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#36917 - 05/30/14 05:23 PM Bench Lake camping
carlsbad kid Offline


Registered: 05/19/14
Posts: 6
Loc: Carlsbad
Is there a nice spot along the JMT near Bench Lake to spend the night? Are there any bear boxes in the area?

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#36935 - 05/31/14 10:08 AM Re: Bench Lake camping [Re: carlsbad kid]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 780
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
According to Wenke's book The John Muir Trail, there are "beautiful campsites along its northeastern shore".

Not too far away is the Bench Lake ranger station, which is not always staffed.

I don't know if there are bear boxes at Bench Lake, but you probably shouldn't rely on it.


Edited by Bob West (05/31/14 10:09 AM)

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#36936 - 05/31/14 10:28 AM Re: Bench Lake camping [Re: Bob West]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 985
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
There are a gazillion places to lay your tent in the beautiful Upper Basin and plenty of streams. Do not worry about knowing of a spot beforehand, just go do it. That can be part of the fun.

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#36937 - 05/31/14 10:29 AM Re: Bench Lake camping [Re: Bob West]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1100
Loc: NorCal
Locations of Bear Boxes in SEKI

Map of Bear Boxes in the Sierras

As Bob wrote, don't bet the farm on these. They are for convenience and extra security, not a sole solution. They might be full, broken, or you may decide to camp somewhere better.

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#36949 - 05/31/14 07:24 PM Re: Bench Lake camping [Re: carlsbad kid]
RoguePhotonic Offline


Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Bakersfield CA
Well it's mixed at Bench Lake. The North Eastern shore does have some camping but none of it is what I could consider nice. The views from the lake are great but the sites are over used and can be trashed.

Although you do not get the iconic view of Arrow Peak the Western part of the lake has some very nice views looking back towards Cardinal Mountain. There is a decent place to camp in the corner that would likely get you further from any potential crowds.

Twice I have looked for the Ranger station without luck.

Also I have not seen any bear boxes there.

Western shore views:



Edited by RoguePhotonic (05/31/14 07:28 PM)
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#36961 - 06/01/14 01:09 AM Re: Bench Lake camping [Re: RoguePhotonic]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7228
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: RoguePhotonic
Twice I have looked for the Ranger station without luck.

Great picture Rogue!

If you click on this Gmap4 link, you can see the platform for the ranger's summer tent. I just happened to find it when I traveled past a few years ago. (I think the map I had showed its location.) It's between 50 and 100 yards east of the trail, between the Taboose Pass and Bench Lake trail junctions. If you zoom out on the map, you can see the actual trail and junctions. Switch to "T4 topo high" to see all the trails.

I didn't make the side trip to Bench Lake. It looks like it's more than a mile off the JMT. But it looks like we really missed out!

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