Despite the large number of people hiking to Lake Serene every day, it still lives up to its name. The lake is nestled under the 3,000-foot crags of Mount Index, and it feeds the equally awe-inspiring Bridal Veil Falls below. Both lake and falls were discovered in the early 1900s by workers from nearby Honeymoon Mine, who had been drawn to Mount Index by the promise of mineral riches. The mine has long since closed, but old tunnels are still scattered throughout the area.
The trail to Lake Serene has a smooth and gentle start, winding through alders, maples, and firs draped in moss. On the way up, take a .5-mile detour to visit Bridal Veil Falls, and then begin the switchbacking ascent to the lake, passing several smaller waterfalls on the way. The path is rich with thimbleberries, huckleberries, and blueberries by mid-summer. The trail pops out of the forest as you near the lake, and you will be treated to a view of jagged crags and the valley below while hiking the final stretch.
For the best picnicking spot, continue around the northwest side of the lake to a large expanse of sloping rock, dubbed "lunch rock. Remember to "leave no trace behind." Due to the popularity of this hike, the area gets very crowded on weekends, so a weekday might be best for this adventure.