“A relatively easy hike rewarded by abundant wildflowers and panoramic Rainier views.”
— Tom Robson
Birding · Lake · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This slightly hilly hike will take your family past two beautiful lakes, Bench and Snow.
Bench Lake is so named because the flat area around the lake is called "The Bench." Snow Lake may have been named because the cirque in which it lies is filled by icy meltwater from the snowfields of the Tatoosh
Range or because snow often rings the lake until late summer.
Need to Know
The Snow Lake Camp is often late melting out and may be snow-covered until July. Permits and current trail conditions are available park-wide from wilderness information centers, ranger stations, and visitor centers. Fires are prohibited. No pets on trails. Treat water before drinking.
The trailhead is located one and a half miles east of the Reflection Lakes
parking area on the south side of the road.
The trail is a succession of gradual ups and downs as it crosses a series of low ridges. The path first reaches Bench Lake after .75 mile, then continues another .5 miles to Snow Lake. Most years these lakes do not melt out until late July and the trail can be muddy until then.
Flora & Fauna
In mid-summer, this area explodes with a variety of wildflowers and an abundance of bear grass. In the fall, mountain ash and huckleberries color the scene. Quite visible is a silver forest of trees which remain from a past fire. Expect good views of Mount Rainier on clear days. There is always a chance of seeing black bears as well.