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Trip Report    

Backpack - Surprise & Glacier Lakes

Quick jaunt to a scenic lake. Highlights: peace and views. Note: the mosquitoes are hungry!

  • Road rough but passable
  • I'm happy to report that we had a fun trip to Surprise Lake. It's very pretty. As we headed out on Saturday morning: the first 2 miles of the trail was well-shaded; the 3rd mile to 3.5miles was open and sunny, and then we were back under trees and in the shade to the lake itself. On our return trip this morning, that middle stretch of trail was not quite as sunny since the sun was lower but the rest of the trail remained shady.
    Roots are slippery!
    The log crossings are on well-established groomed logs - nothing sketchy or difficult.
    I mention this because the's trail description makes the log crossings sound way worse than they are.
    Trail is in good condition, pretty dry, but with some patches of snow near the lake but nothing you couldn't just walk over or around. To get to Glacier Lake though microspikes would be advisable - that's still snow-covered as of early July.



Surprise Lake was peaceful, serene, with lovely views. A large pile of boulders at the south end of lake afforded some easy scrambling for a couple of participants.
Several good established campsites were melted out and snow-free. However, between blow-downs and patches of snow there are not a lot of campsites - good thing we arrived early and staked our claim as several other groups came through later on Saturday seeking a campsite off of the snow.
The mosquitoes are definitely out in force and hungry up there so you may find yourself swatting a lot!
Other notes: to reach the parking area from Hwy 2 there's quite a bumpy little dirt road. You can avoid the worst of that .3 mi of road though by either parking just after you cross the railroad tracks or at the first pullout on your right.
Warning: the railroad tracks are definitely in frequent use! We had to stop and wait for a freight train to pass this morning in order to reach Hwy 2 again and drive home. The train stayed parked on the tracks for a while.  When we arrived on Saturday 2 trains zipped by fast on those tracks. Keep a lookout!