Distance: 13 mi.
Elevation Gain: 4500 ft.
After a lazy morning we got started hiking from the Surprise Lake Trailhead by Stevens Pass around 12 PM. We headed mostly south along Surprise Creek, then curved around the left (east) side of Surprise Lake.
From here we met up with the Pacific Crest Trail, which we followed briefly past Glacier Lake, before turning off to the left to follow the old abandoned Cascade Crest Trail up to Surprise Gap. From the gap there is an old trail that heads northwest toward the summit of Surprise Mountain, where there used to be an old fire lookout. We reached the summit at 4 PM and we made good time on the way out, making it back to the car by 7 PM.
On the way out, Craig collected some water samples in Surprise Creek for a microplastics study. Yea citizen science! (By the way, that lead photo was taken by me, not by the article author’s probably brother Michael Hanson. Journalistic integrity, people!)
If you value your sanity, try to avoid hiking this trail with someone who will yell “Surprise!” at Surprise Lake Trailhead, Surprise Creek, Surprise Lake, Surprise Gap, Surprise Mountain, Surprise Gap, Surprise Lake, and Surprise Creek. Not naming names.
(Download the free Gaia GPS app on your phone to view tracks and then get a Gaia GPS membership if you want offline access. Discount below!)
Recommended brew: Twin Rivers Brewing Nut Brown Ale
- Trail runners
- Trekking poles