A spatial k-NN query returns k nearest points in a point dataset to a given query point. To measure the distance between two points, most of the literature focuses on the Euclidean distance or the network distance. For many applications, such as wildlife movement, it is necessary to consider the surface distance, which is computed from the shortest path along a terrain surface. In this paper, we investigate the problem of efficient surface k-NN (sk-NN) query processing. This is an important yet highly challenging problem because the underlying environment data can be very large and the computational cost of finding the shortest path on a surface can be very high. To minimize the amount of surface data to be used and the cost of surface distance computation, a multi-resolution surface distance model is proposed in this paper to take advantage of monotonic distance changes when the distances are computed at different resolution levels. Based on this innovative model, sk-NN queries can be processed efficiently by accessing and processing surface data at a just-enough resolution level within a just-enough search region. Our extensive performance evaluations using real world datasets confirm the efficiency of our proposed model.