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Bench and Snow Lake Trail

Intermediate

Trail

2.3 mile 3.7 kilometer loop
85% Runnable
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 420' 128 m
Descent: -423' -129 m
High: 4,701' 1,433 m
Low: 4,565' 1,391 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 29% (16°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Trail shared by Tom Robson

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

Tom Robson

Features Birding · Lake · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

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.

Runner Notes

This is a great running trail with mostly mellow grades and only one super-steep pitch, the rise to Snow Lake.

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.

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Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 17 votes

#4

in Paradise

#912

Overall
  4.3 from 17 votes
5 Star
41%
4 Star
47%
3 Star
12%
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Run Rankings

#4

in Paradise

#64

in Washington

#912

Overall
10 Views Last Month
2,508 Since Feb 26, 2015
Intermediate

7%
29%
57%
7%
0%
0%

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
View from far side of log crossing.
Jul 6, 2016 near Eatonville, WA

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