Backpack to Surprise Lake

Rate this Adventure 10 miles 1200 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Katie Ryan

This is a great destination for a group with all different fitness levels seeking adventure! Start from a scenic meadow parking lot, hike through river beds, pass through open cattle pastures with a few snow capped mountain view-points, then finally kick back by the pristine lake, and call it home for a short while.

Take Road 1000 to start your hike at Conrad Meadows, which is also where you will park your car, be sure to leave your Northwest Forest Pass properly displayed on the dash of your car before you leave.

Surprise Lake trailhead is one of the very few trailheads that starts out on the east side of Goat Rocks Wilderness, making for a gentle hike with scenic views along the way. (Side note: You don't need to register at Bear Creek Mountain - the actual register for Surprise Lake is a couple miles up the trail.)

Begin your journey on what could be the location for a western movie, through Conrad Meadows. In late summer the trail becomes more dry, it can be helpful to bring a bandana to help breathing with all the dust. For about 3 more miles with little elevation gain you will make your way through valleys and forest meadows, pass creeks and rivers, through spruce forest and ponderosa pines. There are plenty of places to stop along the way to hydrate, take in the scenery or stop for a snack. Also along the meadows, don’t be alarmed if you run into elk, deer and cattle.

Some hikers find the vast amount of meadows and forest great for an off-trail traverse up to the lake. This can be a great opportunity to practice your off-trail skills, but it would be wise to make sure you bring a map and compass with you and the skill to use them effectively.

The last portion of this route will take you on gradual switchbacks through a dense forest. You will know you are getting close to the lake when the forest breaks open into pristine alpine clearings. Once you see the gem colored lake, it will draw you in. You can’t miss it!

There is a campsite right when you hike up to the lake but if you can keep pushing farther on there are also plenty of camping spots around the lake. (Note: Always remember to camp 200 ft from lakes and streams.) My advice is to bring your fishing pole (and valid license) and try to catch some dinner, and finish the day relaxing in a hammock at sunset. Ahhh, home sweet home!

Read More

Tags

Chillin
Camping
Fishing
Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Lake
River
Wildlife

Reviews

Have you done this adventure? Be the first to leave a review!

Stay Nearby

Randle, Washington

Walupt Lake Campground

Overview Walupt Lake Campground offers scenic views of Mt. Adams and the surrounding forest on the west end of Walupt Lake. The sites here provide plenty of privacy and ample shade form the surroun...

Naches, Washington

Clear Lake Group Site

Overview Clear Lake Group Campground is along the North Fork of the Tieton River in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.The campground sits between popular Rimrock Lake and the quieter Clear Lak...

Naches, Washington

Indian Creek (Wa)

Overview Indian Creek Campground is located at the edge of Rimrock Lake in the Wenatchee National Forest in Washington's North Cascades Range. The campground's proximity to high alpine lakes, lush ...

Naches, Washington

South Fork Group Site

Overview South Fork Group Campground is located in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest along the South Fork of the Tieton River. Nestled in in the eastern Cascade Mountains, the campground of...

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike to Goat Lake, Goat Rocks Wilderness

    The trip to Goat Lake starts at the Walupt Lake campground parking lot. You will start on the Walupt Lake Trail (#101) and a short distance from the campground, take Trail #98 (Nannie Ridge) as it branches off and climbs steeply northeast onto an ...

    10.5 miles 1400 ft gain

  • Hike to Elk Pass via "the Knife"

    This is a rather long out and back, however, it can also be done as a backpack, which would give you more time to explore the Goat Rocks Wilderness, which is highlighted in other Adventures. For your trip to Elk Pass, begin your trek in the Snowgr...

    18.2 miles 4000 ft gain

  • Backpack the Goat Lake-Jordan Basin Loop

    This is one of my favorite hikes for Washington State. Aside from the massive volcanoes hanging out down here, the southern region of the cascades is much more tame compared to areas further north. As I mentioned in my Old Snowy report, a jaw drop...

    13 miles 2400 ft gain

  • Summit Old Snowy Mountain

    The hike begins just outside of Packwood, Wa at the Berry Patch Trailhead Trail #96, sitting pretty at about 4200ft. The Goat Lake/Jordan Basin loop trail starts here, leading to Old Snowy. The magical Goat Rocks Wilderness area is just southeast ...

    17 miles 3800 ft gain