Surprise Creek Trail to Surprise and Glacier Lakes

MODERATE 49 reviews

Surprise Creek Trail to Surprise and Glacier Lakes is a 8.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Skykomish, Washington that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

8.7 miles
2,736 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash




nature trips






wild flowers





From Everett, E on US 2 to mile marker 58. Right on FSR 840, bear left on FSR 840, cross Tye River, cross railroad tracks, bear Right to stay on FSR 840. Trailhead is in 0.4 miles

1 month ago

Lakes are beautiful. It’s about 15 minutes south of surprise lake till you reach glacier. There are a ton of bugs at the lake but they don’t bite

2 months ago

Great hike. Lots of snow still at the top. Well worth the hike up.

7 months ago

DO NOT TRY THIS HIKE IF YOUR NOT PREPARED , it's easy to loose track and it is a hard hike , got lost twice and turned back half way .
there are no humans along the way and it's pure forest packed with a lot and a lot of snow .
I will give it another try during summer time when there is more day light .

7 months ago

This hike probably deserves more stars in the summer as these lakes are quite beautiful. Its really hard to access the lake with snow shoes as there are many obstacles in the final stretch creating hazards. Its a great workout and it was a fun hike as well. We broke trail and burned some calories. I would drive a little further and do Lake Valhalla from Stevens Pass instead. Its about a mile longer each way but a better hike in my eyes.

8 months ago

Three years ago. This was my wife and I first time snowshoeing, what a trip! We want to go back during the spring to hike our path to see the difference between snow and trail. Most fun we have every had snowshoeing. Not recommended for a first timer, we were lucky during the winter time and were a couple of greenhorns as they come. Read up on area difficulty and know what your getting into. Awesome place to go!!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Trail follows creek closely much of the time. Tough last mile and a half. Surprise Lake: gorgeous little trout filled lake. Lots of flies/mosquitoes mid-August. Good campsites; less crowded than Glacier. Great hiking up to meadows and boulder field south of Glacier. Pika world.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Surprise Creek? More like Some-Flies Creek!!! (Get it? GET IT?!?!) Be prepared for the bugs...
The trail is not clearly- marked- you pass through a rail-road yard (which is private land) to access it. The trail appeared to be well- maintained. We hiked on a sunny Sunday in July and we only saw maybe 8 other people- which was great! The elevation gain is spread out nicely- some long stretches of low grade punctuated by some steeper climbs. Hiking poles would come in handy since there are a lot of boulders, roots and stumps to scramble over. We want to do this again in the fall when the flies have gone away...

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Hiked to Surprise Lake today Wednesday July 26th. Pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the lake, so sweet under the blue sky, large, quite, with many big rocks to rest on. One of the most beautiful lakes! Its a lot of harder than I expected but I am a wimp.
1) direction to trailhead not clear, but you are not far after freeway exit, cross the railroad, and turn right on a maintenance road, a small parking lot is a couples of minutes away.
2) a LOTS of bugs, so hose down bug spray and long sleeve shirts and pants
3) from surprise lake, another 3/4 of miles to a bigger lake, glacier lake and PTC, I didn't do it

So beautiful, worth all the bug bites.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

We tried this trail today (June 10 2017). Few things to note if you BEAR ALERT
(1) driving directions seem "wrong" as you pull in following google maps because its pretty unmarked and you pass over train tracks to a unmaintained bumpy gravel road. Don't worry - you are going the right way
(2) once entering the trailhead take note that about .25 to .5 miles in the maintenance trail continues straight but trail veers left (theres a sign indicating incase you are like us and werent paying attention)
(3) we ran into a bear on the maintenance trail going between trailhead parking and left veer mentioned above. Luckily friendly and scared, about 200-250 lb brown bear. He/she scurried off once we made our presence known and continued watching us at a distance
(4) still lots of snow, sometimes running into downed trees to traverse. did not make it to the lake, mostly because i was tired and didnt have the right snowboots on for tracking to the lake. Became difficult approx 1000 ft from lake

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Great short out-and-back. Went on Labor Day weekend. It was a bit cold around the lake, but otherwise a steady climb from bottom to top. Found a good campsite, although we didn't have a view of the lake (those were already taken). Lots of bees humming around the ground at the lake, so not recommended if you have a serious allergy! They didn't really bother us but we could hear the constant hum. Worth a return visit for swimming!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Great much to see on the way up. We did this trail in the middle of the day during 80• recommend a cooler day or starting off early. Surprise lake was clear and beautiful and just what I needed. We took a dip to cool down as soon as we got there. Plenty of hiking around both lakes and plenty of camping spots. Loved it and will go back soon.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Great trail...

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Great Hike, Beautiful Forest and rushing waters. Surprise Lake is serene, then short hike to Glacier Lake where we did an overnighter. Amazing scenery. Across the lake is Spark plug Mountain with lots of talus fields down to the water's edge. Around 3:00am awoke to massive boulder slide down the talus field across the lake, couldn't see it because of night and fog, but the sound was...Awesome. Drizzled the whole time and lots of fog at the lakes, but still enjoyed this hike, very rewarding!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lovely. This was a day hike I the fall of 2010 and I still want to backpack it to Glacier Lakes. There's lots to feast your eyes on.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Hiked to Surprise Lake yesterday. What a beautiful hike. Good elevation gain, kicked my butt, but it was worth it when we got there. Lots of butterflies on the trail.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Great one night backpack trip. No bugs at the lake. perfect weather.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

We got a late start to the trail on Friday and ended up starting at 4 at the trailhead. We planned on staying the night so it seemed to be ok. Beautiful walk through the meadow however by the time we got the switchbacks we had to hurry so we didn't end up setting up in the dark. Felt a little rushed and was difficult to finish with a 30 pound pack - equipment divided between 8 people. I'm not yet what I would call an avid hiker so keep that in mind if you read this review. I was very happy to finally see the lake... Seemed like way more than 7 switchbacks. The trail was combined with meadows, forest, steams/creeks to cross, waterfall and awesome views and well worth the energy. We didn't do the loop but next time I really want to take the time. It sure seemed it was further than the 5 miles in and out. I highly recommend the over night trip and get early start so you can thoroughly enjoy and soak in. With the pack this is moderate to "difficult" at the switchback. We had great company and this inexperienced group, some of which had never camped or put up a tent so I enjoyed being part of their experience too!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

This trail offfers beautiful views and a variety of scenery to hike through. The lake at the top is lovely and there was almost no one there. When we were there, there was a restoration project going on and there was a lot of tape designating where people could go. It detracted from the view somewhat (though no doubt it will improve it over time) but it was still absolutely stunning. We took our dogs, and they had a great time too.

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