantments! Snow Lake is part of the greater Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and is in Washington's Alpine Lake Wilderness. Arguably the most beautiful area of the state. The Snow Lake Trail is the most visited and used in the Alpine Lake Wilderness.

Animal on Snow Lake
This little guy scurried out in front of us on the trail. yay wildlife. we never see any besides birds squirrels and deer.


Yes because it's beautiful, but because the trailhead is EASILY accessible by vehicle during the non-snowy season. There's not 3 miles of unkept forest service road that some hikes require you to take. It's not the kind of drive that makes you wonder if your suspension will survive. In fact there's actually a decently sized parking lot to park in, this due mostly in part to the fact that the lot serves as parking for Alpental Ski Area during the snowy months. 

Weeping Rock Walls
It's okay rock wall, it'll be ok.


The hike starts across the street the parking lot and immediately starts an incline. It's decently steep for a short period of time (maybe a quarter mile?) then continues for the next mile as a gradual and doable incline. The rest of the way to the highest point has some fairly steep grades intertwined with numerous switchbacks as you climb and climb and start to get some great sweeping mountain views. 

Stream Snow Lake
Cute stream leading to the lake I bet


Before the mountain views you're met with a beautiful forest occasionally stepping through running water depending on the season. Once you reach the highest point, you actually have to start going back down in elevation to get down to the lake. You're welcomed with some stunning views of the lake as it opens up on certain parts of the walk down. There was no snow when we were there though! It was a hot summer! Only weeks after visiting I believe Snow Lake got its first flakes of the season though! Good things come to people who wait. 

Autumn Colors Snow Lake
Insane Fall Views on the trail!


There is a little spur from the trail leading to a large rock that overlooks the lake from a high vantage point. If it's not busy you might be able to snag a spot to sit and glance out of the lake and relax.

Boulder Field Snow Lake
There's also a huge boulder field to walk through. The path does a decent job at clearing space for you, but you will still have to step over rocks, carefully. Not quite a scramble. More like an amble. Another cool feature of the trail.

Walk down to Snow Lake
There she is in all her glory!
The mountainous backdrop and the crystal clear waters of the lake were insanely relaxing. Despite it being fairly busy with people we were able to claim a rock to sit on by the water and have a snack and drink before trekking back up and out. I would definitely love to come back with a flotation device and just chill on the lake all day. They lake is stocked as well, so you can fish from it.

Snow Lake Shore


It's a 7 mile out and back trail and at some point, especially when you're trying to hydrate, you're gonna want to relieve yourself. On the way back from the lake we remembered seeing a sign that said "Toilet" with an arrow. Oh thank goodness! We'll head up there! Kinda weird for them to have an outhouse in the middle of nowhere, but we'll take it! Boy was I wrong. 

toilet sign
Oh perfect!


  As a pee-shy individual this was just sadistic. Women, maybe consider bringing a SheWee??? I'm all for rustic but this was unexpected. You can tell I like the outdoors but I am NOT an outdoorsman. x)

SNow lake toilet
WELP. That's the toilet. A wooden box around a hole in the ground. Fantastic.


Here is a concrete cabin that used to stand! All that remains is what appears to be a fireplace. 

Snow lake cabin remains

The ruins of the cabin at Snow Lake trace back to the 1930s, when Aldrich W. Fenton, a timber cruiser and son of Seattle pioneers, built it after purchasing the lakeshore property from the Northern Pacific Railway. He, along with his sons, constructed the cabin, using pack horses to transport materials and felling trees for timbers. However, the cabin collapsed in the heavy snows of 1950, leaving behind the concrete-and-rock foundation that still remains as a testament to its past.

snow lake
turning around and going home. bye snow lake!


This is definitely hike we'll be back to several times over! You can even continue on to Gem Lake on the trail if you have it in you! This isn't one of Washington's best hikes for no reason! A great autumn hike!

Alpine Lakes Wilderness sign on the trail

Tree fungus
More funghi

Tree mold
Man, everybody and everyTHING loves this place I guess!

Mountain Views Snow Lake

Hellbent Brewing

Hellbent Brewing

Hellbent Brewing Company is situated in the Lake City neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. It’s recognized for its expansive and diverse beer selection, typically featuring a mix of styles from hop-heavy IPAs to robust stouts and refreshing lagers, catering to a broad spectrum of beer enthusiasts. It's a 21+ taproom that is extremely dog friendly. In fact there was a dog off leash running around upstairs. That's a bit much but hey. 

Outside at Hellbent Brewing
Pretty chilly evening, but we're still outside!

Hellbent's award-winning brews are a testament to their commitment to the craft. Their Seattle Sunshine, a hazy pale ale, boasts of bready malts and a symphony of hops, earning it the Platinum "Best in the Northwest" title by SIP Magazine in 2020. The Dang! Citra IPA, with its citrusy tropical hop aroma, and the Red Patina Amber Ale, a medium-bodied ale with hints of caramel and toffee, have both clinched accolades at the Washington Beer Awards. And for those who love a classic, the Northwest Pilsner is a nod to the traditional, with a slight twist of Northwest hops.

I had 100% Fresh Hop IPA, Dog Parade Starts Here! Hazy IPA, and Juicier and Juicier Hazy IPA. My GF had several in a flight and a Mossback Monk Belgian Tripel. Overall a pretty good trip! I definitely had more than I should have considering we had some hikes planned for the weekend!

Another Hazy IPA Hellbent
I guess I'm a hazeboi. Another hazy at Hellbent

The brewery has made a name for itself not just through its beer but also through its welcoming and relaxed environment. It's a popular spot for both locals and visitors seeking a casual and friendly place to enjoy high-quality craft beers. The interior usually offers ample seating with an upstairs and downstairs area. 

 Upstairs has more seating.... and pinball! There is also a fairly large outdoor area with picnic tables on gravel and another area with synthetic grass. The décor often reflects a warm, homey, semi industrial aesthetic, making it an inviting space for socializing and relaxation. There are TVs throughout the taproom in case you wanted to watch the Mariners lose their chance at the World Series. (too soon?).

Chicken Puffy Tacos from Mexicuban at Hellbent
Chicken Puffy Tacos??? WHY NOT?!

In addition to their brews, Hellbent is known for hosting a rotating lineup of food trucks, offering patrons a variety of culinary options to pair with their beers. These might range from local favorites serving up gourmet burgers and fries to exotic cuisines offering unique and flavorful dishes. Mexicuban Food Truck was there during our visit. Fluffy Tacos? Yeah they have them, and they were pretty good too!

Audacity Brewing

Audacity Brewing

Nestled in the charming town of Snohomish, Washington, I stumbled upon a hidden gem in the world of craft beer after hiking the Heather Lake Trail—Audacity Brewing! This family-owned sanctuary of brews emanates an adventurous spirit and a willingness to take bold risks, embodying the essence of audacity in every sip.

Audacity Brewing in Snohomish
An upstairs bar to overlook the brewery

 Inspired by the Pacific Northwest 

Audacity Brewing is not just a brewery; it’s a homage to the Pacific Northwest, respecting the rich brewing traditions of the region while pushing the boundaries of conventional brewing. Being in the epicenter of diverse flora and fauna, it’s a place where the lush landscapes of Washington meet the refined art of brewing, creating a harmonious symphony of flavors. They were all out of the Belgian Quad we both wanted to try but we still had some great brews. (They also said there was a barleywine coming out soon... #BiL).

Family-Owned and Operated 

Walking into Audacity, you feel the warmth and intimacy that only a family-owned establishment can offer. It’s a place where passion for brewing intertwines with familial values, creating an atmosphere that is welcoming and genuine. Every guest is treated like a part of the family, welcomed to share stories over a beer... or two. The upstairs interior is for 21+ adults only, which creates a nice barrier for those who'd rather imbibe without children around.

A Symphony of Flavors  

Audacity’s small-batch production philosophy allows them to explore a plethora of styles and flavors. The selection here is ever-evolving, a rotating symphony of innovative and quality brews, ensuring that every visit offers a new flavor experience. It’s a paradise for those who, like me, love to venture into the unknown territories of taste! I ended up getting the Greed Island, Audax Strategem, and Blanc Bines IPA, while my GF got Petiliste Ruze, and Czech amber lager, and Enksy, a Patersbier. All in all, a great first impression. If we hike in the area again, which we will, we'll be back for sure.

Upstairs couches at Audacity Brewing
Comfy upstairs seating area 

 Sustainability: A Core Philosophy  

Audacity Brewing embodies a profound commitment to environmental stewardship. They have intertwined sustainability with their brewing process, ensuring each step is taken with the utmost consideration for the environment. By donating spent grain to local farms and repurposing spent hops for compost, Audacity is not only reducing waste but is also contributing to the ecological cycle of the local environment. Their meticulous conservation efforts, such as collecting water through their heat exchanger for brewing and cleaning, showcase their dedication to preserving the natural splendor of the region. It’s a seamless blend of ethical brewing and environmental consciousness, a testament to their resolve to make a positive impact on the planet. How awesome is that! I can get behind that. A brewery back in PA, where I used to live, used their spent grain for brunch. I'm almost positive...

Upstairs view of the downstairs -- audacity brewing

A Tapestry of Stories  

 The taproom at Audacity is more than just a place to enjoy great beer; it’s a tapestry where stories are woven, and experiences are shared. It’s a hub where locals and visitors converge to create memories, a place where every individual is a thread in the vibrant fabric of Audacity’s community. There was unfortunately no food truck outside, even though we were starving. That would've made the trip truly complete, but they did have small snacks to tide us over. Per their website, they do occasionally host food truck events. I suppose just not on a late Sunday afternoon.

Stools and bar upstairs Audacity Brewing
We had the upstairs to ourselves!

 A Commitment to Local Impact 

Audacity feels a deep responsibility to leave a lasting, positive imprint on society. They are not just brewers; they are nurturers of community spirit, supporters of local small businesses, and advocates of regional sourcing. Every initiative is a step towards creating a more cohesive and supportive community environment.

Hiking Heather Lake  Trail -- Washington

Hiking Heather Lake Trail -- Washington

Heather Lake Trailhead Information Paper
Trail information at the Trailhead. 2.1 miles one way. "More difficult" rating. Not sure I agree but hey.

Tucked neatly into the Cascades of Washington State outside Granite Falls, near Verlot, on the Mountain Loop Highway, Heather Lake offers hikers a scenic destination and a pleasant moderately challenging say hike! The drive in from Seattle following the Mountain Loop Highway, which you catch in Granite Falls, is lovely. The next road...National Forest Road 4220 (NF-4220) is not. Cars beware, this is a really rough road to the trailhead. That being said...we did just fine in our hybrid Honda Accord 😆I did make it cross country for our PA-WA road-trip move, ya know! There is also a bathroom at the trailhead so I'm already in love.

Slippery wet rocks on Heather Lake Trail
Slippery wet rocks to walk along on the trail. Wear good footwear!

Starting from the trailhead, the 4.6-mile round trip unveils the diverse landscapes of the region. This was the perfect hike to kick off the beginning of October and the beginning of the autumnal changes happening in the PNW. When we started the hike it was roughly 50 degrees on a late Sunday morning. The trailhead was already packed with cars and we simply got lucky in finding a spot!

Puddles on the Heather Lake Trail

Good climb up the rocks on Heather Lake Trail
Get both hands ready. Gotta scramble up this wet rock face! I banged by water bottle off the rocks. Goodbye bears!

As you navigate the well-trodden paths, you'll encounter a mix of old-growth and second-growth forests as well as newly sprouted greenery. Massive, moss-covered rocks and boulders punctuate the trail, testament to the region's rich geological history. Many of these ancient stones, shaped by time and elements, serve as resting spots or even makeshift photo ops for travelers. I won't say that I didn't climb up on some. Rocks are the one thing that I will walk over and on, never vegetation though!

Fungi on a Log -- Heather Lake Trail
Mushrooms on a Log. I'm not sure what kind they are. Maybe I should get into mycology now too.

Upon reaching Heather Lake, the real magic unveils itself. The pristine waters perfectly mirror the surrounding landscapes, from the dense tree lines to the almost haunting escarpment of Mount Pilchuck and it's presence abutting against the lake. The lake's shores are rocky and rugged, a testament to the glacial history that sculpted this basin.
Heather Lake in the Fall
Fall Colors are starting at Heather Lake Trail -- VIBRANT!

 In fact, there's an extra 0.7 miles or so you can walk. It takes you along the perimeter of the lake to get some different vantage points, and get closer to Mount Pilchuck. If you do follow the trail around the lake, around halfway through there's a boulder field that if you were so inclined, you might climb around and have some fun with it.

Heather Lake Washington
Just beautiful! Look at the sun in the background the darkness in the foreground. Thanks Mt Pilchuck!

heather Lake reflections
Incredible reflections on Heather Lake
Near the boulder field around around the lake loop. Look at the colors of that water!

 Any fish in that water? Yes! Fishing isn't super common, but you can definitely fish in Heather Lake and find things like Rainbow Trout. I'd rather toss my shirt and swim during one of the uncommon 90 degree days Washington has been having.
More views from the Boulder Field area which a huge dark shadow of darkness created by Mt Pilchuck

Mt Pilchuck face and landscape
What a landscape. Thanks Mt Pilchuck!

All in all, Heather Lake isn't just a destination; it's an experience. A journey through time, nature, and the undying spirit of the Cascades. If you're in Washington, it's a trek that should undoubtedly be on your list. It's a less popular hike than Lake 22 which is right down the road. Both hikes are very similar. Maybe I shouldn't be telling you this... I wouldn't want it to get just as crowded too. 

Heather Lake - Lake 22 - Pilchuck map
Look at how close the two are. You get almost the same hike! And Mt Pilchuck!

After our hike we drove back into town on our way back to Seattle. Which town? Snohomish! We tried our hands at Audacity Brewing. They had a great rating and we were in the it goes.