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Amphitheater Lake



9.9 mile 16.0 kilometer out and back
71% Runnable


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


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


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Tom Robson

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

Tom Robson

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


Not overly technical, this run 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').

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Aug 7, 2018
ryan c
only ran to granet canyon

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 47 votes


in West


  4.7 from 47 votes
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66 Views Last Month
7,120 Since Jan 29, 2016



Amphitheater Lake in late September
Jan 21, 2016 near Moose W…, WY
Trail loop around Amphitheater Lake.
Aug 28, 2017 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
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


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