50° F

This is about as local as it gets for outdoor activities. Located on the east side of town near Walla Walla Community College, locals and visitors alike are treated to stunning views of the Blue Mountains kissed by rolling fields of wheat. This is a great place to get a little exercise, take the dog for a walk, or escape the city without really having to leave. With so many different activities available, there is something for every member of the family.

  • What To Do
    • Hiking/ Biking/ Snowshoeing

      There are three main loops to consider: Kingfisher Trail is just 1.7 miles and follows Mill Creek; Meadowlark Trail is 2.6 miles and hugs the lake and crosses the diversion canal; and Whitetail Trail is 4.8 miles and follows an old gravel road and boundary line. The US Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District map makes it easy to follow the trail or create your own adventure! Don't rule this area out in the winter when the valley is covered in a blanket of snow--just trade the hiking shoes for snowshoes.

    • Fishing

      Previously known as Mill Creek Reservoir, Bennington Lake is a roughly 50 acre body of water designed mainly for flood control. As an added bonus, it offers year-round open fishing season and is stocked with an average of over 15,000 rainbow trout each spring. A kids fishing derby, sponsored by the Tri-State Steelheaders and the Walla Walla District Army Corps of Engineers, is held in June at no cost and without the need of a fishing license. The lake will recede when no water is diverted, which starts early summer, and the low levels can make access tricky. Bank access is good, and there is a boat launch. Other species in the lake include largemouth bass, white crappie, and yellow perch. Fishing regulations are highly specific and based on location and species. Please always consult the latest information available from the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife.

    • Paddleboarding/ Kayaking

      What better way to escape the heat than to lounge on a paddleboard or kayak and float around the bank for a bit. The reservoir is fed by Mill Creek, and since its primary mission is flood control, the lake level does vacillate quite a bit throughout the year. Diversion and thus filling of the lake typically happens after spring snow melt.

  • What To Expect

    Given its proximity to town, this area is heavily used but that shouldn’t deter you. There is plenty of room and activities for everyone. Bennington Lake is actually a prime birding area, so bring binoculars. All the various loops are lovely. If you are from out of town and brought your dog, your pooch will likely collect a few ticks along the way. Regardless, the views are well worth it.

  • When To Go

    Anytime the urge to hop on a mountain bike or run a few miles with dirt under your feet hits you, this is a great trail to consider. Obviously, if paddleboarding or kayaking is on the agenda, wait for warmer weather.

  • How To Get There

    From downtown Walla Walla, go east on Poplar Street which becomes Alder Street. Continue east on Alder Street. Alder Street become Tausick Way (gentle bend to the left). Turn right on Reservoir Road and take that road to its end. If you cross the bridge over Mill Creek you have gone just a tad too far, and turn around in the parking lot for the baseball fields (or enjoy a paved walk along Mill Creek).

Please do not solely rely on Google Maps as their route might not always reflect what is maintained.

  • Your Public Lands

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Walla Walla District)

  • Distance:

    Within 1.5 Hours

  • Difficulty Level:

    Day Tripper

  • Seasons:

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

  • Elevation:

    1,200 feet

  • Pets:


  • Reservations:


  • ADA:


  • Multi-Use:


  • Motorized Vehicles :


  • Fees


  • Permits

    Valid Washington fishing license (if fishing). Fishing licenses are available online via the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife or local retail shops such as Bi-Mart, Wal-Mart, Sportsman's Warehouse, Big 5 Sporting Goods, Cascade Farm and Outdoor, and Dunning Irrigation.

  • Regulations

    No gas powered boats, but electric motors are okay.

  • Amenities

    There are vault toilets at the parking lot and trailhead. Covered areas, picnic tables, and resting benches available around the lake.

  • Wildlife Awareness

    We are all so fortunate to recreate in the Blue Mountains. So many opportunities exist to play outside whether in a national forest, wilderness area, on a Wild and Scenic River, and more! With these opportunities comes great responsibility to appreciate that we are mere visitors and should all take pride in being good stewards of the wild. Many animals call these protected places home, including moose, elk, bear, cougar, bobcat, and snakes to name a few. Take precautions to respect their home and understand the appropriate response should an encounter occur. Additionally, many plant species thrive in the Blue Mountains, so staying on trail is always good practice. Carry First Aid supplies to better respond to accidents or encounters, and always let others know where the day's adventure is taking you.

  • Field Notes

    Navigation: Consider downloading the Avenza Map app. This app allows users to upload three maps (or unlimited with a subscription) to use offline. It can track your location offline and overlay GPS data from the phone onto the map. The vehicle use maps (for trails allowing motorized vehicles) are the easiest to use. Otherwise, Geo Tracker offers similar tracking capabilities and additional details about your adventure. If no service, Geo Tracker will at least show your location. The Blue Mountains and surrounding area offer a remote recreating experience, and knowing your location is paramount to staying safe. Always make sure to bring paper maps. Tell others where your adventure is taking you and when you expect to return.

    Difficulty Level: Here is what we are thinking when we assign a difficulty level: Day Tripper--You don't have much experience in the area but want to get outside! Great for families of all ages. Adventurer--You know your way around the Blue Mountains and love a leisurely day outdoors. Mountaineer--You are ready for a challenge. Wild places excite you and sweat is the goal. Small children beware. Keep in mind some activities may apply to multiple difficulty levels based on usage.

    Pets: In general, pets are allowed on a leash and under control throughout jurisdictions. The only restrictions we have encountered are around swimming areas. As a best practice, be mindful of riparian habitat in general. You never know where a precious spawning area might be located. Pack it in and pack it out applies to your furry friend as well.