Backpack to Through Surprise Valley to Lake 10148

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Trek through legendary Surprise Valley to a remote lake at the foot of Standhope Peak. The terrain varies from sagebrush desert to alpine meadow to craggy granite peaks.

I have a hard time getting the word "legendary" out of my mind when referencing this hike. I liked it that much.

The trailhead begins at 7200'; be prepared to drive 20 miles on a maintained gravel road to get there. The first 3 miles of this out-and-back hike are pretty flat, meandering through a sage, desert terrain. Once you arrive to the fork that splits off to Moose lake, the fun (ascent) begins.

Stay left at the fork 3 miles in, it is well marked and the sign indicates "Surprise Valley". Two miles of steep ascent to Surprise Valley will reward you with immersion in the alpine valley meadows and jagged peaks.

In the valley, you'll hike right by a stagnant lake. After this small lake, the trail fades but the destination is clear. You can see a few miles ahead exactly where Lake 10148 lies up on the ridge. Essentially take the most direct route you can, following the sparse cairns as guides. My only piece of advice would be that you stay to the left (east) side of the river for an easier traverse of the valley.

The valley ascends once more to the base of Standhope Peak and Lake 10148 (it's elevation). There aren't any fish in this lake, but you trade that for absolute solitude. You shouldn't encounter too many backpackers up at this lake since the trail fades and it is more of a difficult hike.

For detailed terrain and hike statistics, please see this Caltopo map.

Pack List

  • Tent 
  • Sleeping Bag/pad
  • High top hiking shoes
  • Layers
  • Water filtration
  • Backpacker's stove
  • Trekking poles for steep ascents/descents 
  • Book 
  • Snacks including fruit leather, clif bars, hot chocolate
  • Water
  • Bathing Suit 
  • Camera 
  • Dog (be sure to bring footies as trail is pretty rocky)
  • Hammock 
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Activities:

Backpacking, Hiking

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Summer

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

13 Miles

Elev. Gain:

2900 Feet

Features:

Forest
Lake
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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Added by Garren Moore

Programming by week, mountains by weekend.

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