Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes Trail

HARD 115 reviews
#5 of 89 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
2942 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

3 days ago

We hiked this on June 14th. Awesome hike! Both lakes are still froze over and the last mile you will be hiking through 5 ft of snow. You can make it, but trek lightly to snow on top of the snow pack. We hiked from Taggart Lake trail head. 15 mile round trip and it took us 6.5 hrs. Happy Trails!

hiking
7 days ago

June 10th hike. Fantastic. Small patches of snow at 3.2 miles. Complete snow cover for the last mile to amphitheater lake. No crampons needed.

14 days ago

Did this hike on June 3rd! Ran into snow at about 3 1/2 miles, soon after branching off of Garnet Canyon Trail up towards the lakes. The last mile up to the lake was slow going as the snow continued to get deeper and it was slick. Hike was very doable wearing boots and using trekking poles, crampons made it even better! The lakes are still frozen but starting to thaw around the edges and you could see the beautiful blue/opal water! The Mountain View’s are stunning! It took us 7 hours total including rest breaks, lunch and just taking in the views.

hiking
15 days ago

Attempted this hike, unable to make it to the lakes due to high snow pack. Too slippery and we forgot our cramp-ons. Extra traction would be a must!

18 days ago

We did this hike may 30th!! took us 7 hours start to finish. The last couple miles up to the lakes was covered with snow but other people's tracks made it easy to know where the trail was. We only made it to surprise lake (which was iced over) because it was sooo cold up there we couldn't imagine another 100 yards to amphitheatre lake. It was hard but very rewarding!!!

hiking
23 days ago

My wife and I hiked this trail in July 2017. It is strenuous, but if you are an avid hiker and you only have time to do one hike in the Tetons, DO THIS ONE. For a beautiful little detour before or after you see the lakes, when you get to top of the trail, right before you get to Surprise Lake, take a turn off to the left and climb the stack of rocks. It was by far the best view of the trip.

27 days ago

Fantastic view and a great incline with lots of wildlife

7 months ago

Strenuous hike with a well-earned reward of two lakes and beautiful scenery at the top. We had a real surprise at Surprise Lake when a mama black bear and her two cubs joined us at the lake for their afternoon drink!

camping
7 months ago

Gnar

hiking
8 months ago

This hike was worth the challenge of getting to the top to see surprise and amphitheater lake. We started this hike out planning to go off trail to view Delta Lake, but it was snowing and making it up the boulder fields was almost impossible and too dangerous. We decided to hike up almost 3 more miles to surprise and amphitheater lake and we are glad we did. Before we went on this hike we read that black bears were known to be spotted very close to the trail. We encountered one adult black bear and then one cub an hour later who came right up to my dad. Make sure to bring some bear spray!

8 months ago

22 Sep it was getting snowy to the point where I turned back because I wasn't properly equipped. Looks like there was more snow last night so snowy for the 23rd. Lots of berries on the slopes so watch out for bears and make sure to carry spray and bells.

hiking
8 months ago

It was my first time in Grand Teton NP and this was definitely the highlight. A hard hike with the elevation and switchbacks but absolutely worth it. Great views on the way up and the lakes were spectacular. Plenty of snow in mid-July at the top and the lake was still half covered in ice. The scenery surrounding Amphitheater was awe inspiring. An afternoon storm rolled in on the way down and we got hit with rain, hail and some lightning but still had fun.

hiking
9 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

Hard hike but very pretty!

hiking
9 months ago

Four of us hit the trail at 8:30 am and made our way up the initial ascent quickly. Just after the fork for Valley Trail, we encountered a young black bear in the middle of the trail, but he ran off when we got closer as a group. My wife and I hiked ahead and managed to take a wrong turn towards Garnet Canyon (looks beautiful), which added ~1.5 miles to our trip, but we made it back and caught up with the others before reaching Surprise/Amphitheater Lakes. We were thankful to have started early since it was HOT, hazy (smoke coming in from the north), and packed later in the day. We spent an hour up top and took our time -- got back to the car close to 3 pm.

9 months ago

considering how hot and uphill this trail is, it was definitely a good idea for us to start early. the lakes at the top are totally worth the hard climb. we also saw a brown black bear eating berries close to the trail.

hiking
9 months ago

Really good hike if you're looking to get a good work out in. The incline is no joke! The lakes at the end are breathtaking. Very nice to sit, relax, and enjoy a sandwich and a snack or two!

hiking
10 months ago

The trail passes through lots of meadows thick with wildflowers, sagebrush flats, rich forest, and some naked rock, giving a nice, varied experience. The hike is strenuous. The last 1.5 mi of switchbacks are not shown on Google Maps. I heard there is a path to Delta Lake from this trail (my intended, moderately difficult destination), but the map at the trailhead didn't show it. What I thought could be its trail was closed for revegetation. So I continued to Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes ignorant of the elevation ahead. But it was worth it. Beautiful lakes set in the mountains. Some snow mounds were still left in the meadows alongside the trail by the lake (now in early August). Saw a black bear twice in forest alongside the trail.

10 months ago

Long uphill climb with tons of switchbacks. Not technical at all, gets monotonous. The views throughout are gorgeous though as are the lakes to make it worth while.

10 months ago

Stunning views, worth every switchback and sore muscles! When at Surprise Lake, make sure to go around the lake to get an amazing view of the valley!

hiking
11 months ago

Gorgeous hike! Worth every switchback!

11 months ago

Awesome hike. Be prepared to lose the trail when it is still snow on top. It was a moderate hike for me, but the last half mile was challenging because of the slippery mushy snow. And this is in July.

11 months ago

This is a must do. I felt the hike was moderate until the last half mile, because of the soft snow. Be prepared for the snow, even in July. Outstanding views.

11 months ago

Still lots of snow about a mile from the summit but the tracks are clear to follow. Make sure to bring good hiking boots, as trainers won't cut it!

11 months ago

Still one of my favorite hikes. The last 1.25 miles you will encounter snow intermittently at first, and then nonstop. Crampons and poles would be most helpful for the last part! Still beautiful, and always worth it.

11 months ago

The last part of the trail to the lakes was in the snow in the middle of june. Did not make all trail and came back. Forest in the first part and very beatifull views in the second part of distance to the lakes in the valley. Not very dificult elevation. Very good!

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Amazing hike. Very hard but the view from the top and the lakes along the way are beyond worth it! I took this hike in the middle of July, it was very hot so lots of water was needed, we ran into a black bear on the trail but he wasn't to interested in the hikers. Lots of people throughout the whole hike in July as well. It was one of the best hikes in the Tetons I've ever took!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Excellent hike. Expect crowds in the summer.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

In terms of accessibility in March, April, May, and much of June this trail is almost always covered with fiarly deep snow. September can be fabulous but we can also have decent snows by then. I have had wonderful almost entirely dry/no snow trails in November. The inner Park road is closed until May 1 and after November 1 so be sure you add on that mileage if going in those months. This is a wonderful hike and worth the "crowds." If you stay at the Grand Teton Climbers Ranch this is a great hike right out your door and the route up Burned Wagon Gulch will only add a mile and a half or so to the hike. Most places I would give this a 5 star rating but with other close by hikes like Hangling Canyon/Lake of the Crags, Avalanche Canyon's Lake Taminah, etc., I go with 4 here.

hiking
Monday, October 17, 2016

Beautiful! Hard hike. We did see a bear right along the trail on the way out, but it wasn't interested in us. We rock scrambled down to Delta Lake, which is my new favorite place. There is kind of a trail that spurs off the Amphitheater trail, but it's not well maintained. It would be much easier to get to it that way though than the way we went. There's not an official hike to it on AllTrails since they don't maintain it anymore (wish I knew why!)

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