• Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    11 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    3000 Feet

Easy Parking

Beautiful vistas of glaciers, mountain lakes and the Teton Peaks, as well as the Snake River Valley.

The trail starts at Lupine Meadows Trailhead. You will see signs as you drive down the Teton Park Road. If heading north and you go past the Jenny Lake Visitor Center you have gone too far.

This is a popular day hike for many, so do not be surprised to see a lot of hikers. However, an early start will get you up to the lakes before many of the hikers even begin. The trail winds through the trees and stays somewhat flat for a mile or so. Then you begin to ascend gradually at first until you hit a junction that leads to the lakes or to Bradley and Taggart Lakes. Upon turning into the mountain side you begin the first of many switchbacks that seem to never end. However, the higher you ascend the more vast the valley below becomes!!

Eventually you make your way into a canyon between the peaks and meander your way up to the first of two mountain lakes. The first lake you see is Surprise Lake. This lake offers a beautiful view with the Teton peaks providing an amazing backdrop. The adventurer can hike to the opposite side of the lake and do some scrambling to gain a beautiful view of Garnet Canyon or the lake below.

About .3 miles further up the trail is Amphitheater Lake which is by no means just a clever name! The Teton Peaks create an amphitheater like wall around the lake. Again, the adventurer can scramble up the ridges and peaks around to gain a more secluded and scenic view. Garnet Canyon is to the south while the lake rests below if you decide to climb up a bit. There are many places to rest and take photos as well as have a lunch or relax and read a book. I took the time to do all of those during my time there.

This is a good hike for the dayhiker and/or a beginner. It is a full day hike but worth every ounce of effort. Be prepared with bear spray. However with the number of people who will likely be around, most bears will not be coming around but could be in the area.

Pack List

  • Bear Spray
  • Lunch for the day
  • Water and water purification or carry enough for the day
  • Hiking Boots
  • Camera
  • Sunscreen
  • Rain gear depending on weather
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Overall rating: 

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Amphitheater Lake is absolutely stunning! We could have spent the whole day here taking it all in. We have to strongly disagree with the recommendation that beginners do this hike - it is strenuous! You need to have some experience and a good level of fitness to hike with 3,000 ft of elevation gain in 5.5 miles. Hiking to the nearby Taggart and Bradley Lakes would be better suited for a beginner.

7 months ago
7 months ago

We did this as a day hike at the end of our trip. The switch backs can be exhausting if you're already pooped from a big week. It's not the most beautiful hike in the park but the views at the end are magnificent and completely worth the effort!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

This is a very popular trail but for good reason! You can visit 3 beautiful alpine lakes by taking this trail (Amphitheater, Surprise, and Delta). If you want more time to explore consider doing it as an overnight hike and staying at the Surprise Lake backcountry site. That will give you ample time to explore the area!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Jacques Lamoureux

I am a Contracting Officer in the USAF. I have always loved the outdoors but only until recently have been ventured out to truly explore any place I am able to get to. Nature brings a calming sense to our being and striving for synchronicity with it is my goal. Most times I travel alone and find ways to capture the beautiful places I am able to visit. The military has afforded me the opportunity to see many parts of the world and exploring these different places has become my passion!

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