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Surprise Mountain
Mountain/Rock

Surprise Mountain

 
Surprise Mountain

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Washington, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 47.64678°N / 121.14482°W

Object Title: Surprise Mountain

County: King

Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 6330 ft / 1929 m

 

Page By: Redwic

Created/Edited: Sep 8, 2008 / Mar 31, 2010

Object ID: 440667

Hits: 5503 

Page Score: 79.04%  - 10 Votes 

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Overview

Deception Lakes
Surprise Mountain (Left) Above Deception Lakes

Surprise Mountain is an alpine peak nestled in the middle of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness of Washington State. Perhaps appropriately, several alpine lakes are found near the mountain. The Deception Lakes are located at the south end of the mountain, and Glacier Lake and Surprise Lake are located northeast of the mountain. Views of surrounding peaks and valleys from the mountain are also far-reaching, including Mount Daniel and Glacier Peak. Surprise Mountain is located southeast of Spark Plug Mountain and southwest of Thunder Mountain.
View From Surprise Mountain Summit
Northern View From Summit

In 1932, the U.S. Forest Service built a L-4 cab fire lookout on the summit of Surprise Mountain, due to its wide views of the Central Cascade Mountains. The U.S. Forest Service then decommissioned and destroyed the fire lookout during the 1950s. The only remnant of the lookout that remains today is a tall metallic pole at the mountain summit.
Surprise Mountain Summit
Summit of Surprise Mountain

One of the most well-known and interesting features of Surprise Mountain is Surprise Gap, a small saddle connecting Surprise Mountain (on the west side of the saddle) to a taller, unnamed peak (on the east side of the saddle). From Surprise Gap, trails can lead north (to the gully located east of Surprise Mountain, leading towards Glacier Lake), south (to Deception Lakes), east (to unnamed peak), and west (to Surprise Mountain summit).
Surprise Gap
Surprise Gap

Getting There

Surprise Mountain has multiple routes leading to it:

Two major routes originate north of the mountain:
1) Surprise Creek Trail #1060, beginning at the community of Scenic, Washington south of Highway 2. Follow Surprise Creek Trail #1060 south for 4.7 miles, then follow the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) #2000 south to Surprise Gap or west to Pieper Pass.
From Surprise Gap, follow the side-trail heading west (and then north) to the summit.
From Pieper Pass, follow the side-trail heading south to the summit.

2) Pacific Crest Trail #2000, beginning at the PCT Trailhead located at Stevens Pass, Washington south of Highway 2. Follow the PCT south for 17.5 miles, then follow Surprise Mountain Trail #1063 east & north for 1.3 miles past Deception Lakes and up to the summit.
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Two major routes originate west of the mountain:
1) Fisher Creek Trail #1059.1, also known as the Deception Creek Cut-Off Trail, beginning near the end of Forest Road 6830 (south of Foss River Road, east of Skykomish, Washington). Follow Deception Creek Cut-Off Trail #1059.1 east for 0.7 miles, then follow Deception Creek Trail #1059 south for 2.5 miles, then follow Deception Lakes Trail #1059.2 east for 0.8 miles, then follow Deception Lakes Trail #1059.A (section of PCT) north for 0.4 miles, then follow Surprise Mountain Trail #1063 east & north for 1.3 miles past Deception Lakes and up to the summit.
***NOTE: This route has the least hiking distance (5.7 miles) to the summit of Surprise Mountain from a parking trailhead.***

2) Deception Creek Trail #1059, beginning at Forest Road 6088 (near Deception Falls) south of Highway 2. Follow Deception Creek Trail #1059 south for 7.3 miles, then follow Deception Lakes Trail #1059.2 east for 0.8 miles, then follow Deception Lakes Trail #1059.A (section of PCT) north for 0.4 miles, then follow Surprise Mountain Trail #1063 east & north for 1.3 miles past Deception Lakes and up to the summit.
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The only major route originating south of the mountain is the PCT, heading north from Deception Pass, which is not a parking trailhead. Follow PCT north from Deception Pass for 3.5 miles, then follow Deception Lakes Trail #1059.A (section of PCT) north for 0.4 miles, then follow Surprise Mountain Trail #1063 east & north for 1.3 miles past Deception Lakes and up to the summit. This route does not have a parking trailhead, and is only accessible via trails.

Red Tape

ALL visitors to the the Alpine Lakes Wilderness are required to have a Wilderness Permit from May 15 to October 31. Wilderness permits are free and can be obtained at trailheads and local ranger stations.*

If parking a vehicle in the region, the trailheads within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness require a Northwest Forest Pass. A single-day Northwest Forest Pass costs $5, while an annual Northwest Forest Pass costs $30. Northwest Forest Passes can be purchased from ranger stations or REI stores (if not also other outdoor recreation stores) within Washington State.

Camping

Although several rugged campsites are found at various locations around Surprise Mountain, such as at Deception Lakes, camping in these locations is NOT permitted.

The closest permitted (designated) campsite near Surprise Mountain is located several miles north of the peak, near Surprise Lake.

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