We have just about everything in north Seattle. All the shopping, dining, and drinking we could ask for, tons of parks and outdoor spaces, strong real estate (thankfully) and more.
But every now and then, I leave the safety of Green Lake and head east – to hike. I try to head to all sorts of different places and look for new spots I haven’t tried – but my trusty old standby is a good easy morning climb up Rattlesnake Ledge.
To get to Rattlesnake Ledge, just follow I-90 eastbound to exit 32. Take a right off the exit and keep driving about 4 miles until you see the parking lot on the right. On a sunny weekend, this place can get pretty crowded, but in the middle of winter it can be a peaceful morning with a few friendly faces on the trail.
The trail itself is about 2 miles up and 2 miles back down. If you’re in ok shape, it’s fairly easy to do and will take only about 2.5 hours round trip. It’s reasonably steep but not horrible – according to the Washington Trails Association it’s an elevation gain of 1160 square feet.
The best part? A sign at the entrance that says that its alright to have dogs off-leash. As any hiker knows around here, dogs are almost always required to be on-leash. And as anyone that hikes with a 70-lb excited mutt knows, that’s a really hard thing to do on a trail while trying to keep your footing. So be warned that you’ll run into a fair share of off-leash pups as you trek up.
When you get to the top, the view is amazing.
Of course, if you’re looking for views you have to plan ahead as a foggy day can completely block everything. On your way back to the car, stop at Rattlesnake Lake and take in the environment. Even bring a picnic lunch if you’d like.
As much as I preach about all the great things there are to do in Green Lake and north Seattle, it’s nice to get away once in a while. If you’re an amateur hiker, I recommend you try this on your next free day. You don’t need “the right gear,” ten water bottles, or really strong boots. You can do it in tennis shoes and jeans. Take the kids, the dog, or just go alone. And then tell me what you think!