East Peak of Rattlesnake Mountain near North Bend
Hike description: Arrive early. Keep going.
If you’re going to hike the popular trails, these two principles are your best chance of finding moments of solitude.
Such is the case on the broad North Bend-area peak called Rattlesnake Mountain. If you want views, hike to Rattlesnake Ledge. If you want solitude, keep going. If you want parking, arrive early.
Hiking beyond the ledges to East Peak on a spring morning allows you to spend half of your hike away from the crowds.
On recent hike to East Peak, we counted 11 hikers on the 2.3 miles from the top back to the ledges. On the 2 miles from the lower ledge to the parking lot, my wife counted 610 hikers.
To do this hike starting from Rattlesnake Lake, climb with the crowds to the ledges and take some time to appreciate the view. Then keep hiking upward, visiting the higher ledges and their increasingly impressive views.
The way to East Peak is well marked and not as steep as the first 2 miles. The trail uses old logging roads for short sections, and during our visit the upper section was still covered with several feet of snow. Keep in mind that the potential to lose your way increases in the snow.
A tower sits atop East Peak, and Mount Rainier is often visible from this area. A bench with a view of the Snoqualmie Valley is about 100 yards before the summit tower.
You can return the way you came, or continue hiking across the mountain to Snoqualmie Point Park. From the lake to Snoqualmie Point Park is 8.3 miles. This hike will require two cars or a round trip of 16.6 miles.
Directions: From Interstate 90 near North Bend, take Exit 32 and follow 436th Avenue Southeast south for about 4 miles to the parking lot. The trailhead is well marked.
Difficulty rating: 4 (5 is most difficult, 1 is easiest).
Miles round trip: 8.6.
Elevation gain: 2,700 feet.
Best time of the year: May-November.
Map: Green Trails 205S: Rattlesnake Mountain. A map is also available at kingcounty.gov.
Pass: None, but a Discover Pass is required for those parking at the nearby trailhead for the Iron Horse Trail.
Also: The trailhead parking lot is large, but fills up quickly most days. Trout fishing (catch and release, special gear rules) is allowed if you have a state fishing license. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife website says fishing is best April-October. Toilets are located lakeside just before the trail begins climbing upward. Dogs are permitted, but must be on leashes. Several geocaches are stashed along the trail, according to geocaching.com. The John Wayne Pioneer Trail also starts at the lake and continues east to the Idaho border