Lake Serene

It was the day before Mothers Day and Suzanne's daughter Katie was in town. She and Mike were up for a hike with us. We looked for a close in trip with minimal snow. Lake Serene and Bridal Veil Falls provided just the hike. We were able to get a little later start since the drive was short. By about 8:45 we were in the parking lot just off Highway 2 near Index. I was not surprised to see more than half a dozen cars already in the lot. Much of the drive was in clouds but it was partly sunny though chilly as we got started.

There were a few bleeding hearts and violets along the lower trail. In a short time we reached the turn off to the falls. Since it's hard to add an uphill leg near the end of a hike we chose to see the falls first. The trail up to the falls has many steps just like the trail to the lake. In half a mile we reached the falls. The big crowds come here in mid summer when the falls are at their lowest flow. In the spring the flow is high with snow melt. This is the time to be there.

The remains of the old cabin near the start of the upper loop were still there. After a few photos of the falls we were on our way down. A few groups were already heading up to the falls. At the trail intersection we took a right and headed on. We crossed the big bridge then log and rock hopped across the small channel with dry boots. Now came the climbing. The next mile and a half gains 1400'. There are many steps of rock and wood. A short way up we came to a very big tree down across the trail just before a switchback. A boot path now cuts straight up.

There are 8 - 10 trees down across the trail from there to the lake. One is very large. It lies along the trail. We crawled up and over it. It would be tough to get over for short folks. This really needs to be removed soon. One landslide took out a short section of trail and broke a wooden set of steps. Some people are gong right up the slide and badly cutting a switchback. Please stay on the trail, even though it is damaged.

After the climbing the trail makes a long traverse to the right. There is a little mud here but overall the trail is in good shape. There are several downed trees across the trail but they can all be stepped over or around. There were still a few very small snow patches on the trail but they would not last more than a few days more. We dropped into the lake basin and saw a few hikers. The lake is still mostly covered in snow and ice.

We followed the trail across the outlet and then on snow up to lunch rock. Now we found out where all the hikers ahead us went. There were 8 - 10 folks there having lunch. We decided to have our lunch here as well. Low clouds were above the lake but there was some sun and blue sky too. I expected to see avalanches off the steep walls of Mt. Index and was not disappointed. They came down loud and often.

A short way up the trail I went to shorts and short sleeves. At the lake it was cool enough to pull out the insulated jacket. After a leisurely lunch we packed up to head down. Once on the move shorts and short sleeves were fine once again. Coming down we began to see the expected afternoon crowds. Lots of folks are on this trail from spring to fall. Once again the blowdowns were a nuisance but not too tough to get by.

By early afternoon we were back at the car. The lot was now completely full and then some. This proved to be a nice day for a close in hike. The falls were roaring and avalanches were continuous behind the lake. The the trail snow free it was pretty easy hiking. The blowdowns were the only problem and they were not that bad. I'll leave Lake Serene to the masses in mid summer. It is much more enjoyable in the spring.