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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 is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, bird watching, and fishing and is best used from May until September.

Length 8.9 mi Elevation gain 2,942 ft Route type Out & Back

Fishing

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Forest

Lake

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Blowdown

Rocky

Snow

No dogs

Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

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

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (662)
Photos (745)
Recordings (470)
Completed (1254)
Philip Vargas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 15, 2020
HikingGreat!

For reference I’m in my mid 30’s, live in MN, and 6 months post op from achilles tendon repair surgery. I do these types of hikes once every 2-3 years. I thought this hike was best summed up as relentless. 3,000 foot gain over 5 miles was admittedly grueling but the birds eye view of Target and Bradley lakes along with Amphitheater Lake makes it worth the effort. We hiked this on 8/12, arrived at the parking lot around 7 a.m. Lot was about 1/3 full. Started hiking with 3 or 4 other groups. Most groups were going to Delta. When we arrived at Amphitheater we had lunch up a ways on the saddle which provided views to the east and north you’d miss if you stay at the shoreline. We saw a few marmots around Surprise Lake but not much else for wildlife. There was a lot of traffic coming back down. The entire hike took us around 6 hours to complete, including 40 minutes for lunch on top. Parking lot was packed when we departed around 1 p.m.

Ganesh Ramachandran
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 14, 2020
Hiking
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C S
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 12, 2020
Great!

Did this today with my 11 year old son. Arrived at 8:05, got the last spot in the closest parking lot. Not too many people on the trail when we went up. One good water source around 2 miles and then nothing until the lakes. Many turned off for Delta, though the trail there was unmarked. Gradual uphill the whole way after the first mile or so. Had lunch on the opposite shore of Surprise. There’s a nice canyon view up on the rocks there. Very peaceful at Amphitheater. Debated about adding on Delta but we rebelled against the Instagram crowd. Nice views of Jenny and Jackson lake from one of the switchback turns. Would definitely do in the morning for best lake lighting.

Gabriel Stredie
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 12, 2020
Hiking

Not worth camping at Surprise. Windy and dusty. Easily done as a day hike. Beautiful!

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Lindsey Eckstein
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 10, 2020
Hiking

Took this trip in August 2019 and it had some beautiful sights overlooking the lakes. It was a bit difficult through the many switchbacks but I was able to do it slowly with my out-of-shape body. I definitely struggled but enjoyed the trip!

Megan Hedges
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2020
Hiking

Nice day hike. I combined this trail with taggart and Bradley lakes trail to go around 18 miles total for the day. Definitely a busier trail with lots of passing and leapfrogging with other hikers on the way up. I started around 7 am and still had plenty of others on the trail. All the lakes were super beautiful with awesome Mountain View’s surrounding. If you move farther around amphitheater lake there is a trail that ascends up to the nearby saddle which takes an extra 15 min. DO THIS! really cool view of the other side of the canyon and also down on amphitheater lake from above. Enjoy!

William Fountain
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2020
Hiking
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Todd Pletcher
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 7, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

Absolutely great hike. Trail goes up almost 3,000 feet. It’s goes up almost the entire way. You need to be in good shape to do this. Took my son and I 2.5hrs up and 1 hr and 59 min down. Stunning views at both lakes. Saw 3 black bears on the way up.

Victoria Iacovetti
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 7, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

Wow this trail tops them all on my trip! The switchbacks are tough but the view is just spectacular. We went to both lakes; suprise and amphitheater. Amphitheater lake was definitely worth the extra half mile and a foot dip in the lake!!

Stewart Carnes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 5, 2020
Hiking

Great hike. The parking lot was full when I arrived at 7am. I was able to park 200 yards down the road. There were not many people on the trail. Most parked cars associated to campers. The trail is well marked and easy to follow. Spectacular views and scenery.

Trent McGee
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 3, 2020
HikingGreat!

This was a great hike! It was my wife and I's first mountain hike. We may have overestimated our fitness level a slight bit. We were pretty tired when we got to the top. We had a really good pace though. We made it to the top in 2 hours and 45 minutes. We saw 3 black bears of the way up. The views at both Surprise and Amphitheater were completely worth it! We started at 7 am and there were about 15-20 people starting around that time. This was great because when we were at the top it was not crowded at all. On the hike down it took us a little over 2 hours. There were SO MANY people. To many to keep track of. So be sure and start early. We did see another black bear on the way down.

AllTrails User
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2020
HikingNo shadeRocky

Delightful! Spectacular!!! We left at 5:00 am and think anyone who leaves after is in for a hot day, with lots of people, and altitude gain. The actual distance of this hike is 10+ miles, most of it on altitude incline switchbacks. The destination. Is WORTH IT. Amazing lake with tranquility. Was a hard hike and so would not recommend to those who struggle in altitude, or those out of shape—LEGIT hard hike. On the way up saw ~10 people, and way down over 200. Also—unfortunately few people in masks on the way up—BEWARE!

Jocelyn S.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2020
Hiking

Hiked 7/31/20 I got to the trail head at 6am. The parking lot was over 3/4 full, but I only saw 6 people on my way up. The trail itself is a nice gradual incline. It stays pretty consistant for a majority of the trail. I got to surprise lake by 8am and was able to get some good reflection pics. I didn’t see anyone else at the lakes till around 8:40. I suggest doing this hike in the morning. It is not as hot, less tourists, and the reflections are amazing. I left at 10:30 and passed 315 people on my way down.

Breanne Caffery
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 31, 2020
Hiking

This hike was so so beautiful !! The hike up was hard physically, took us 3 hours up, but not treacherous or dangerous at all! Trails were kept up very well. Beautiful views of lakes below if you take time to stop and look up from the trail! Both lakes at the summit were ice cold but crystal clear and gorgeous. We went swimming and then napped and laid in the warm sun for a few hours before heading back down. A perfect day!

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Zach Huston
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 30, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

Actually tacked amphitheater lake onto this and went past the falls up to about 11300 at the base of where the fixed ropes are. This hike is amazing but very challenging. For all of those combined it was about17 miles and took about 9 hours. The views are no joke

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Nick Meyer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 29, 2020
Hiking

Hiked July 29, 2020 - Beautiful Trail Starts for a couple of miles under pine tree cover. Gentle slope up a ridge. Then transitions into switch backs up an alpine slope. Little cover, but great views of Taggart Lake below. Once at the top, Surprise and Amphitheater lakes are beautiful examples alpine lakes. Soaring cliffs around make it a great lunch spot. Only downside is the that it’s a popular hike. Sun was out today, and so were the crowds. Lots of families and pals out for a day hike.

John Ulrich
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 29, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

Awesome trail. Unbelievable views. Maybe one of the best hikes in any national park I’ve ever been to. Stupidly, we tried to take a shortcut on the way fromAmphitheater lake to Delta Lake… this was a terrible idea. Ended up on some pretty extreme scrambles that were super steep and relatively dangerous. Stay on the trail and follow it and you will be 100% fine. I highly recommend this trail!

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Mary T
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 26, 2020
Hiking

Such a great hike. We didn’t get started as early as hoped and ended up with a half mile hike to the trailhead. The length makes it hard but the trail really isn’t that tough. Steady incline but not ever too steep. We saw a bear a mile in on hill on left. Apparently a few live there and are seen often. Spent a few hours at Ampitheater Lake and it’s just fabulous.

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Rand Bran
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 26, 2020
Hiking

A relentless, magnificent, rewarding hike! On 7/24/20 we started at 6:40am. Temperature of 43 F. on the car thermometer. Had long sleeves that we both took off in 20 minutes. There were at least a dozen others in the parking area preparing to hike. Trail is flat for only 10 minutes. A very well maintained trail, easy to follow. Gorgeous continued views of the valley. (Don’t miss the one pristine view of the north valley with a view of the full Jackson lake, this is at the switchback at the Delta lake trail turn off, not marked). We hiked slow and steady, two hours and 40 minutes to amphitheater lake, 45 minutes at the top exploring resting and absorbing the views flew by! Could easily have stayed another hour. At the top the temperature plunged back down to 41° with occasional blustery winds, so that we took out stocking caps gloves and put on our jackets. There were probably 18 to 24 people at the lake with us, very spread out. On the way down, a two hour hike back to the parking lot, we probably passed 150 people on the trail! Busy. Never surprise me to see what people are hiking in and how little water people are carrying in the middle of a bright sunny summer day. I went through a total of nearly 3 L of water. That surprised me. But it was plenty for an old guy in his mid60s. While we were at Amphitheater Lake there was a spontaneous breaking of high boulders that plunged down from the right of Disappointment Peak. Incredible, echoing blasts of pulverizing boulders falling, breaking, and tumbling. Yikes. Dangerous! Animal sightings: three elk, with 115 feet off the trail and could care less that we were hiking by. No moose, no sign of bears...lots of people continually on the trail, making us feel safe. A number of mountain grouse pecking along the trail. At 12:50pm back at parking lot, dozens of people starting their hike, and about two hours later afternoon showers started. The parking lot completely packed full for a good eighth of a mile from the trail head This is a hike I would definitely, absolutely do again, but next time I think I’ll take the turn off for Delta Lake which also looks to be an inspiring setting.

Joe Overman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 26, 2020
Hiking

Awesome trail. Started trail just a bit before 6am and parked right near trailhead. Start this early if you want to see animals. We saw a grizzly cub (but not mom), many deer, and marmots. It gets hot and crowded fast later in the morning. Didn’t see any large animals on the way down. Also if you get up to the lakes before it heats up you can catch the reflections of the mountains on the calm water. Great hike, steady climb but well worn trail.

Kate Gribskov
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 23, 2020
Hiking

Awesome trail. Start early—saw lots of wildlife (bear, elk) and avoided the heat going up the switchbacks starting at 7.

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Katie Mauldin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 23, 2020
HikingRocky

It was a great trail! The two lake views at the top were absolutely gorgeous! We are not experienced hikers, so it was hard for us, but well worth it. It took about 4 hours going up and 2.15 going down.

Abbey Zdrojewski
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 21, 2020
Hiking

Loved this trail!!! It ended up being 10.2 miles for us though but well worth it

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Claire Kredens
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 21, 2020

shout out to the guy playing bagpipes at amphitheater lake! really added to the ambiance. lots of elevation change but good trail :)

Franziska Ohnsorge
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 21, 2020
Hiking

Amazing trail for a full day out!

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