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Amphitheater Lake

Intermediate/Difficult
  4.7 ( 46 ) Favorite

Trail

9.9 mile 16.0 kilometer out and back
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 2,949' 899 m
Descent: -2,949' -899 m
High: 9,690' 2,953 m
Low: 6,741' 2,055 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 11% (6°)
Max Grade: 22% (12°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Map Key

Trail shared by Tom Robson

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

Tom Robson

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').

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We need help with the following missing trail information:

Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Need to Know, Flora & Fauna

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Check-Ins

Sep 26, 2019
Alexander Huber
Starting in 5 Minutes
Sep 21, 2019
Cam H
Sep 7, 2019
Thomas Bogle
Aug 31, 2019
Clark Sperry
9.9mi
Aug 31, 2019
Pia Alcanites
With the Webb's- four black bear sightings. 9.9mi — 6h 30m
Aug 28, 2019
Cheryl S.
9.9mi
Aug 23, 2019
Lucy Blackbourn
Amazing hike and stunning views across both lakes. We were lucky enough to see a baby bear (minus the mum) and a bull elk on the way down — 5h 01m
Aug 17, 2019
Amy Rogers
8:30 to 4:30. Hour at Amphitheater Lake. 12mi

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 46 votes

#3

in West

#123

Overall
  4.7 from 46 votes
5 Star
74%
4 Star
24%
3 Star
2%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Featured Hike Rankings

#3

in West

#3

in Wyoming

#123

Overall
138 Views Last Month
6,829 Since Jan 29, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Amphitheater Lake in late September
Jan 21, 2016 near Moose W…, WY
Surprise Lake plunge - Grand Teton rising above. Brrrrr!
Jan 15, 2016 near Moose W…, WY
July lunch at Amphitheater.
Jan 15, 2016 near Moose W…, WY
Trail loop around Amphitheater Lake.
Aug 28, 2017 near Alta, WY

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