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Amphitheater Lake

Difficult
 4.7 (61) 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 61 votes

#3

in West

#96

Overall
  4.7 from 61 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#3

in West

#3

in Wyoming

#96

Overall
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9,283 Since Jan 29, 2016
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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
Standing on the outlet of Amphitheater Lake with Surprise Lake below
Sep 27, 2020 near Alta, 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
Trail loop around Amphitheater Lake.
Aug 28, 2017 near Alta, WY

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Check-Ins

Oct 6, 2020
Nathan Woollett
9.9mi — 6h 00m
Sep 18, 2020
Adam Wachs
Sep 16, 2020
Ava Larkins
I'm an average 53 yo female who is not an avid hiker. Hubby and I took 3 hours and 50 min up, 2 hours down. Lovely hike! 11mi — 7h 00m
Sep 6, 2020
Caroline Ulczycki
Aug 30, 2020
Chris Chu
Aug 28, 2020
Bee Bee
Next time do side trip to secret "delta lake"
Aug 23, 2020
Chase Godard
13mi
Aug 22, 2020
Tasya Robbins