Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes

Distance: 9.8 - 10.5 miles (round trip)

Grand Teton National Park, near Grand Teton NP in The Tetons

Amphitheater Lake

Amphitheater Lake


A scenic hike to two lovely lakes tucked in a rugged cirque beneath Disappointment Peak. Views from the lakes extend to high summits of the Teton Range; Middle Teton, Grand Teton, Mount Owen and Teewinot Mountain.
See Trail Detail/Full Description

  • Distance: 10.5 miles (round trip) to Amphitheater Lake
  • Elevation: 6,720-ft. at Trailhead
    9,870-ft. at Amphitheater Lake
  • Elevation Gain: 3,050-ft. to Amphitheater Lake
  • Difficulty: moderate-strenuous
  • More Hikes in:
    Grand Teton NP / Jackson / The Tetons

Why Hike Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes

The trail to Surprise and Amphitheater lakes ascends into the heart of the Tetons to a high glacial basin nestled in a scenic cirque. The journey requires a sustained climbs up a broad ridge between Glacier Gorge and Garnet Canyon with fine views of Jackson Hole and intermittent views of the summits of the Teton Range.

The ascent leads to two small alpine lakes tucked in a rugged basin beneath Disappointment Peak. Middle Teton and Grand Teton tower above Disappointment while Mount Owen rises to the northwest.

Beyond the lakes the trail climbs to a saddle along a ridge overlooking Glacier Basin where Mount Owen, Third Prong and Teewinot Peak form the backdrop for the terminal moraine of the receding Teton Glacier.

The Amphitheater Lake trail is very busy with day hikers visiting the lakes and climbers seeking to summit the high peaks. During the height of the summer the trail switchbacking up open, south facing ridge bakes in the afternoon sun. I strongly advise getting an early start to climb the ridge in the cool of the morning and also get a parking spot in the very busy Lupine Meadows trailhead.

It is not unusual to see bears grazing amid the high brushy meadows along the trail. Plan accordingly – make noise and travel in a group.

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile for the Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes hike

Trail Resources

Trail Detail/Full Description / Trail Photo Gallery / Trail Map

Basecamp(s) Information:
Grand Teton NP / Jackson

Region Information:
The Tetons

Other Hiking Regions in: