Surprise Lake Loop

MODERATE 152 reviews

Surprise Lake Loop is a 4.4 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near West Milford, New Jersey that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 4.4 miles Elevation Gain: 951 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

lake

views

wildlife

muddy

over grown

scramble

Great hike with some scramble and rocky areas and awesome views of Greenwood Lake.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

hiking
scramble
2 months ago

I did the loop counter clockwise. Took me about 3.5hrs and my Fitbit said it was closer to 5 miles. Definitely worth the workout for the beautiful views! I took my German Shepherd and he only had a little bit of difficulty climbing up one spot. Overall it’s a nice hike!

hiking
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

Great views of the lakes. Relatively difficult scrambles. There are few of them on the yellow trail. If you intend to go counter clock wise, don't follow the yellow when you first see it. Go past it to the white Appalachian trail to then to the yellow.

hiking
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

tough but fun trail!

recorded Surprise Lake Loop

hiking
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike with great views. Varied terrain made the hike even more interesting and fun!

hiking
4 months ago

Excellent trail. Love the Rhododendron tunnel and quiet Surprise Lake. Really fun...

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Great trail! Definitely not 3.7 miles though, more like 5 easily. Nice mix of terrain and a cool lake. Also definitely not dog friendly unless you have a tiny pup that’s easy to carry. Will go again.

hiking
5 months ago

Nice that I got credit for this loop as I only went halfway. I reached a point where I felt the scramble down was too steep and a little too high for this 74 year old. It’s probably the point where some reviewers mentioned having to lift their dogs. I might give the Loop another try but this time go counter clockwise, that way maybe I might feel safer climbing the scramble rather than going down. Who knows.

hiking
bugs
rocky
scramble
5 months ago

hiking
rocky
5 months ago

Fantastic trail that makes for a great day trip with a lake for swimming and great views. I would definitely not recommend bringing your dog on the full loop trail though. There are a few drop offs 6-8 or more foot vertical drops that you have to climb that have no area for the dog to get up or down.

hiking
5 months ago

This is one of my absolute favorite trails. I go once every couple of years. please understand: this is NOT a trail for dogs. if you plan on doing part and turning back, fine. but if you plan on doing the full trail, there are multiple steep drop offs of sometimes 5-6 feet that you must climb down and up to get past. While there are not many rock scramble parts, the ones that are there cannot be passed by a dog without a team of people lifting and the dog. These scrambles have nothing that a four legged friend can get their paws into and maintain a stable center of gravity. Try this with my friend's hundred pound dog (who we hike with regularly), like I did yesterday and you'll understand exactly what I mean. or better yet, don't try it. because taking your dog on this trail is unfair to the dog and those reviews calling it dog friendly are incredibly irresponsible, since they don't clarify that you cannot do the full loop safely with a dog unless you have a team of people with you to lift and pass the dog along.

hiking
5 months ago

The total mileage if you count from the parking lot up to the ridge around the loop and then back down is more like 5 miles. I was surprised at the ruggedness of the path in the loop. The most challenging bits were there, not the steep hike from the road. If you are pressed for time, you can simply make a left where the blue meets the yellow markers, and reach the best views barely 35 minutes from the parking lot. The trail in the loop however was much more interesting.

hiking
bugs
scramble
6 months ago

hiking
bugs
6 months ago

7 months ago

Do it counter clockwise. Steep climb up to the AT about 1 mile, the rest has a 6 to 8 foot drop offs to be aware of especially for younger kids and dogs. Beautiful views of the lakes and vistas.

hiking
rocky
scramble
8 months ago

Definitely a trail to get your heart rate going. I would not recommend if you have large dogs. My guy is an experienced and energetic hiker, I was able to maneuver him down one of the scrambles but the second was too much with out a lift. I looked around for other routes but could not find anything and had to turn back around. Rocky trail, small streams. Didn’t see any snakes but was told others on the trail saw one, keep a look out.

hiking
bugs
off trail
rocky
8 months ago

It was an enjoyable hike! I would recommend it as moderate overall. The first 3/4th mile is significant elevation to climb, but the view of lake George is wonderfully worth it. The rest of the hike is not to bad except for some poor trail marking. Pay attention to were the trail is beatened down to keep from wandering off.

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