Thunder Mountain Trail is west of Bryce Canyon National Park in Red Canyon of Dixie National Forest. The amazing views of Thunder Mountain will blow you away. Trail quality is mostly smooth hard pack but has short serious sections of loose, steep, switchbackery madness. There aren't much in the way of steps or drops, the technical sections are short and walk-able with the climbing mostly moderate, making this trail a manageable ride for most riders.
The trail is mapped here as a mostly downhill (although you'll question that at times) but can be done a number of ways. We parked at the lower trailhead and shuttled to the top at Coyote Hollow and rode the dirt road to the Thunder trailhead (you can drive the dirt road to Coyote Hollow parking as well). Some ride the Red Canyon Trail (paved) to the top then down adding an extended warm-up climb of nearly 5.0 miles. Others may choose to ride the trail in reverse then back down to their cars on the paved trail that parallels the road (the "crazy" option).
The dirt road climbs gradually from 7,800' to the trailhead at a bit over 8,000' with a peak elevation of 8,200'. After this the trail is downhill with a few short exceptions.
You'll enjoy the many swooping hills and valleys along the way with many memorable photo opportunities to store away.
The last mile to parking is a blast! Let the brakes free and fly through the smooth flowing singletrack at blistering speeds....if you dare!
Red Canyon Campground is an excellent Federal campground that sits just east from the Red Canyon Visitor Center. Open seasonally usually from May-September. Flush toilets, pay hot showers, grilled fire rings and barbecue grills are amenities for these cozy campsites nestled between the shady trees. There was even free wifi during our visit! National Forest campgrounds in the Powell Ranger District are first-come-first-served except the group site at Kings Creek campground near Tropic Reservoir (camping reservations for all of Dixie NF can be found here: recreation.gov/camping/gate…
) Private campgrounds are nearby and may have reserveable spots made online. We arrived before noon on Saturday and great spots were available. There are also a number of free BLM and USFS dispersed sites in the immediate area, check with Red Canyon Visitor Center or Powell District office (located in Panguitch) for current regulations and closures.
Red Canyon Visitor Center: 435-676-2676
Powell District Office: 435-676-9300