Bench and Snow Lakes Trail is a 2.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Paradise Inn, WA that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking and trail running and is accessible from July until September.
Directions from Stevens Canyon Entrance: Drive 15.5 miles westward along winding Stevens Canyon Road to the Bench and Snow Lakes Trailhead located on the southern side of the trail.
Took my 4 year old for his birthday and had a blast. Hike was just strenuous enough to wear him out and he slept like a champ on the drive home.
I don't think I'd rate this trail as "easy". I wish there was somewhere between easy and moderate. That's where this trail falls. Lots of ups and downs and "stairs". The trail is well maintained and has fantastic views of Mt. Rainier, the Tatoosh Range, and lovely meadows. We saw a small brown bear but he did not seem too concerned to share the trail with us. Snow Lake is beautiful and if you go just a little further it opens up to a meadow and gorgeous views.
Snow Lake is beautiful and this trail is not crowded, which makes it so awesome!
We haven't well prepared and we have some kids with us. It took us more than 2 hours to finish it and it turned out to be quite good hiking for everyone. Little bit stretched for the 6 year old but he finally made it which was really a happy ending.
And on our way back, we ran into a small brown bear and we both shocked to see rah other. We moved along the trail and the little wild thing walked the other way and didn't bother us after that.
We only did this trail to Bench lake, so I can't review the 2nd half. For me it was a ok trail, nice view of the mountain at Bench Lake, My wife on the other hand hated this trail (to be fair we did just do Paradise the day before, so her knees were tired) but this trail pushed her to the limit with all the stairs involved, Her discomfort took what joy I did get from hiking this out the window , would probably get a 4 star rating if it had been different circumstances ... Bugs also probably did not help her mood, this was in 2014, but if I remember right we did get swarmed a few times as well
Beautiful hike with lots of breathtaking scenery. Take note at the trailhead--it states 2 hours for 2.4 miles in and out. That may seem slow but you'll need it. Although rated as "easy" this trail has lots of steep ups and downs. The overall altitude gain is listed as 446 feet, but my Fitbit recorded an 880+ft. altitude gain...because of the ups and downs of the trail. Asthma and knees were hating that part, but the payoff at the end (Snow Lake) is so worth it! Beautiful!
We went yesterday on this easy hike. My sister in law is 6.5 months pregnant and didn't have an issue on this trail at all. Snow lake was awesome! No snow on the trail. We adventured passed the maintained trail and climbed the rocks. There's a hidden waterfall if you venture back and to the left, down the rocks. Fun, short, easy hike!
The views are stunning but want to caution people that it is not an easy hike. You need to be able to go up and down some steep terrain. Unfortunately I saw several people not equipped with essentials. My daughter and I felt that it was a little above what we expected for a moderate hike.
Really great trail with plenty of flora and fauna to enjoy! A Must for a unique and satisfying hike the views are totally worth it! We plan on doing it again- even further- once we have more miles under our feet!
Great, even ran into a little snow at Snow Lake.
Trail is in generally good shape up until the Snow Lake outflow where it is completely snow covered. One creek crossing has a couple of logs over it that are wobbly, but sturdy enough to cross without difficulty. Lots of avalanche lilies early on, but still early for other flowers. Saw a large bear across the small valley from the rocky overlook at half mile mark.
Careful of trail conditions! Past Bench Lake, the trail itself is pretty much entirely snow covered on the way to Snow Lake! The trail down to the side of Bench has a few washed out steps and might be something to avoid if hiking with children. Whole hike was just a tiny bit slippery, but a perfect 2 hour round trip hike even in the drizzling weather. Flowers are just about to bloom within the next week or so!
I really enjoy this hike! The lakes are beautiful! Next time I plan on hiking in and camping, there's a campsite at the lake.
This was one of my favorite hikes at Mt. Rainier. The views at bench lake are amazing. Some of the steps are a bit steep and I needed my husband to help (I have pretty bad knees) however a hiking stick would solve this problem.
I loved this hike. It has great views and the entire hike is lovely with no boring stretches at all. It is of course quite crowded, but if you go early you won't see as many people. As many reviewers have said, hike beyond the maintained trail for some really nice views. Also, some of the steps were *really* steep, so if you have knee issues I would recommend taking your hiking poles!
A nice short trail with two beautiful lakes. We followed beyond the maintained trail as suggested below and climbed up the rocks to see more of the view.
Beautiful even when it's over cast and you can not see the mountain at Bechtel lake. There are reward views along the way with the star of the show at the top, Snow lake. I recommend going to both sides it's worth it. The log bridge to the snow lake camp sites to the left and ice cold refreshing water straight from the glacier on the way to the top of the lake to the right. At the top of the lake depending on the season... Snow, water falls, prairie grass, funky foam moss and plenty of glacier cut rock slabs to choose from for your lunch table. I recommend children over 5 and bring the bug spray.
My favorite trail in WA yet!!! Breathtaking lake when it's warm & sunny that you will WANT to swim in!!!! Saw deer, fish, large frogs, wildflowers, and gorgeous views of Mt. Rainier!!!! Love, love, love this trail!!!!!!
By the way it's weird but May 25th and there is no snow at all on or beside the trail.