Surprise Lake

Hike to a lake in the southeast corner the Goat Rocks Wilderness from the South Fork Tieton Trailhead in Conrad Meadows. Surprise Lake is located 6.5 miles into a 15 mile lollipop loop below Gilbert Peak, the highest peak in the Goat Rocks. Extend the trip and see Conrad Basin's waterfalls and Conrad Creek. The area is popular for horses.

Getting There

Drive US-12 to Forest Road 1200, signed Tieton Road, just past Rimrock Lake east of White Pass. There is also be a sign for Rimrock Recreation Area. Tieton Road is paved and winds around Rimrock Lake before heading up the valley. Turn right onto Forest Road 1000. Follow it to its end and the South Fork Tieton (No. 1120) Trailhead (4,100 ft).

On the Trail

From the parking lot follow the road  southwest 0.25 mile to a gate and a sign for the South Fork Tieton Trail. Cross the river and wander through some private property meadows.  Follow the trail 6.5 miles, bearing left at the junction at 4,300 ft,  as it rises 1,800 feet to Surprise Lake (5,255 ft). The best water is at the outlet stream near camps at the east end of the lake. Find more camps above the shore and at the west end of the lake. Past the lake, continue ~5 miles clockwise  to complete the loop,  keeping right to stay on the main trail.  Then  hike 4 miles back along the "lollipop stick" to the trailhead.

Day trips can be made to Warm Lake from Surprise Lake, adding another 6 miles and 1,100 feet of gain round trip. Alternately, consider backpacking to Warm Lake and exploring further up the basin.

  • 13 miles round trip and 1,500 ft gain to Surprise Lake
  • 19 miles round trip and 2,600 ft gain to Warm Lake

For more adventure, you can extend your trip to Conrad Basin. Bear left at the cairn ~1.2 miles northwest of Surprise lake and follow the boot path that ascends steeply into the basin. It's ~2 miles to Conrad Creek with waterfalls along the way.  In the basin, those with off-trail navigation skills can travel cross-country to Warm Lake or Cold Lake at the toe of Conrad Glacier. Climbers and scramblers may consider ascending Gilbert Peak, Gilbert Peak/Klickton Divide or Gilbert Peak/Conrad Glacier.

  • Suitable Activities: Backpacking
  • Seasons: July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 13.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,500 ft
  • 5,260 ft
  • Green Trails Goat Rocks William O Douglas Wilderness No. 303S
  • Green Trails Walupt Lake No. 335
  • Green Trails White Pass No. 303
Trip Reports

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Surprise Lake & Warm Lake
  • Warm Lake

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