Bench and Snow Lakes Trail

EASY 58 reviews
#20 of 112 trails in

Bench and Snow Lakes Trail is a 2.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Paradise Inn, Washington that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until September.

2.2 miles
456 feet
Out & Back

kid friendly



nature trips

trail running






wild flowers


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.

18 days ago

Lots of snow on the trail. Starting to melt so some spots are sketchy. We definitely sunk a couple times and my friend ended up in the creek. Poles are helpful. We only made it to the meadow and hung out there for a bit before turning around because people were heading back with waders, and ice picks, and hiking boots, and poles, and spikes, and they kept asking us how far we were planning on going and saying the snow is only worse the farther you go in. Would still recommend. Incredible views of the mountain and there weren’t a ton of people (probably because of the snow and it wasn’t SUPeR nice out).

1 month ago

Fun family hike with a few steep steps.

7 months ago

Terrific trail, based on a tip from a park ranger at Paradise Visitors Center! Plenty of snow but a sunny, warm day in mid-October. This trail starts in woods, then opens out to pretty glens with shrubs and big trees. Then you're back in wooded climbing, then more glens. There is quite a bit of climbing. Trail is never very wide, barely enough for two ppl side-by-side in parts. We passed high above a small lake that was partially frozen--probably prettier in warmer weather. Made it to Snow Lake and were the only ones there! Enjoyed a picnic overlooking the lake, seated on snow. Positively wonderful. Went down around some trees to a more narrow part of this lake, where it opened to a wide valley. But hard to tell in the snow where the lake ended and dry ground began! Carefully climbed on fallen trees across pristine snow-covered ground.

8 months ago

We actually picked this trail for a sunrise hike to take our engagement pictures. It was perfect - short enough that we didn't look an exhausted mess when we got there, but long enough that the pics definitely didn't look like they were taken anywhere easy to get to. We were on our way out by 9am and other hikers were just headed in. So I imagine mid day it would be crowded. But there was NO ONE on the trail of at the lake when we went!!

9 months ago

The trail is short but moderately steep (in places) to bench and snow lakes. Being accessible from the main road means there's a ton of people that will be on the trail with you. Ultimately, the beautiful mountain/ lake views and wildflowers make it a great place to be.

9 months ago

great for beginners and kids. fantastic for family get away, views and swimming. definitely go when its hot for the swimming part lol

10 months ago

Fun hike and Snow Lake is amazing!

11 months ago

Beautiful hike, trail is in great shape

11 months ago

Pretty, nice hike. steep in spots, but overall easy hike.

11 months ago

took my 3 year old twins, 5 year old and 6 year old on this trail. they loved it !!! a little snow and a little muddy. everything about this trail was beautiful!

11 months ago

Fun hike for the family. Great views.

11 months ago

the snow is very presence on the trail and slippery at spots. my four and seven year old loved the hike . there is a creek halfway on the trail that you need to get creative to make a crossed, but other than that an absolute beautiful hike with great views of Rainier.

Monday, September 05, 2016

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.

Friday, August 26, 2016

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.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Snow Lake is beautiful and this trail is not crowded, which makes it so awesome!

Friday, August 12, 2016

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.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

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

Monday, August 01, 2016

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!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

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!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

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.

Monday, June 27, 2016

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!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Great, even ran into a little snow at Snow Lake.

Monday, June 20, 2016

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.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

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!

Thursday, June 09, 2016

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.

Monday, August 17, 2015

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.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

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!

Monday, August 10, 2015

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.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

unclear yet again. Is this 2.5 one way or out and back?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

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.

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