8.2 miles round trip / 2000+ elevation gain
I belong to several different hiking groups on multiple social media sites. I love sharing my trip reports and photographs, but have never joined any of the groups in an actual event. I finally decided to join a group of ladies from the PNW Outdoor Women’s Group on Facebook in a day hike to Lake Serene.
Our day started as a group meeting at Sultan Bakery, which was a great stop for coffee, pastries, and sandwiches for a trail lunch. After a short drive from the bakery, we arrived at an almost full parking lot around 11:00 am. We loaded our packs making sure to have the ten essentials and hit the trail.
The trail starts off as a wide dirt path with a slight incline climbing through the forest. This section of the trail was perfect for getting to know new friends as we shared hiking stories along the way. Several bushes beside the trail were full of ripe berries to snack on. After the first mile, the trail begins to narrow and climb higher into the forest. At nearly two miles, we reached the sign splitting the trail to either Bridal Veil Falls or continuing up to Lake Serene. After discussion about previous trip reports, we decided to visit the falls before we headed up the the lake. The hike up to Bridal Veil Falls is a short but tough 1/2 mile journey.
As a group we took turns taking photographs of the waterfall and enjoying the cool mist on our warm faces. After a short break alongside the waterfall, we were excited to head back down to the main trail and continue our hike towards Lake Serene. Shortly after we got back onto the main trail we crossed the base of the waterfall. It was a great spot for capturing images from a different view and resting before the toughest part of the hike. Several other hikers were resting here as well and some were even cooling their bare feet in the shallow waters.
For me, this was a pretty tough hike. The trail switches back and forth through the forest and becomes more and more narrow and rocky. The group was great about waiting on each other and being supportive through the more steeper parts of the trail. The number of stairs seemed endless as we climbed higher and higher towards our final destination.
I also loved the many boardwalks and bridges!
We encountered many other hikers along the way; each one reassuring us the journey was worth it. After what seemed like forever, we reached our final destination – Lake Serene! Views of the lake were the perfect backdrop to a picnic lunch.
After a much needed rest and refueling, it was time to leave the beauty of the lake behind us, and hit the trail once again. As we made our way down towards the trailhead, we stopped at times to enjoy the views of the valley down below.
Time flew by quickly as we hiked down towards the beginning of the trail enjoying the company of new friends. After what seemed like no time, our group hike had come to an end. With a round of high fives we said our goodbyes and loaded our cars for the drive home. My first experience sharing a hike with strangers has me excited to do it again soon. It was another perfect day surrounded by nature in the Pacific Northwest.