Thunder Creek Trail is a 31.7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Marblemount, Washington that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.
Directions from Diablo Lake: Follow State Route 20 to Diablo Lake. Enter the south side of Colonial Creek Campground at milepost 130. Park in the lot above the boat ramp. One of the two trailheads for Thunder Creek Trail lies uphill from the parking lot behind the trailer dump station. This is the preferred trailhead for horses. To reach the other trailhead, walk the length of the campground, following the signs to the amphitheater. The main trailhead is marked by an informational display nearby.
Quite a trail! After crossing the bridge, the trail goes on and on through the moss covered forest with ocasional glimpses of the incredible Cascades. Once you get up into Thunder Basin itself, the scenery is astounding. Mounts Logan and Buckner dominate the basin on the south and glaciers descend into the valley on the west side.
Be aware that you need a permit (free) to camp. There are a number of designated areas to camp along the trail. And in the morning, the trail is crowded with wet bushes and plants. Your pants and shoes will be soaked.
We hiked in and camped at Mcallister, approx 6.5 ish miles in! There's some incline, but fairly easy terrain, I would rate moderate mostly because of the distance and some of the log crossings. It was a beautiful home, thunder creek lives up to its name!
Good trail, roughly 6 miles in there were too many trees down on the trail for me to attempt to navigate. Turned back and camped at Neve camp after that.
I wouldn't rate this trail as difficult at all, moderate at the most. It's stunningly beautiful forest but you'll have to go to Junction Camp to get the views of the mountains. It's well worth the trip!
Pretty cool trail. The first mile or so is all uphill and a lot of pretty steep grade, but the forest around is beautify and calm. The trail levels out and comes around the side of the mountain and begins to descend that side. It begins to switchback steeply again towards the creek. The "creek" seemed more like a rushing river to me. Gorgeously clear blue, it is loud and powerful. There are some spots here by the river where the trail was quite a bit overgrown. It is a neat walk by the creek though.
Loved this trail. Hiked 10 miles to junction camp and was rewarded with amazing views of the glaciers. Next morning hike 5 miles to Cosho camp (down fisher creek trail) mile from junction camp seen a black bear walking towards me on the trail. A couple "hey bears "had it going away from me. This camp was on the creek not as nice as junction but still a great spot. The next morning made the 15 mile hike back to the trail head. No bears.
The trail was clear all the way to junction, with bridges over any creek that was more than ankle deep. After junto on the trail is not as well maintained. At around 2 miles there is a large creek to cross and the bridge has been washed out for a couple years now. There is a log jam down stream that makes crossing possible. I left colonial camp ground about 5PM on Friday June 27 and after 5 miles did not see another person until Sunday after Mcallister camp. Very secluded for such a great trail.
Fantastic wilderness hike! Mostly level to where we camped at Tricouni. 800' elevation gain over approx. 8 miles from Colonial Campground trailhead. Encountered a black bear on the way back about .5 mile north of McAlister Camp. This is a good "intro to wilderness" hike/camp. Bring plenty of bug spray--especially for black/horse flies!
Overnight hike over Memorial Day weekend, and it was great.
Hiked 10.1 miles from Colonial Creek Campground up to Junction campsite. The first ~7 miles are very flat, hiking mostly through Doug Fir-Cedar swamp, rarely traveling far from the creek. There are a few tricky stream crossings, but nothing too major. By playing hopscotch with the down logs and large rocks I managed to traverse them without ever getting my feet wet. The larger streams all have bridges that are in great shape. The trail is in great shape; not too wet and no snow anywhere.
The last mile or two is a pretty steep climb up switchbacks. You can hear a powerful waterfall to your left, but never get a good view of it. The views of the mountains start to get clear up here, which is great. At the top of the ridge it's just another half-mile or so until the campsite. Junction campsite had by far the best views of the trip, with sights of three glaciers including Boston (I was told it's the biggest in the park).
The mosquitoes were not a problem on the trail but were TERRIBLE at the campsite. I was a prisoner in my tent for most of the night except to get out and get some great pictures.
Hiked the ten miles back to the campground. Before driving west towards home I drove east along Hwy 20 to get a bit deeper into the park. There are so many huge waterfalls right along the hwy I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see some of them.
It was a fantastic trip.
We only hiked to the first campground which was about 6 miles round trip. It was a pleasant forest hike beside a creek. Good early season hike.
I backpacked this trail last May. It's a beautiful place but I would recommend going later in the season, maybe June or July. There was a lot of water on the trail from snowmelt. I had to cross at least eight little streams on the 6 mile portion of the trail I hiked. Other than that the trail was great. There was little elevation gain because the trail would go up for a little, and then go down again. I camped at McAllister for the night and then headed back.