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Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes Trail

HARD 443 reviews
#6 of 103 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
muddy
snow
7 days ago

(10/12/19) Amazing hike with beautiful views at the top. Total mileage was just under 11 miles, took about 5 hours. Not technical at all. Some snow and mud on the trails and we were happy we brought our yaktracks for the descent but not a must. Very worth it but would recommend starting early to avoid crowds.

hiking
muddy
snow
7 days ago

hiking
17 days ago

I did this trail yesterday (Oct 1). The weather was high 49F/low 26F with sun and partly cloudy skies. The hike is amazing!! However, the switchbacks are relentless. I counted 18 starting at the junction. It is worth doing them for the sunning views at the top! We encounter a foot of snow at the lakes. During the ascent, I wore a wool long sleeve shirt plus a spandex long sleeve running top. I also wore leggings under my hiking pants as well as winter hat, thick wool socks, and thin gloves. This was enough to get me to the top. However, once at the lakes, I put on my winter coat and winter mittens. Initially, I thought they were overkill when I was packing for the hike, but I was grateful I had them at the top. In my opinion, the snow makes for beautiful and unique views of the lakes. I absolutely recommend this hike- just make sure you dress appropriately if snow is expected!

hiking
snow
18 days ago

Already getting some good snow up there. really beautiful hike but bring layers, you'll need to shed repeatedly. I waited out the cloud layer and got a good pic of the peak!

hiking
icy
muddy
19 days ago

Did this hike today, was pretty epic. 5 hours round trip with a pit stop for snacks, and pics at the Amphitheater and Surprise. Do yourself a favor go to Amphitheater don't stop at Surprise until the way back. The climb is worth the payoff, it snowed on us, and there was 8" on the ground. Would do it again in a heartbeat! Not technical at all, it was hard due to the 3000' vertical climb. Saw Elk, Deer, and 2 groups of people said there was Bull Moose blocking the trail they did not want to go around were heading back. Was gone by the time we got there. We had the lakes to ourselves, saw about 15 people total. EPIC!

Best views ever. 11 miles about.

hiking
22 days ago

This was a very rewarding hike. Very difficult, but the views are soooo worth it! I ♥️ WY!

hiking
snow
24 days ago

hiked this last weekend -- beautiful views, pretty wet with the snow.

hiking
snow
27 days ago

hiking
29 days ago

I thought this was a good challenge. The lake at the end is a great reward!

hiking
29 days ago

Did this hike last weekend and ended up continuing up form the last lake to disappointment peak. Weather was perfect. Trail was not nearly as crowded as I expected for a Sunday and was very well maintained. Form amphitheater lake the path to disappointment peak follows a very faint trail up the steep slopes to the left of the lake. Trail to the top is very faint and hard to follow at times and involves some pretty exposed scrambling and (3-4 class with a short section of easy fifth). It was a lot of fun but if you are not experienced and comfortable with that stuff I would recommend stoping at the lake. From the lake it was just 0.75 horizontal miles to the peak but the elevation went up around 2000. Views form the top get you right up close with Grand Teton and are incredible. Windy and cool on the top but as of 9-15-19 was snow free. If you look up at grand Teton from amphitheater lake you can see disappointment peak in front of it to give you an idea about what it takes to get there. If you decide to go for disappointment peak please do your best to stay on the established path as much as possible to protect the delicate alpine plants.

Tough hike, but the payoff is so worth it. Trail is well maintained, too.

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail, moderate difficulty switchbacks for 2/3 of the way up with great views of the valley. We had two close encounters with black bears, but they were very focused on finding berries. Do not do this trail without bear spray. Multiple people in our group had gps saying it was an 11 mile hike. We went slightly past the lake up on to the ridge, where the view is stunning.

hiking
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month ago

amazing vertical hike and views

hiking
1 month 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
1 month 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
2 months 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
2 months 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
2 months 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
2 months 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.

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