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Amphitheater Lake

Difficult
 4.7 (73) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Hike to meadow-ensconced glacial lakes as Disappointment Peak towers above.


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Map Key

9.9

Miles

16.0

KM

Out and Back

9,690' 2,953 m

High

6,741' 2,055 m

Low

2,949' 899 m

Up

2,949' 899 m

Down

11%

Avg Grade (6°)

22%

Max Grade (12°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

Not overly technical, this hike offers stunning views from Amphitheater Lake and Surprise Lake, a must-see side trip.

Description

Starting from the Lupine Meadows trailhead/parking area, Garnet Canyon Trail contours southward, across Glacier Gulch Creek, and then turns west ascending a semi-steep fall line. Shortly after heading west, the trail is intersected by the Bradley Lake Trail, stay straight (right) here to continue on Garnet Canyon Trail.

From this intersection, the trail switchbacks five times, popping in and out of the trees multiple times. Be sure to take a quick look back at Bradley and Taggart Lake below, as well as Sheep Mountain (11,239') and its "Sleeping Indian" formation across the Jackson Hole Valley. Just after the fifth switchback you'll reach an intersection with Amphitheater Lake Trail - turn right.

Once on the Amphitheater Lake Trail, you'll switchback lazily four more times until the trail hits a steep segment, switchbacking ten more times very sharply. The top of these switchbacks brings you to a nice, gently sloping area that plays host to both Surprise Lake and Amphitheater Lake. These two glacial lakes sit just below Disappointment Peak (11,618') and Surprise Lake features a backcountry campsite (permit required).

History & Background

Early mountaineers thought the slopes leading to Amphitheater Lake would continue to the summit of Grand Teton (13,775'). When they reached the top of the ridge they were disappointed to find it actually ended at the summit of now named Disappointment Peak (11,618').

Contacts

Shared By:

Tom Robson

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 73 votes

#3

in West

#73

Overall
  4.7 from 73 votes
5 Star
75%
4 Star
23%
3 Star
1%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#3

in West

#3

in Wyoming

#73

Overall
132 Views Last Month
10,958 Since Jan 29, 2016
Difficult

0%
0%
12%
18%
68%
2%

Photos

Surprise Lake plunge - Grand Teton rising above. Brrrrr!
Jan 15, 2016 near Moose W…, WY
Amphitheater Lake in late September
Jan 21, 2016 near Moose W…, WY
July lunch at Amphitheater.
Jan 15, 2016 near Moose W…, WY
Awesome view of the local fauna and valley around the Tetons. Taken on the switchback op to amphitheater lake.
Mar 8, 2020 near Alta, WY
Standing on the outlet of Amphitheater Lake with Surprise Lake below
Sep 27, 2020 near Alta, WY
Bradley Lake
Oct 28, 2020 near Alta, WY

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Check-Ins

Jun 23, 2022
Jack D
Great trail. Nice views and saw 4 bears and a moose. 10mi — 4h 15m
Jun 19, 2022
Paul Robinson
We were not the fastest on the trail. Some snow in the 8,500 8,800 ranges more snow above 9,000 to all snow. 9.9mi
Jun 17, 2022
Korbin Terberg
Jun 12, 2022
Brody Armstrong
Great weather and trail. Last mile was pretty snow covered. Used other people's tracks and the trail to guide to the lake. Worth the work. 9.9mi — 4h 50m
May 23, 2022
Mike Patel
Sep 13, 2021
Zac Johnson
Zac and mel
Aug 22, 2021
Adam Socha
10.8mi — 5h 21m
Aug 20, 2021
Connecticut Hiker
9.9mi — 5h 05m