Thunder Creek Trail

HARD 41 reviews

Thunder Creek Trail is a 10.3 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. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

10.3 miles
1,305 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash





nature trips





wild flowers



old growth

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.

14 days ago

July 19, 2018: This is a nice walk but leaves you feeling like you should have gotten more bang for your buck. We did about six hours on the trail with an 11- and 13-year old, covering about 16-17 km round trip. Overall the trail is fairly flat, but I rolled my ankle a couple of times on rocks or roots—we were wearing running shoes. At the beginning the trail seems like it had a lot of potential as the river is near by, but after the 4th of July trail turn off, the trail stays under the canopy of trees and out of view of the river, although you can hear it. About 6-7 km in, there’s a couple views of the mountains overhead. The variety of plants is outstanding, but there was rarely a peep from birds. The little streams you cross along the way are nice and provide a great place to stop and enjoy a sandwich. My wife thinks we should have taken 4th of July as the park trail pamphlet suggests that it is the trail with the views.

22 days ago

Nice wooded walk. But not a whole lot to see. We were going to go up 4th of July but visibility was poor so we did this instead

29 days ago

Just backpacked to Thunder Camp and day Hiked to Fourth of July Camp via Fourth of July Pass and McAllister Camp via Thunder Creek. We’re some bears in the area but trails are well kept

1 month ago

Backpacked to 4th of July Pass via Thunder Creek trail. Very clean and scenic trail.

2 months ago

I backpacked to Junction it was great

7 months ago

great easy hike and you can pick your distance. I was sick and recovering from an ear infection (drove into concrete for medical) and didn't have the energy to do much. just a few miles out n back in tennis shoes...very easy and pretty. apparently someone started a forest fire at one of the camps so it was closed earlier in the week. anyone can do this walk.

11 months ago

We hiked this trail over the Labor Day weekend. Trail was in great condition. The elevation gain to our final campsite was tough on the knees. We camped in a clearing with beautiful mountain views with cascading waterfalls. 10.3 miles to our campsite.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Hiked this trail with my 11 and 13 year old daughters starting at the Colonial Creek Campground. Find the entrance and parking near the amphitheater of that campground. It is well marked with bathrooms near the parking. The trail has small elevation gains and we hiked to McAllister Campground. It is about a 6-7 mile hike with overall elevation gain, but really much more up and down terrain. There are a few wood bridges and small fording of streams through the hike. The terrain is beautiful with most of the hike through forested areas which move parallel to the creek, but you can't see the creek the majority of the trail. Once you reach McAllister campground, it is really beautiful with a bridge that inexplicably has only one guardrail! A little scary for the girls if there is traffic on the bridge over the fast moving Thunder Creek, but really beautiful campgrounds there. The campgrounds are far apart so there is ample privacy. Flies were the main bugs there more so than mosquitoes. Others mentioned they saw signs of bears, but we didn't. Pit toilets are present at various sites at the campground. Overall a really nice trail and campsite!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Well maintained trails with some cool wooden bridges. Mild up and down elevation changes the first 6 miles. (Only recorded part of the hike) We camped at a campsite near the river - had a fire pit with a steel cooking surface, which certainly saved us because our propane cooker failed. Plenty of fallen firewood to be gathered. A few mosquitos evening and mornings, not a problem but suggest you bring long pants and something with long sleeves to wear in the evenings. Our dog loved it too!

Monday, June 05, 2017

Such an awesome hike!! Hiked 6 miles in 6 miles back on a beautiful day and took a little over 5 1/2 hours. Completely worth the day!! The path is very narrow at points so if you bring a pet be sure to make space for others that may be on the path too. All-in-all great hike :) will totally do it again!

Monday, June 05, 2017

Multi-night backpack
Trail in good condition
Road suitable for all vehicles
Bugs were not too bad
Snow free

5/25: Hiked into Neve Campground with 7 year old. Had an outdoor latrine, easy stream access, plenty of dry firewood. Just before arriving to neve campground there is a stream across the trail, about 10ft wide ankle deep.

5/26: Left gear at Neve and hiked up 2,000 feet (2.5 miles) to fourth of July Campground for the day. Took almost 4 hours due to the 7yr old. Less than 2 hours coming down. patches of snow were on ground just past the campground. Campground had a latrine and fresh water stream.

5/27: Hiked out. 

Excellent choice for young children, great mountain views, and abundant resources

Monday, May 08, 2017

The trail was a really nice one! This is a great hike earlier in the year (less snow) or later on in summer as hikers choose more aggressive terrain. The first portion is a gentle incline, nothing serious. Trail is very navigable but there are trees down from time to time. Camped at Neve this time around and had a lot of privacy. There were downed trees everywhere but that just made an extra challenge!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

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.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

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!

Monday, May 02, 2016

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.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

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!

Monday, July 14, 2014

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.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

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.

Monday, July 08, 2013

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!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Overnight hike over Memorial Day weekend, and it was great.

Sunday -
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.

Monday -
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.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

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.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

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.

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