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Snow Lake via Bench Lake

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier Area, Washington

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Snow Lake via Bench Lake

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  • Trailhead from the parking area.- Snow Lake via Bench Lake
  • The spur trail to Bench Lake is only about 100 feet long.- Snow Lake via Bench Lake
  • Mount Rainier reflected in Bench Lake.- Snow Lake via Bench Lake
  • View from the trail to Snow Lake.- Snow Lake via Bench Lake
  • Snow Lake.- Snow Lake via Bench Lake
  • Logjam at the outlet of the lake.- Snow Lake via Bench Lake
  • Unicorn Peak from Snow Lake, Mount Rainier National Park.- Snow Lake via Bench Lake
  • Snow Lake.- Snow Lake via Bench Lake
  • Mount Rainier from the trail.- Snow Lake via Bench Lake
  • Wildflowers and Mount Rainier.- Snow Lake via Bench Lake
  • View of a small pond above Bench Lake.- Snow Lake via Bench Lake
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Relatively short hike. Moderate climbs. Great views. Less crowded.
Cons: 
None.
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Region:
Mount Rainier Area, WA
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
212.00 ft (64.62 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer
Total Distance: 
2.50 mi (4.02 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
4,423.00 ft (1,348.13 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Mount Rainier National Park is extremely popular in summer, and many of its trails can get crowded. One lesser-known hiking trail, good for many fitness levels, is the hike up to Bench Lake and Snow Lake from the trailhead near Reflection Lakes.

From the generous parking area on the road to Paradise, the trail starts climbing immediately through mixed forest and meadow up and over the first of several ridges that will be traversed on this hike. Looking behind, views of Mount Rainier are nearly constant from this trail, and wildflowers are abundant in August. The official elevation gain is 700 feet for this hike, but that really means several climbs and descents.

Bench Lake is about 0.7 miles from the parking lot and is worth a short side trip for the view of Mount Rainier from the beach, but it is not easy exploring the shores of this lake due to heavy vegetation. Snow Lake is another 0.5 miles and very worth the extra push. Unicorn Peak makes a spectacular backdrop to the lake, which often has a beautiful aqua color.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(25 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(68 within a 30 mile radius)

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