Hike Idaho PhaseOne Photography Rocky Mountains Sawtooths Wilderness

Bench Lakes of Idaho: Smooth and Serene

The Bench Lakes. Nothing better than a late summer afternoon hike to these five gems.

They rest high above Redfish Lake in the Sawtooth Mountains and are straight forward to reach.

Any of the lakes can act as destinations. The trip can be as easy as hiking to the first lake. This trip is 7.8 miles (round-trip) involving 1,240 vertical feet of gain.

The trip can be made more exciting by hiking to the fourth lake. This trip is 10.7 miles (round-trip) involving 1,740 vertical feet of gain.

For the full experience hike to the fifth lake. This trip is 12.4 miles (round-trip) involving 2,160 vertical feet of gain.

The Route Map

The route map from Redfish Lake Trailhead to Bench Lakes (in gold).

Take in the Views

While traversing the bench (trail) high above Redfish Lake, make sure to take in the views.

Redfish Lake is about 4.5 miles in length, and the trail along the bench provides a means to see almost all of it.

Redfish from Bench Lakes Trail.

The Grand Mogul

On the last major switchback of the trail before the first lake, take in the magnificent Grand Mogul.  At 9,733 feet it towers over Redfish Lake at its end.

Grand Mogul from Bench Lakes Trail.
Late afternoon at the Grand Mogul.

There are two primary routes to the summit of the Grand Mogul.  The first is via the Chockstone Couloir (snow) route.  The second is via Northeast Ridgeline route that wraps around the southern portion of the peak. The Chockstone Couloir is a spectacular Snow Climb.  It appears to split the mountain in two and is rated a 5.4 (Technical) on the Yosemite Decimal Index.  The Northeast Ridgeline route is rated 3+ on the Yosemite Decimal Index (Rock Scramble with Complex Route Finding).

Bench Lakes

The view the from the Bench Lake #1. From left to right – Mt. Heyburn, Fishhook Peak, Mt. Limbert, Mickey’s Spire, Thompson Peak and Williams Peak.
The view of Mt. Heyburn (left) and Fishhook Peak from Bench Lake #2.

If you would like to see the view from the top of Thompson Peak in Summer, a Post of mine is [here].

If you are interested in taking a trip to The Bench Lakes, a terrific description is located [here].

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