Surprise Lake & Glacier Lake (Alpine Lakes Wilderness)
Glacier Lake (and Surprise Lake) are two beautiful alpine lakes located along the PCT on the south side of Stevens Pass on Washington Hwy 2. Located between Thunder and Spark Plug mountains, these two lakes and surrounding ecosystem provide a desirable and popular hiking and camping area.
The trailhead is accessible off Hwy 2 shortly before the ascent to Steven's Pass. The "trail" begins up a powerline service road for 1/4 mile then turns left onto the actual trail. The trail is characterized by good tread, with planking through lower wet lands. The trail follows (and crosses on a log) Surprise Creek and meanders through old-growth cedar and hemlock. Awesome trees that cause us to frequently pause and admire their majesty. After about 4.5 miles and just prior to arriving at Surprise Lake, we enter the designated Alpine Lake Wilderness area. Glacier Lake is a further 1/2 mile beyond Surprise Lake.
Glacier Lake has numerous flat granite slabs from which to dive into the water. Yes, in the summer the water is shallow enough that it warms for swimming, at least we think so. Undoubtedly our favorite summer swimming "hole".
Surprise Creek Trail
The two photos below taken along the Surprise Creek trail prior to entering the Alpine Lake Wilderness.
The photo below is of Surprise Lake, 1/2 mile short of of Glacier Lake.
Surprise Mountain overlooking Glacier Lake
PCT - trail from Glacier Lake up and over Surprise Mountain.
On the flanks of Surprise Mtn. Glacier Lake and Glacier Peak in background.
On the trail from Glacier Lake homeward. Surprise Mtn. in background.