Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes Trail

HARD 406 reviews
#5 of 102 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 is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, bird watching, and fishing and is best used from May until September.

Distance: 8.9 miles Elevation Gain: 2,942 feet Route Type: Out & Back

fishing

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

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 hours ago

GTNP does an excellent job maintaining the full length of the trail. Several switchbacks on this are justified given the 3000 ft vertical gain over the 4.8 mile length. The views are spectacular all along the way. As mentioned, it is common to have wildlife sightings (grizzly, mule deer, marmot, etc). The lakes are pristine and there are several places to camp. I would totally come up here again.

Welcome to switchback central!! Challenging trail, very rocky. Great views of lakes at top. Was a little bit foggy when I arrived up top at 1 pm. There was a good amount of black bear activity, several encounters on trail and up at lakes.

Great hike with fantastic views of both lakes. If you can do a 10 mile moderate hike, then you can do this one.. it’s on the ‘easier’ side of a hard rating.

Awesome! Ended up being 12.4 miles but I walked along the lakes some. Took 5 hours 50 min with a lunch break and lots of photo breaks. Switchbacks aren’t too bad especially with good weather. Saw mama bear and cub within first 30 steps of the trail!

hiking
8 days ago

Beautiful views. Be warned this is a difficult steep trail. Try to get a start early in the day. Be prepared with plenty of water and snacks. We were luck enough to see a black bear cub. A mother and cub love close to specimen lake.

hiking
12 days ago

ended up being about 19km in total. great hiking with amazing views. take a dip in the freezing cold mountain lakes! also at amphitheatre lake follow the path a little farther for a great view of the Grand and the Canyon Valley

hiking
17 days ago

amazing vertical hike and views

hiking
19 days ago

I recorded the mileage: it’s in fact 13 miles. Saw 3 bears and a large elk. Be careful. Beautiful views!!

Great hike for our family of 3. Switchbacks were fine at a slow pace. Gorgeous views. Leave early to avoid heat. We saw elk and 2 juvenile bears who were to busy eating fruit to notice the hikers.

hiking
23 days ago

Lost diamond wedding ring at trail head on Aug 22. I hope it finds it way home. Spent Aug 23 searching for my wife’s ring. It was truly unbelievable how many people helped search. After spend a good part of the day searching for the impossible, I gave up. To make a long story short one of the many people that helped, found the ring close to the top of the hike. This is truly amazing, it’s almost 5 miles up and almost 3000 feet of gain on a rugged trail and some how the ring found its way home. Thank you to everyone who helped search and helped create a happy ending.

hiking
27 days ago

If I hadn’t done delta right after this I would give this hike 5 stars, but delta is so much more fun of a hike and beautiful. Still this hike was good and the lakes are wonderful. The switchbacks get boring towards the end, but I was hiking solo. It is a tiring hike, more so because of the elevation not necessarily the steepness.

hiking
27 days ago

Great hike, totally worth the views! Even though it’s a 3000ft of elevation gain; the switchbacks are gentle and not hard on your knees on the way back. If you take it slow; you can do it even if you’re not very fit. Start early! Saw a baby grizzly, elk and pronghorn deer on the trail. Views of Bradley, Taggart, Jenny and Jackson lakes from the trail and great. Lots of wildflowers and huckleberry shrubs everywhere!

hiking
28 days ago

Wonderful hike for those looking for a bit of a challenge (nothing technical as some previous reviewers have indicated), with a clearly marked trail that is easily passable. The 2800 ft climb can be tiring, but the views down to Taggart, Bradley, and eventually Jenny Lake are AMAZING. Of course the scenery at Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes are the true reward. We did encounter a brown bear heading up the mountain, which crossed the trail 20 yards in front of us, and just kept going up (we also saw several elk right off the trail). One note, we used two different tracking applications, and each indicated the hike from the parking area in Lupine Meadows to Amphitheater Lake was closer to 11 miles round trip (rather than 10). We went early (arriving around 0730 on 8/11), took our time, had a leisurely lunch at Amphitheater Lake, and the hike took us 5.5 hours round trip.

hiking
1 month ago

my wife and I so enjoy this hike. the hike was 5.2 miles to the top 2,800 feet of vertical climbing it's such a great workout. The views are spectacular all the way up to Surprise lake and then just a quarter mile past that to amphitheatre lake! I highly recommend anybody that's in pretty good condition to do this hike.

This was a challenging, rewarding hike. We started out early, getting to trailhead by 6:45. There were still about 1/3 of the spots taken. As we hiked through the early morning fog, many views were shrouded by the conditions. Through the many switchbacks and elevation gain, the trail was challenging but we were prepared. Bring LOTS of water. Upon arriving at Amphitheater Lake, the fog was still thick, obscuring much of the view. As we rested and had a snack, the fog receded, revealing stunning views of the mountain peaks framing the beautiful lake. A beautiful waterfall feeds Surprise Lake which was also beautiful. The return hike was much easier. When we returned to the trailhead, the lot was predictably busy, but there were a few open spots.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Extremely hard! I read all the reviews and thought it wouldn’t be that bad since my husband are pretty experienced hikers but it was rough. I will say it was worth it though. The views at the top are amazing. Make sure you have enough water and food. A lot of areas with no shade

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Great payoff. We did this hike on August 8th, 2019. No snow on the trail, barely a few streams trickling across. Gets rockier as you go up. Nothing technical at all though, perfectly kept trail the whole way. As far as difficulty, I found a lot of the reviews ambiguous. Some people said it's extremely hard, others acted like it's no big deal. I thought I'd provide a calibration for some of these reviews. I'm in decent shape, can run a 10k between 50-54min. I found this trail to be tiring but not exhausting. By the end of the trip upon my return to the trailhead, sitting down was satisfying but I was by no means ready to collapse.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing hike. Go early to avoid crowds and rising temps in summer.

Very nice hike. Nice elevation change. Hot!

hiking
1 month ago

Ran/Hiked on 8/3. Beautiful conditions. One small tree down but nothing insurmountable. Conditions were great. Plan for more water than you think you need or bring a filter to get water out of the lakes. Go early to the trail head.

Awesome hike. The 2 bear cubs were on the trail about a mile in. They didn’t look at us but we walked with bear spray for a little bit. Amphitheatre is a must.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked on 8/4. Beautiful conditions. Trail is in great shape. No snow. Hike up is going to take you at least 3 hours unless you run it. Keep that in mind for your start time. Bring water! Filtered lake water also option.

hiking
1 month ago

My husband and I hiked this trail July 25, 2109. The switchbacks are pretty much unshaded so bring sunscreen/coverage. It’s a beautiful hike though with views of Bradley and Taggart Lakes below. We stopped at Surprise Lake for lunch and then finished hiking up to Amphitheater Lake. The water is frigid, but definitely out your feet in!!! We continued up the boulder field near Amphitheater to get some better views.

hiking
blowdown
1 month ago

What an amazing hike. The elevation gain was definitely a challenge - especially for our younger two children (11 and 7), but so very worth it. there was a mama bear and her two Cubs near the start of the trail, maybe 5 yards off. But they didnt even look our way.

hiking
1 month ago

Surprise and Amphitheatre Lake

hiking
1 month ago

Great views of the lakes and valleys below. Surprise and Ampitheatre are small and beautiful. Follow the trail towards the North after Surprise to stumble upon an amazing view of the valley. A bit of a difficult climb if you plan to bring camping gear, but doable.

Nice and laborious. Lots of switchbacks on the way up. Saw some small wildlife. I hopped on the trail at 730, getting to these hikes early is a must to beat the crowds. It’s always amazing how many people you will pass on the way down. Lakes were beautiful. Baby black bears at the start of the trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked this trail about a week ago. 18 switchbacks but so well graded that the 3000’ of elevation gain was pretty painless. Beautiful lakes. Get there early to avoid crowds at the lake.

1 month ago

the lakes at the top were absolutely gorgeous and stunning. The hike was hard but duable its actually a 10 mile hike with a 3,500 gain in elevation it says that at the trail head. I would absolutely recommend this trail.

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