“Trail quality reminiscent of Sedona and majestic views reflective of Bryce Canyon. WOW!
— Markk Knowles
Thunder Mountain Trail is just outside Bryce Canyon National Park. 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!
An excellent Federal campground sits just east from the Red Canyon Visitor Center. 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! Reservations can be made online but we arrived before noon on Saturday and great spots were available. There are also a number of free BLM campsites in the immediate area.