Plenty of rattlesnakes east side of the mountains, but I really don’t think we have any in King County. Although, I heard that as the weather continues to get warmer they may begin relocating closer to us. Could be. Everyone else is moving to Seattle, so why should venomous snakes be any different? For now, I doubt you need to worry about running into any rattlesnakes at either the Rattlesnake Lake or the Rattlesnake Ridge (the Ledge included).
In case you’re wondering why anyone would name something Rattlesnake where there aren’t any rattlesnakes around, I’ve done some research, so you don’t have to. Apparently, back in the pioneer days, one Arthur Denny (if you live in Seattle, you’ll recognize the name) was surveying the area when he heard the unmistakeable sound of a rattlesnake! Shaken by the experience, he named the lake and the mountain ridge Rattlesnake. However, he was mistaken. The sound came from seed pods that rattle when shaken by the wind. Little did he know, there are no poisonous snakes in Western Washington.
This place sucks. Don’t go here. But just because it’s so close to Seattle, many people flood the area on the weekends anyway. They gather around the lake and climb to the ledge. I’ve done this hike a couple of times and in all honesty, I don’t think I’d do it again. The ledge gets so crowded, it’s almost comical once you’re up there. There is no place to sit down! And people fall down to their death all the time. It’s true. I don’t know if a season goes by without a casualty.
This time we came here to chill by the lake, but then Dave, Megan and I took our bikes and rode the Iron Horse Trail that goes right by the lake. Now, that was a fun ride!
I love this trail, because it’s off the beaten path (you’ll need a mountain bike or a cross bike with pretty fat tires), it’s railroad grade (slowly you gain elevation and hardly notice you’re going up hill, but then going down is exquisite fun!) and it hardly has any users. We did run into a few other bikers and some people out on a stroll, but honestly, comparing this to the lake and the crowds heading up the ridge to the ledge, this is solitude heaven.
Lots of really good berries in season right now! These fuzzy thimbleberries (wild raspberries) are everywhere.
Some salmonberries as well. And little blackberries too! (no picture, but I sampled some and they were delicious!)
I get chastised often for eating wild berries. Mostly by friends who don’t want me to poison myself on the trail. Oh, the logistics of logging my body back and all that… But although I’m no expert in flora of Western Washington, I did some research on berries. I feel confident that I know how to spot blackberries, thimbleberries, salmonberries and blueberries. The deadly berries look nothing like any of these (except maybe for blueberries, which can be mistaken for deadly nightshade. By someone who really doesn’t know what a blueberry looks like).
We rode out for almost seven miles and then we turned around, because our friends back at the lake were barbecuing. The ride away from the lake was all uphill. We stopped on this bridge, had some beers and then biked back, all the way downhill!
Even though I have a real aversion to camping, I’d camp along this trail. It goes all the way to Idaho! On my bucket list is a multi-day ride on the Iron Horse Trail. Maybe someday soon…?
- This Ride: 13.4 miles
- Elevation Gain: 788 ft
- YTD Biking Miles: 616.2
- YTD Hiking Miles: 47
- YTD Urban Hiking Miles: 96.5