“Hike to meadow-ensconced glacial lakes as Disappointment Peak towers above.
— Tom Robson
Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Not overly technical, this hike offers stunning views from Amphitheater Lake
and Surprise Lake, a must-see side trip.
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').