Last Updated on February 18, 2023 by admin
Bridal Veil Falls is a moderately-difficult hike located near Index, Washington, in the Central Cascades. When you reach Bridal Veil Falls, you’ll see the water tumble down a 100-foot-tall rock race, which thinly spreads the water out like a veil. In this post, we’re sharing our full review of the Bridal Veil Falls hike. We’re sharing our best tips and lot of photos!
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About Bridal Veil Falls
Bridal Veil Falls is an impressive 1,328 foot waterfall. The water flows from Lake Serene all the way down to the South Fork of the Skykomish River. The waterfall has four distinct tiers, two of which are clearly visible from the hike. When you look out to the distance away from the falls, you’ll have excellent views of the North Skykomish Valley. Directly behind Bridal Veil Falls, you’ll see Mount Index.
- Type of Hike: Out-and-back
- Total Length of Hike: 4 miles
- Total Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet
- Restrooms: Two pit toilets at trailhead
- Pass Needed: Northwest Forest Pass
- Dogs: Allowed on Leash
- Estimated Duration: About 3 hours (depending on your pace)
How to Get to Bridal Veil Falls
Bridal Veil Falls is located in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. You can reach the trailhead by turning off of Highway 2 onto Mount Index Road. Follow the road a little ways and you’ll see a sign for the Lake Serene trail. Follow the sign and there will be a large parking lot.
Note: When we recently went to the falls, Google Maps told us to follow Mount Index Road for quite a ways past the parking lot. That is incorrect. You’ll want to park at the Lake Serene sign.
Parking at Bridal Veil Falls
The main parking lot is right next to the trailhead and contains a pit toilet bathroom. The parking lot for Bridal Veil Falls can fill up quickly. Although it is a large lot, if you’re planning to hike on a weekend, you might find that there are no more parking spaces.
During our last visit to Bridal Veil Falls, we parked in an overflow parking area a short hike away from the main lot. There were many cars parked alongside the road as well. Just be careful not to park in any prohibited areas.
Tips for Hiking to Bridal Veil Falls
- If you don’t have an annual Northwest Forest pass, be sure to pre-purchase a day pass. You can purchase one online and print it from home so that you have it with you when you’re ready to park in the parking lot.
- Read recent trip reports to inform you of recent trail conditions. You can read them at the bottom of the WTA hike description.
- This is a very popular hike, and the parking lot can fill up quick on summer weekends. We recommend arriving early. If the parking lot is full, there is an overflow lot a tad bit further down Mount Index Road.
- Wear comfortable hiking boots. The trail might have a lot of water on it in places, so it’s good to have waterproof boots.
- Pack the 10 Essentials whenever you go hiking.
- Follow Leave No Trace principles. Definitely don’t litter.
- Bring enough water to stay hydrated.
- Bring a waterproof layer for the mist at the top. We hiked on a warm day, but it was freezing at the top and we got drenched!
- Take a photo of the trail map before you start your hike. It’s good to have the map with you for safety reasons. You can also download the trail map in advance while you still have cell service.
The Hike to Bridal Veil Falls
The hike starts out by following an old forest road. The road is wide and it’s a fairly mild ascent.
One of the things I love about this hike is all the moss on the trees.
There’s a few water crossings along the way. They are fairly manageable, but just be cautious with your footing.
At about 1.5 miles in, you’ll see a fork in the trail and a sign. If you keep to the left, you’ll head up to Lake Serene. (We’ve done that trail before, and it’s significantly harder.) If you stay to the right, you’ll continue on to Bridal Veil Falls.
Once you pass the sign, you’ll complete most of the elevation gain. You’ll head up quite a few stairs!
When you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with an impressive view of the falls! We went to the falls in the late spring, and the water was really raging!
There’s also some cabin ruins near the end of this hike, but we didn’t see them. We’ll have to look more carefully next time!
Lake Serene Option
We hiked Lake Serene on a separate occasion, and it’s also a beautiful hike. The hike is significantly longer (8.2 miles roundtrip), so make sure you have enough hours of sunlight to complete it. When we last hiked Lake Serene, there was still a lot of snow at the top. You may need microspikes. Read recent trip reports to make sure you’re prepared.
What to Bring
If you’re looking for a good outdoor apparel brand, we really like KÜHL. You can read our full review of some of their products here.
Here are a few of our favorite hiking items:
- Hiking Boots: I’ve had my Columbia hiking boots for years and years, so I highly recommend this brand! Make sure you buy waterproof boots. I don’t recommend hiking in sneakers. There are lots of rocks on the trail, and you’ll want to make sure your feet have good protection. I’ve linked them here for women, and here for men.
- First Aid Kit: Make sure you have a basic first aid kit in your bag. You’ll definitely want to have bandaids just in case you get a blister.
- Hiking Poles: We typically use hiking poles for longer hikes, but we really enjoy having them when we remember to bring them!
- Life Straw Water Bottle: This is a good water bottle to take if you need to safely re-fill your water bottle from a stream.
- Power Bank: You can keep your cell phone charged for longer when you carry a fully-charged power bank. If you use your phone for photography and navigation, you’ll want to make sure that you don’t run out of battery.
(Click any of the above images for current pricing and shipping information.)
Where to Eat After Your Hike to Bridal Veil Falls
After you’ve completed your hike, we recommend heading east on Highway 2 for just a few minutes. You’ll find the Espresso Chalet on your righthand side. Grab an espresso, latte, coffee, or tea. You might also want to get one of their Bigfoot Cookies – you definitely earned it! We love this espresso stand because the view from the seating area is absolutely breathtaking. It just might be the best place ever to have a cup of coffee.
The Espresso Chalet also has lots of merchandise from the movie Harry and the Hendersons, which was filmed in the area. I grew up watching that movie, so there’s definitely some serious nostalgia at this espresso stand!
J&L BBQ in Monroe
If you’re headed west back home on Highway 2, we recommend that you stop in Monroe for J&L BBQ. We ordered the brisket, pulled pork, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, and corn bread. We think it might just be the best barbecue we have ever had!
Where to Stay
If you’re looking to stay the night in Index, there are a few cabin-style places to choose from:
- Index River Roost: This vacation home has 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, with a gorgeous view of the river.
- Timber Creek Cabin: This home has 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, with views of the creek and a large stone fireplace.
- Three Enchanting Riverfront Cabins: This property has several bedrooms, plus a sauna and a hot tub.
The town of Leavenworth is also about 67 miles east of Bridal Veil Falls. There are plenty of hotel properties in Leavenworth. See our favorite hotels in Leavenworth here.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bridal Veil Falls
Is Bridal Veil Falls a good hike for children?
We personally didn’t feel comfortable brining our very young daughter to Bridal Veil Falls. There was a fair amount of water crossings and a ton of stairs to climb to reach the top of the hike.
Is Bridal Veil Falls a challenging hike?
In our opinion, Bridal Veil Falls is a moderately-difficult hike. The hike is fairly short (4 miles round trip), but there is about 1,000 feet of elevation gain.
Can you bring dogs on the Bridal Veil Falls trail?
Dogs are allowed on this trail if they are leashed.
Is it possible to hike both Lake Serene and Bridal Veil Falls in the same day?
If you get an early start, it’s definitely possible to complete both hikes. However, Lake Serene is a pretty challenging hike, so you may not have the energy to do both hikes in the same day unless you’re an experienced hiker.
Summary: Our Experience Hiking to Bridal Veil Falls
We really enjoyed our hike up to Bridal Veil Falls. We felt that it was just the right difficulty level for what we wanted to hike that day. We felt like we had a good workout, but it didn’t completely drain us. The view of the falls was definitely impressive! We also loved hiking through the forest. Every part of this hike was enjoyable!
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If you enjoyed this post, you may also be interested in the following posts:
- Hiking Colchuck Lake
- Hiking to Franklin Falls in the Winter
- Best Hikes Near Leavenworth
- 38 Fun Things to Do in Leavenworth
Disclaimer: We always strive for content accuracy. Since the time of publishing, travel-related information regarding pricing, schedules, and hours may have changed. Please see individual websites embedded in this post for the most current trip-planning information.
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