DISTANCE
15.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,748 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

kid friendly

birding

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

road biking

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no shade

no dogs

hiking
3 months ago

I just did this as an out and back starting from the clearly marked trailhead at milepost 3 on Hwy 12, just before the Red Canyon Visitor Center. The trailhead has a restroom, but no water. Truly wonderful hike. Some of the same wonderful rock formations you would see at Bryce, but without the crowds. I also like that it was uphill on the way out and downhill on the way back, which is the opposite of hiking in Bryce Canyon.This trail is obviously used for mountain biking and horseback riding, which is more practical if you are going to do the whole loop. I was the only one on the trail this morning. Evidence of the past presence of horses is abundant, but not bothersome.

For the first 1.4 miles you are walking gradually uphill on a nice path, with pleasant but not spectacular scenery. After reaching a junction, and continuing on the Thunder Mountain trail, things get really interesting. There is a slightly steep uphill with switchbacks and then you are walking along a ridge, rolling up and down, with beautiful views in all directions. At about 2.4 miles, there is a side trail for Inspiration Point, which goes up to a wonderful viewpoint in about .3 miles. It's absolutely worth the extra effort. I followed the Thunder Mountain trail for 3.1 miles and then turned around. I could see a radio tower on top of a peak in the distance, and I think that is where the trail was headed and maybe that is the location of the Thunder Mountain peak, but the folks at the Visitor Center couldn't tell me. The trail eventually meets up with Hwy 12 and taking the path along the road is how you would complete the loop.