Surprise Lake

MODERATE 12 reviews
#16 of 26 trails in

Surprise Lake is a 6.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Heeney, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

6.5 miles
1489 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly





nature trips


trail running





wild flowers




over grown


1 month ago

The trail is very snowy still (mid May) I post holed up to knee for the latter 2/3rds of the trail. Turned around just before gore range trail. It was all swamped out with ice water and I couldn’t divert to avoid getting more wet. Also a good deal of dead fall over the trail. It needs some chainsaw love and probably a couple more weeks of thaw. Hope to return in a month.

2 months ago

I really love this hike. I went up in early June last year. The first week I went there was a significant amount of snow. The next weekend had zero snow. Very scenic, away from any road noise and not very busy. There were a ton of downed trees in the trail but I had fun getting over them. There are also a few water crossings and one or two that are challenging. I would recommend wearing shoes that can dry out quickly in case you fall in. I wouldn't say this is a terribly difficult hike, I've gone up with friends that aren't fit and it just required more breaks. The lake itself is beautiful and totally worth the trek. I'd like to backpack up here this summer.

9 months ago

Decent elevation gain. Well planned trail. A lot of traffic on the weekends.

9 months ago

Definitely more difficult than I expected. Especially for my first time backpacking. Pretty area with lots of camping spots (no fires, unfortunately). Make sure you go the extra few miles to Upper Cataract!

9 months ago

I would not call this a moderate trail, it is more difficult than expected. Went in mid July. Steep, rocky incline for most of the hike. I'm physically fit and this was difficult for me. I hike it with an out of town friend who is moderately fit and she struggled with the steep incline plus the difference in altitude. Definitely not a beginning hikers trail. The scenery is wildflower meadows at the beginning then gets to be forest for a good majority until you reach the lake. We got rained on mid hike and it got pretty chilly, so bring a light jacket as a precaution. Going back down the mountain is also quite challenging as it is easy to slip on loose rocks and dirt. Would recommend walking sticks or some kind of aide for those who have ankle or knee issues.

Nonetheless, getting to the lake makes the hike worth it. It is a beautiful view and has plenty of areas to relax and take in the scenery.

P.S. DEFINITELY BRING BUG SPRAY. we used it aggressively.

11 months ago

I would rate this trail as difficult, especially if carrying weight. From the trailhead, you have a pretty straight and steep climb. Coming from the south should be mostly downhill.

Bug spray is an absolute must during summer time. Major thanks to a kind gentleman and his wife for giving my friend and I some bug spray on the trail.

11 months ago

Not the prettiest hike, and lots of mosquitoes when we went on 6/26/17. Great views of the lake!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Terrific trail system here, steep and tough until you get to surprise lake. Continue on this trail to reach upper cataract lake. Lots of wildlife and a vast forest setting. Saw some bear prints today!

10 months ago

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Sunday, July 21, 2013