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Alpinejo.tripod.com: Backcountry Trails Guide
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Washington Backcountry Trails

The weary hikers


Surprise Lake

Surprise Lake

Definition of terms below
Location: Near Mt Rainier 
Directions: Head out Hwy 410, left on Hwy 165, just before entering the Carbon Glacier entrance to the park turn left and cross the Carbon River, head up the gravel road for a couple miles and take the spur road to the left
Difficulty: Moderate, harder now since the bridge on the Carbon river has washed out--word is the new bridge will be ready in late 2001.
Elevation +/- 3585 ft elevation gain, 911 ft elevation loss
Distance: 11.6 miles round trip
Rating: 8 out of 10
Fishing: Did not try
Scenery: Awesome
Map: Printable Topo Map


Surprise Lake is a beautiful place, we went before the bridge washed out. Even then I don't think anybody ever goes up here.

Early 1990's: we drove most of the way up on the 4x4 road, then it got to a place were it got a little "hairy" so we parked and mountain biked the rest of the way to the lake.

2001: you park near the Carbon Glacier Entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park, put on your sandles and wade the river. The hike consists of most hiking up an old logging road for a few miles. Then before you get to Coplay Lake there is a road off to the left. Take this road, it is a overgrown 4x4 trail up until you hit the creek. Then the trail is 4 feet wide or so. Continue on up to nearly the roads end and you will see the lake shore.

Accessibility is good at the lake, there is one small island.

It is really nice up there, the views of Mt Rainier and the peace and quiet.

Do it again? Yes


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