Thunder Mountain Loop Trail

MODERATE 20 reviews
#17 of 70 trails in

Thunder Mountain Loop Trail is a 12.3 mile loop trail located near Pioneer, CA and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and trail running and is accessible from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

12.3 miles 2743 feet Loop

dog friendly

hiking

trail running

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike with fantastic views

2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome trail I've done many times slightly different than the route displayed . The hike we take gets us closer to the campgrounds at silver lake on the way back.

hiking
3 months ago

The hike to the summit is awesome, but the loop trail is not worth the extra miles. Once you're close to Horse Canyon trailhead and turn onto Castle Point trail, you parallel Hwy 88 for a short distance, then cross over the highway and walk on a forest service road. It's hot, you're tired, and all the while you hear nothing but cars going by.

hiking
4 months ago

This review is for the portion from the Trailhead to the summit and back. Great place to hike with awesome views of the surrounding areas. Went in mid July and most of the snow was gone. Just a few patches remained.

I'd rate this as a moderate hill as the incline really works the legs and the decline can be tough on the knees and feet. The overall climb from the trailhead to the summit is about 1800 ft and about 7 miles round trip.

Make sure to have plenty of sunscreen as once you clear the tree line you are at the mercy of the sun. Also it can be very windy up there. When my group was there winds were around 30-40mph. There were a couple of times it blew us a step over.

Recommend looking at the weather as temperatures can be in the 60's the higher you go. Make sure to pack the right clothes.

Overall a great hike though and I recommend it for nearly everyone except the really young or those who have a tough on inclines/declines.

hiking
5 months ago

It had some awesome views of the surrounding mountains and Silver Lake

hiking
6 months ago

Due to the amount of snow still at the top and on the back side of Thunder Mtn this trail is much more than a Medium level trail and in some spots very very very dangerous!

I did this trail clock wise, with shoe chains on and a day pack. What I needed was an ice pick, helmet and a 2nd day do finish the trail. The trail was ice covered making it much slower than a normal hike or snow shoe.
We completed the loop in 7.75 hours of none stop hiking. Longest stop was 5 min. and a quick look at the view from Thunder Mtn.
This is not a safe hike for newbies during the spring! Lots of creeks to cross, snow covered trail is not marked, lots of falling into melted undersnow and sliding down hills.

I suggest waiting until after July or August. If you snow shoe this trail in the winter I suggest having a radio beacon and rope. I think I"ll do the trail c'clock wise next time. Clock wise was brutal.!
We were the only people on the trail and only saw tracks from a solo hiker from a few days before us.

I'll go back in the summer to do the loop again.

8 months ago

This hike was off the charts beautiful. Views are endless after the first mile and ridge views expand both directions. We've hiked many trails off 88 and this one is right at the top.

hiking
1 year ago

Very nice trail. Stunning view! Definitely one of my favorite. We did not do the loop. We just did the Thunder mountain peak and back but I will go back again to the whole thing.

1 year ago

Nice steady climb, our favorite hike thus far because of the amazing views!

1 year ago

This was a great day with my 11 and 12 year old boys. It's an easy hike with lots of great views. I've wanted to climb this peak since I first saw it at age 17 so it's extra special to do it with my kids. One quick suggestion. Go early in the day so you avoid the summertime thunderstorms. We almost made it but got caught in hail and rain the last mile. Still a great adventure.

hiking
1 year ago

Beautiful trail with fantastic views! Not crowded today. Made it about 3/4 of a mile past the turn off for Two Sentinels trail because of the snow. A family made it to the top. Not sure where the trail went because of teh snowfields. Hope to finish it later in the season.

Great trail with nice views and variety.

hiking
1 year ago

Beautiful! I enjoyed seeing the surrounding areas of Kirkwood resort without all of the snow.

hiking
2 years ago

Great hike with a lot of amazing views. Very interesting rock formations along the way and lots of wild flowers. The hike is quite strenuous in some parts but definitely doable. The view at the top is amazing. It overlooks beautiful Silver Lake. Bring plenty of water and a good lunch and don't forget your sunscreen as it is very exposed half the time. Oh make sure to have plenty of gasoline in your vehicle as the only gas available is a one - pump station in Kirkwood, and it is pay by card only. The cost of the gas is $5.00/gal. Enjoy your hike!

hiking
3 years ago

Great views and interesting rock formations along the way. Recommend early start in summer as it gets hot in the afternoon.

hiking
4 years ago

Incredible trail, really worth the effort of climbing to the top. Would highly recommend the out and back, don't do the 11.5 mile loop not worth it.

hiking
4 years ago

If you are a Kirkwood local you'll love this hike even more because most of the trail follows the ridge of Kirkwood Ski Resort, allowing you to view all the runs and lifts from the top. I live in the area and can take the elevation but whew, there were a few sections that I was struggling to catch my breath. Overall though I'd say this is a moderately difficult hike. With generous breaks and time to enjoy the panoramic views it took about 3.5 hrs round trip. Don't forget to sign your name on a notebook in the coffee can found at the summit!

hiking
5 years ago

This was an amazing hike. I encoutered a beautiful buck on the trail. It is no cake walk but, not all that tough. Awesome views of Silver Lakes and several other beautiful Alpine Lakes. Gotta do this one again!!!

hiking
5 years ago