Bridal Veil Falls flows from Serene Lake and is a seven tier waterfall totaling 1,291 feet. While you won't be able to take in the entire falls, the trail will deposit you at the base of the second tier, an imposing 100 plus foot waterfall cascading over a rock wall. One can also walk up to the edge and view the next section of the falls from above.
Bridal Veil Falls is accessed via a spur trail on the way to Serene Lake. It passes through your typical Northwest forest, with a creek crossing or two before splitting off from the Serene Lake trail and ascending up the flanks of Mount Index. The upper section of the trail has stairs built in, guiding you up to the base of the waterfall.
On my way to Seattle for a couple of days at the Microsoft Build Conference, I decided to make a pit stop to head up to Bridal Veil Falls. Surprisingly, I have never hiked there or to Lake Serene during my time in the Northwest. The parking lot had a good number of cars in it, likely around 20, considering it was dreary Monday afternoon.
The hike started off on a wide gravel trail, and it definitely felt nice to be back on the wet and green side of the Cascades. I didn't mind the occasional drizzle that was coming down, nor the overcast skies from the sun and heat we have been getting around Lake Chelan.
The trail narrowed and became a bit more rocky, but was still in good shape. No real mud to speak off, and enough room to maneuver between the plants encroaching on the trail to keep dry. I passed over a creek or two, and admired the ferns, moss and occasional wildflower.
Ascending out of the drainage towards a small ridge coming off Mount Index, I could hear the sound of water cascading off in the distance, and sure enough, as I rounded the corner I caught my first glimpse of Bridal Veil Falls. It was somewhat obscured through the trees, but enough of a view to get me excited. The trail wrapped around the mountain and then split off from the Serene Lake trail at which point it started to ascend rapidly.
There were wooden steps built into the mountain as the trail climbed straight up in places. The road of the waterfall continued to increase, and after passing over a raised wooden platform I passed by a couple on their way out. They were bundled up in shells with hoods and let me know it was quite wet up there!
Sure enough, as I exited the forest onto the rocks near the falls, I was enveloped in spray. It was an impressive sight, the water cascading down the rock wall right in front of me. I was able to walk along the rocks and see the start of the next tier of falls, however I didn't venture too close as the rocks were pretty slippery. I had the falls to myself, and spent some time taking it in, and snapping photos. Getting progressively more wet, I took my last picture and started the trek back down.
I made my way down the stairs, and upon reaching the junction with Serene Lake, stopped for a bit to consult the map and see about heading up to the lake. It wasn't that much farther, but there was a decent amount of vertical involved and I would be cutting it close in terms of making it into Seattle on time. I decided to save Serene Lake for another day, and head down the rest of the way.
I passed a couple more groups on my way down, but otherwise had an uneventful return to the car. Given the number of cars at the trailhead, I'm assuming a lot of people went up to Serene Lake, as I didn't pass that many groups on the way to Bridal Veil Falls. It was a fun quick hike to an awesome waterfall, and it felt great to be back in western cascades.