Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes Trail

HARD 204 reviews
#5 of 90 trails in

Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes Trail is a 8.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Moose, Wyoming that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until September.

DISTANCE
8.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,942 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

fishing

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

rocky

snow

no dogs

Wyoming Business Council Tourism Office, Frank Norris Jr. Travel Center, I-25 & College Drive , Cheyenne, WY, 82002-0660, Phone: 307-777-7777, Fax: 307-777-6472

hiking
2 months ago

Was exactly like the descriptions said. We started out around 09:00 and took 5 hours to get to top. I’m very out of shape now days and refused not to give up until we made it. My wife waited on me lots going up but kept me motivated. The views going up and at the top are good enough motivation.

2 months ago

We hiked this trail in order to summit Disappointment Peak. Before beginning the last leg of our summit, I took a refreshing (and frigid) swim in Amphitheater Lake. I believe we counted 18 switchbacks. Both lakes were breathtaking!

hiking
3 months ago

Started at lake Taggart. Hiked this the first day of our Tetons and Yellowstone trip. I live in Houston so would have been a good idea to do a warm hike. The hike felt murderous. The altitude really got me. Great views and a nice challenging hike though. Will definitely do it again, this time after a warm up hike

3 months ago

Excellent climb.

3 months ago

the reviews are all correct! we started this hike at the taggart lake TH so added a few miles but was worth it. heard elk after Bradley lake. once on the split up to amphitheatre, we saw a teenage bear. glad we had our spray but did not need to use it. elevation gain was a natural stairmaster so once you have your pace, you're good to go. bring plenty of water and a light lunch to enjoy at either lake. we met a great aspiring dentist- Tina from Seattle. hike on girl!

hiking
3 months ago

It took us about 3 hours to go up and 1.5 to come down. Gorgeous lakes at the end that make the entire way up (which is relentlessly uphill) worth the effort. While we didn’t have hiking poles- this trek did convince me I need to buy them. Several people saw a mama bear and her cub, but we missed them.

hiking
4 months ago

Listened to Billy Joel's greatest hits all the way up to the gorgeous view. I was a little emotional once I reached the summit, it reminded me of how fragile and precious life is. I prepped for this excursion by taking a liter of water, 2 bear spray cans, and my cataract friendly 74 SPF sunglasses. Both cans were emptied upon returning to my Schwinn 10 speed at the trailhead. Being partially blind this was an adventure, but BJ guided my way to the top with his smooth, sweet sweet voice. Bring sunscreen, I looked like a peeled orange for several days post hike.

4 months ago

An “as good as it gets” hike due to the fabulous views along the way. Be sure to get an early start!

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike, the view at the top is worth the effort. Note that it is a bit over five miles each way, more than the 4.8 on the signs. Well marked and both lakes are worth a visit.

hiking
4 months ago

That was an awesome hike! I'd highly suggest adding Delta lake, which is even nicer than these too. It can be worth climbing up a little more at the end of the trail to have a nice "above" view point of the lake!

4 months ago

Did this bad boy in 1:49:52 and it was amazing. well marked and great views. went to delta lake on the way back down and that is hands down the most beautiful lake i have ever seen. Grand Tetons are breathtaking

hiking
4 months ago

This trail is not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. Yes, the hike is all a steady incline and many switchbacks, but it isn’t terribly steep. The incline is steady enough you can set a comfortable pace and stick to it. Give yourself time to stop, have a snack, take pictures, and continue hiking. If you are in average shape you should be able to do this hike. The trail itself is well maintained and easy to follow. We started hiking around 8:00 AM and got back to our car around 1:00 PM. About 3 hours to the top. Our pace was slow and steady and we spent about a half hour at the top. Glad we left early as we didn’t see anyone else on the way up and there were only about 5 people at the top with us. On our way down there were a lot of groups hiking up. We heard bull elk on the trail and spotted three stag mule deer. The lakes at the top are beautiful. The water was still enough we could see the reflections of the peaks clearly in the water. I would definitely hike this again!

4 months ago

One of the best hikes ever! About two thirds of the way up very close to the trail was a black bear and her cub. She was busy eating Huckleberries so everyone passed by quietly. The two lakes are spectacular! Three hours up.

4 months ago

I started at the Taggart Lake trailhead with my wife and daughter with a late start of 2:00pm. They stayed at Bradley Lake, and I continued from there at 3:45pm. It was a tough uphill from there with many switchbacks and not much to see of the peaks on the way up. Beautiful views of the valley below though that confirmed the consistent vertical. I was also hiking at a quick pace wanting to get some photos at the top before heading back down so the lungs were definitely pumping. I managed then to call my wife so she could pick me up at the Lupine Meadows trailhead (the usual start/end point), which gave me a little more time since it shaved about 1.5 miles off. The top is worth the grind! Gorgeous alpine scenery, and I was compelled to the saddle above the lake where with a little more scrambling I was able to get a better view of the Grand Teton to the left and Delta lake down and to the right. I think I spent about an hour up there and then came down fast, which was regretfully pretty hard on the knees. I exited at Lupine Meadows at 8:30pm having hiked close to 12 miles due to the alternative starting point and going up above the Amphitheater lake.

5 months ago

If you’re looking for a hike with the best view of grand Teton and her lakes then I recommend delta lake over this hike. Me and my girlfriend set out on lupine meadows (the name of the trail head for surprise, Amp, delta, and garnet), but due to it being unmarked, proceeded to surprise and amphitheater instead which are great views! However on the way down we decided to search for the delta trail, and I’m glad we did!
The view at delta was the best by far And is well worth the pretty tough hike up. However it is unmarked and not easy to find unless you know where it is. So this is how is how you find it.

1. follow the signs towards amp. and surprise lakes

2. Once you hit the sign that tells you surprise and amp. are 1.5 and 1.8 miles away you’ll go up the trail until you hit a left turn to continue up the switchbacks of the main trail. At this turn look for a smaller dirt trail to the right that goes off the main trail, this is it!

3. Most of the trail is fairly steep and can be difficult, but if you’re in decent shape you should be fine. There is a dirt trail through most of it, including through the boulder fields, but there is also rock piles in the boulder fields pointing the way, make sure to bring a swim suit!

5 months ago

Absolutely amazing view at the end of the trail.

5 months ago

By far my favorite hike I’ve ever done! I’ve done it twice (both times in July) once there was heavy snow still at the peak due to heavy snowfall. If you’re in the Jackson hole/ Moose Wyoming area this is a must!
Amphitheater is the perfect place for a lunch time break and a hammock nap before heading back down the mountain!

5 months ago

Did this hike today. My 4th time!!! It’s as beautiful as ever. Well worth the effort it takes to get there. I would suggest you go very early.

5 months ago

Beautiful view, but too difficult for me to hike there.

hiking
5 months ago

We hiked this trail in about 2.25 hours. Nice and steady incline of close to 3000 feet. Will work your lungs! At Amphitheatre Lake we had lunch then spent the next hour climbing the narrow trails and boulders that started at the lake and went further up. SUPER technical. Not recommended unless you're a skilled hiker. We made it to a glacier and turned around. The views up there were unbelievable.

5 months ago

Amphitheater Lake is amazing! Many people went swimming in the cold water. Well maintained trail.

Murderous, but worth it. Super gorgeous trail, did this instead of Delta lake at the advice of a park ranger, apparently there’s been 3 search and rescues because of people getting hurt/lost on that trail. Very quiet, peaceful. Make sure you dip your feet in the glacial water!

5 months ago

Did this hike my first day in GTNP. Beautiful lakes

hiking
5 months ago

5 months ago

Awesome hike! Unreal place when you get to the top. One of the best day hikes I have done! Hard, but not grueling at all. All different types of ages capable of doing this trail. Mama Black bear and her cubs were 5 yards from me on the trail eating berries. 18 switchbacks, exposed (sunblock), nice views of the lakes!

hiking
5 months ago

Amazing! It was uphill all the way to both lakes so be sure not to forget your walking sticks. We saw a black bear cub in the huckleberries about 10 feet from the trail so keep your eyes and ears open and carry bear spray. Worth the effort for sure!

hiking
5 months ago

The views are stunning and the trail is well maintained. It is crowded and sometimes noisy. We saw children as young as 12-14 at the lake. There were lots of families and young people and a few old timers.

hiking
5 months ago

Fantastic hike. Saw Mama Black Bear with two cups right at the start of the hike. Make noise, people.

6 months ago

Not technically difficult: the trail is always obvious (except, see below) but often has lots of rocks embedded in the it. Use trekking poles! What makes this very strenuous is that you are always climbing. Look at the elevation gain over the course of the trail.

Even in late June, there can be snow at the higher elevations. We hiked this June 26, 2018, and had more and more snow as we got toward the end of the switchbacks. For the last stretch, after the switchbacks, we were simply tracking over 4 to5 feet of snow. If that isn’t awesome, I don’t know what is!

Take plenty of water, and tracking polls. Snow or not, they will be your best friends.

hiking
6 months ago

A FANTASTIC day hike for those who want to see the try beauty of the Tetons. Hiked this on July 12th for my 50th bday with 2 families age ranged from 14-53. Very well maintained with a nice constant grade. Took 3 hours at a leisurely pace up to the lakes and 2 hours down stopping to look for animals. Saw several including marmots , dear and a baby bear on the lower part. Didn’t start until 10 am so shroud have packed a little more water or a filter to take some for the lake. A single hiking pole also would have helped for the down hill.

Load More