Bench and Snow Lakes Trail

MODERATE 87 reviews
#15 of 106 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 rated as moderate. 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.

6 days ago

I hiked this yesterday and it was definitely beautiful. I never got tired of the views. Also, it is a short hike. The whole thing took about an hour and a half with lots of breaks.
I feel like the elevation listed here might be inaccurate because we had to take a lot of breaks and it felt steep. The way there is a little steep. However, I am pretty out of shape and it only took us 50 minutes to reach the lake.
The other issue was BUGS. The flies are miserable. When you are moving they are just a minor problem but as soon as we stopped to take a break they swarmed us. I didn't actually get bit by any, but I had to constantly swat at them. The mosquitos were pretty bad by the shady part of the lake as well.

Beautiful hike. Would love to go back and swim and be more prepared for the bugs. :)

7 days ago

I have been on a lot of pretty trails and this one was just plain hard. Lots of steps and tons of flys. The view was nice but you could not get to the lake like I thought you could. It was not long but took a while because of all the steps but if you stopped flys were all over you BAD. So if steps are hard for you this is not a good trail for you.

15 days ago

Mt. Rainier rates this as moderate, I would say it is moderate short hike, with a lot of steep stairs and descending. If you have weak knees , trekking poles are a must. The lake views are amazing, lots of flys! I mean lots, the whole trail. We sprayed off deep woods 3 times and it really didn’t help.

18 days ago

Bring bug spray!!!!

24 days ago

Love this hike!

26 days ago

The stairs are a bit steep, but overall an easy hike. Bugs are heavy but it motivates you to keep moving. View are exceptional. Wildflowers are blooming, too!

26 days ago

Beautiful scenery! Half way down the trail you will see a metal stake in the ground and a couple pieces of wood blocking the trail. You are missing out if you don’t take that path down to the lake! It is kind of overgrown but if you want a picture of the mountain reflecting over the lake this is the only spot to get it. Absolutely stunning!! Would have been a perfect hike if the bugs weren’t so bad!

28 days ago

Hiked here today. Short, slightly challenging. Would have enjoyed it more if we had not been swarmed by bugs the entire hike. I’d do it again in colder weather or if I can wear a mosquito net.

29 days ago

Fun trail. Challenging for beginners but I had fun keeping up with my kids. There is a waterfall past snow lake at the very end of the trail.

1 month ago

Loved the changing vegetation and terrain. The end view was amazing. The only down part was walking back. Great is for kids and adults alike. Amazing views.

1 month ago

Hiked on 6/30/18. Easy for all ages. Some short snow covered areas near snow lake but easily traversed with normal shoes and the help of some poles.

1 month ago

amazing trail. bench lake access is kinda lame... but snow lake was beautiful and you can get right up to the lake to chill in multiple areas without overgrowth. went on 25 june and still a good bit of snow in spots of the trail

1 month ago

2 months 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).

3 months ago

Fun family hike with a few steep steps.

9 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.

10 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!!

11 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.

11 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

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Fun hike and Snow Lake is amazing!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Beautiful hike, trail is in great shape

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

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

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

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!

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Fun hike for the family. Great views.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

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

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