Upper Bench Valley Lakes
ElevationAscent: 563' 172 m
Descent: -8' -3 m
High: 10,949' 3,337 m
Low: 10,387' 3,166 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 10% (6°)
Popular runs nearby
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Copper Creek Trail
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Rae Lakes Loop
40.4 mi 65.0 km • Loop • 6,971 ft Ascent 2124.75 m Ascent
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“Easy off-trail route to the superb, lonely lakes of upper Bench Valley”— Lee Watts
From here on you pass a series of granite-bound lakes, one after the other, all with panoramas of the surrounding ridges. Each has good camping sites. You'll probably not see another person.
From Twin Buck Lake, a short, easy climb brings you to Schoolmarm Lake. On the east side of the lake, climb up the rocks near the stream to reach Six Shooter Lake, which has a steep granite cliff dropping into the lake. The only difficult spot on the entire route is getting down from the rocks on the west side of this lake to the grassy slopes just below. It is only about a 10 foot drop. Most people who get this far, will be able to climb down. At my advanced age, I chose to go around the rocks by wading in the lake.
Once you reach the grass, it is an easy walk past Holster Lake to Bullet Lake where you enter a high, lake filled basin that leads up towards Gunsight Pass. The next lake is an easy walk, but beyond that, the talus becomes more unavoidable.
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We need help with the following missing trail information:
Need to Know, Dogs Allowed, Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes
Land Manager: USFS - Sierra National Forest Office