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Bench and Snow Lake Trail

Intermediate
 4.3 (18) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A relatively easy hike rewarded by abundant wildflowers and panoramic Rainier views.


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Map Key

2.3

Miles

3.7

KM

Out and Back

4,701' 1,433 m

High

4,565' 1,391 m

Low

420' 128 m

Up

423' 129 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

29%

Max Grade (16°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Lake · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly This slightly hilly hike will take your family past two beautiful lakes, Bench and Snow.

Overview

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.

Description

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.

Contacts

Shared By:

Tom Robson

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 18 votes

#4

in Paradise

#1004

Overall
  4.3 from 18 votes
5 Star
39%
4 Star
50%
3 Star
11%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#4

in Paradise

#68

in Washington

#1,004

Overall
22 Views Last Month
3,088 Since Feb 26, 2015
Intermediate

7%
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Photos

Bench Lake at  Mount Rainier National Park
Aug 19, 2015 near Eatonville, WA
Bench Lake
Jul 27, 2016 near Eatonville, WA
View of Snow Lake.
Jul 31, 2019 near Greenwater, WA
Halfway point to Snow Lake.
Jul 31, 2019 near Greenwater, WA
View of Mount Rainier from the Snow Lake trail.
Jul 31, 2019 near Greenwater, WA
Snow Lake
Jul 27, 2016 near Eatonville, WA

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Check-Ins

Aug 19, 2020
Raj M
10h 00m
Jul 25, 2020
Lauren Molloy
Jul 24, 2020
Abby Hric
Jul 9, 2020
Gabriel Gottfredsen
Nice easy trail with some great views of Snow Lake. Bench Lake views are not great. Stopped at Snow Lake Camp and checked out the sites. Site 1 has… 3mi — 2h 15m
Jul 9, 2020
Katie Jajtner
stopped by snow lake campground to peak around 3mi — 2h 15m
Sep 4, 2019
Jake Westover
Aug 26, 2019
Neha Shah
2.7mi
Aug 26, 2019
Kae Watanabe