I’m a bit behind on trip reports – I actually did this trail on Tuesday, Sept 29. It was a perfect fall day: warm but not hot, clear blue skies, and bright fall foliage. I’d been up to Surprise Lake before, but that was in spring when the lake was still snow-covered. Not this time.
Some logistical details: I parked on the north side of the railroad tracks, because I’ve heard about people getting stranded at that trailhead when a train parked on the tracks and effectively blocked them in. There was no train when I got there or when I left, but I guess you never know…?
The trail itself is in great condition. No blowdowns, minimal brush, easy to follow.
I was looking for 14 miles, so I went to Surprise Lake, did a bit of exploring, and then headed for Glacier Lake. I accidentally zipped right past Glacier Lake and found myself in a basin looking up at Surprise and Thunder Mountains. The air was completely still, the sun was warm on my arms, and I kind of wanted to stay there forever. But I still needed to log at least another mile or two… So I decided to head up to Surprise Gap to check out the views.
I had a really really hard time turning around at Surprise Gap. There was an established trail leading to Surprise Mountain, and I could also see Mount Daniel peeking through the trees if I went just a little bit more south… But it’s not quite time for the big miles again, so I called it a day and headed back.