Amphitheater Lake Trail

 

Amphitheater Lake Grand Teton Park
Amphitheater Lake, Grand Teton Mountains

Amphitheater Lake Trail can get you in and out of the high mountains at timberline on a reasonably short but exhausting trail up a steep but well-switch backed climb up the eastern slope of Disappointment Peak to two beautiful alpine lakes, Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes, both are at altitudes of more than 9,000 feet. This hike has an elevation gain of 3,000-feet and is a 9 1/2 mile round trip.

The hike starts off easy enough through meadows quilted with flowers nestled between forests of douglas fir and pine. Summer provides prolific wild flower displays with the balsamroot in early June. As the season progresses fireweed, Indian paintbrush, and lupine proliferate.

Hiker Amphitheater Lake Grand Teton Park
Hiker, Amphitheater Lake, Grand Teton Mountains

Along the way you will cross glacial moraines and as you climb you enter whitebark pine territory, a favorite food for bears. Black bears are a common site on this hike but it is grizzly country also so be alert! Moose and mule deer are often seen also.

After countless switchbacks an overlook, offers a sweeping panorama of the Snake River winding through Jackson Hole, the Absaroka mountains to the north east, the Gros Ventre Mountains to the South east and a view extending eastward 80 miles to the Wind River Mountains due east. As you gain elevation the forest is replaced by a world of monstrous rock walls topped by Disappointment Peak, Teton Glacier and Mount Teewinot and crowned by the Grand Teton. Amphitheater Lake occupies a protected glacial cirque (steep hollow) Surprise Lake and Amphitheater Lake sit in this dramatic setting, with a few gnarled trees struggling to survive on the slopes.

Surprise Lake Gros Ventre View
Suprise Lake high in the Grand Teton Mountains overlooking Jackson Hole, WY

I have seen people fishing the lakes but I have no idea if they catch anything. Horses are not allowed on Amphitheater Lake Trail as much as I would have loved to have shared the experience with mine but I had to leave him home much to his disappointment and mine.

This is a high elevation hike and you can expect to encounter snow well into June, my first two hikes to the area I found myself post holing through thigh deep snow near the top so inquire before you go on trail conditions if you arent up to this. Expect summer time temperatures to range from highs in the 70s-80s during the day to lows of around 30 at night. Afternoon thunderstorms with lightning and rain showers are common in the summer. It can snow any day of the year and has, so visitors should come prepared for a wide variety of weather and temperature conditions. Remember Murphys Law and pack accordingly.

To access Amphitheater Lake Trail use the Lupine Meadows Trailhead. From the Moose entrance station on Teton Park Rd., drive 6 1/2 miles to the Lupine Meadows Junction and follow signs to the trail head; if you're coming from Jenny Lake, the trail head is at the end of a road less than 1 mile south of South Jenny Lake.

Amphitheater LakeHiker Surprise Lake

Amphitheater Lake Trailalpine meadow Grand Teton Park

Amphitheater Lake Trail Map

 

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