Taking engagement photos at Rattlesnake Ridge and Rattlesnake Lake has become a PNW institution. This is one that is definitely a little thanks to Instagram, but what isn’t to like about an epic view, that is free to everyone, with only a 4-mile hike, less than an hour away from the city. So, let’s talk about the most epic of locations for your engagement photos that you barely have to break a sweat for and how we can best make images that you’ll be so excited to share with everyone.
Do you need a pass for Rattlesnake Lake/Ridge?
No. Rattlesnake Lake is owned by the Seattle Public Utilities and therefore no pass is required.
When to go
As I mentioned in the introduction, the fact of how close Rattlesnake is to Seattle makes it really popular. Even if you’re just going for the hike, it’s pretty busy on any given weekend. If you want to have space for an intimate session, you NEED to go at odd times. My best suggestion is to go in the offseason (Oct-May) and be at the ledge at sunset. If you go in the winter, there will be fewer people up there no matter what. I actually did the hike by myself in the snow at sunrise and had it to myself. But, otherwise there just about always has been other folks around.
That said, staying on the ridge until the sun has set does really help give you time. That’s good for having fewer people around (few hikers want to be out after sunset) and obviously is better for the light for the photos. Just know that means you will have to do the hike down under flashlight. It is a really easy path, so don’t be too worried. Just make sure to have enough lights because it is a long way to go just using the light on your phone.
Tips for hiking for your engagement photos
If you’re going to the top, pack your clothes in a bag and hike in normal gear. This isn’t too strenuous of a hike, so don’t feel the need to go nuts, but no one wants to hike in a formal dress. With that, it’s worth making sure to pack wrinkle-proof clothes. You just want to make sure whatever you choose looks good when you reach the top.
My last tip for this hike is to not wear green. I very rarely tell people what to wear, but there are so many evergreen trees. It would be a good idea to have clothes that will help you stand out off the backdrop.