I want to thank Scott Marchant for his "The Day Hiker's Guide to Stanley, Idaho". I used it to find this hike and plan to continue using it for other hikes in the years to come. If you are interested in purchasing his guide books check out his website at hikingidaho.com.
I did this 8 mile round trip hike as a day hike and it worked out well however it would be a great backpack destination as well. From Stanley, Idaho you travel south on Hwy 75 towards Sun Valley. In about 6 miles you will turn right onto the Redfish Lake Rd and continue on to the trailhead near Redfish Lake Lodge. I have included a Google Map to show you the way. I parked in the trailhead(trail 186) parking lot and walked to the docks at Redfish Lake Lodge. I did not follow trail 186. In the picture below the shuttle departed from the left most dock. It cost me $10 (in 2014) to get a ride from here to the dock at Redfish Inlet Trailhead/Campground. See the pictures below.
These docks were damaged and have been repaired/replaced since.
I rode this shuttle boat from Redfish Lodge. There were two couples on the shuttle with me. One couple headed up Redfish Creek to the Saddleback Lakes(another place I want to go) while the other lead the way on the route I was taking. I mention them because he was 81 and she was 80 years old. They have been hiking the Sawtooths and other Idaho mountains for many decades. I find this to be quite inspiring.
This is the dock that you get off at. Behind me is the short trail the the trailhead and campground.
You turn here so I didn't sign in until much later.
This map gives you a good view of the path to follow. I have included a link to a google map with the trails marked out for you.
When you find this sign follow the path to the right.
The trail starts on level ground.
But it soon climbs and the views are awesome. Redfish Lake and the Grand Mogul!
Part way up the hill you will come to this junction, turn right again.
When you top the ridge watch for your next turn. The sign will point you in the right direction.
This trail is much different than the one coming up the hill. Horses use it and they create a much broader and dustier trail. The good news is; you have done most of the climb.
When you see this you are about to enter the wilderness area and are required to sign in and tag yourself. I kept the tags as a reminders of my hike.
This sign marks the boundary to the wilderness area.
At this point in the hike I had drank my liter of water and was getting thirsty. To save weight I carry a liter bottle of water and a SteriPen, with batteries my SteriPen weighs only 7 ounces. I stop along the way at a creek or lake to refill my bottle and use the SteriPen to kill any bacteria in the water. It saves carrying a great deal of water or a time consuming filter device. There is a bit more of a climb.
Finally you arrive at the lowest of the four Bench Lakes.
It is a short hike along the east side of the lake and across this flat to the second lake.
Scott's guide book only mentions these two lakes however there are two more between here and those mountains. I stayed here to eat my lunch, take photos and soak my feet for about an hour. The old couple I rode the shuttle with caught up to me as I was loading up to leave. Not bad for eighty year olds! I guess I'll be doing these reviews for quite awhile longer.
After the mornings hike I found the four mile hike out to be long and uninteresting. I'm very happy I chose to take the shuttle rather than hiking this trail up and back.