Backpack to Snow Lake

Washington Bench and Snow Lakes Trail

Added by Michael Matti

  • Camp on a beautiful lake
  • You'll be at one of the two available campsites
  • Hike through wildflowers to reach the lake
  • 2.6 miles roundtrip

Snow Lake is a beautiful lake in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington. You can do the 2.6 mile roundtrip hike to the lake as either a day trip or as a backcountry camp. To camp at one of the two sites on the lake you must secure a permit from the permit office at Longmire.

The hike to the sites does have some elevation gain (700ft) as it goes up and down a few small hills. The hike also goes through a few fields of wildflowers. If you go when they are in bloom this is a beautiful hike. Watch out for bears on the hike as well as at the lake. On my trip there I saw a bear on the hike in and then later that day near the lake. To keep your camp safe from bears at night be sure to use the bear pole that is between the two campsites.

You are welcome to swim in the pristine waters of Snow Lake if you dare to face the cold; the water is quite chilly.

Pack List

  • Tent (I wouldn't bring any large tents as the site isn't very big, 1, 2, or 3 person tents are fine)
  • Warm Sleeping Bag (It gets cold at night)
  • Mosquito Repellent (They are quite bad here)
  • Bag to put food in (There is a bear pole for you to hang a bag with your food in it from)
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Backpacking, Camping, Chillin, Hiking, Photography, Swimming

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



2.6 Miles



Easy Parking
Swimming Hole

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How to Get There

12 days ago

Beautiful Hike

Highly recommend this in the fall too! Beautiful colors, and wouldn't be too bad with a little snow on the ground. Definitely make the detour to Bench lake and walk counter-clockwise to see some awesome reflections of Mt. Rainier in the lake! This is such an easy day hike to add to a day of exploring in the Paradise area!

12 days ago

almost 2 years ago

The first backpacking trip I went on aftery busy with day hikers, but only a couple of other backpackers when we went in late June. I think the snow & nearly completely iced lake kept people away.

almost 2 years ago

almost 2 years ago

It's busy with a lot of day hikers. So go during an off season but it's beautiful and not hard to get to.

almost 2 years ago

Added by Michael Matti

Seattle based photographer and hiker.

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