Explore the most popular trails near Pioneer with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.






Pioneer, California Map

Wild flowers are now pretty much gone. Granite Lake is a nice little alpine lake but Hidden lake is nothing more than a glorified pond. If you are hiking for the exercise then walking to Hidden Lake is worthwhile. If your going to see a nice classic Sierra lake don’t bother. At least the mosquitoes are gone.

23 days ago

Fun, easy hike. Great for cooling off in the pools of water. Would be a good hike for kids.

Short, easy hike from road to a fun little swim spot. Was pretty packed on a Monday... probably insane on a weekend day I'd bet. Water shoes not needed, but you wouldn't regret bringing them. Very exposed and the rocks radiate much heat, so bring plenty of water.

I enjoyed this hike, but did not do the full loop. I went about 4 miles out, following the ridge above Kirkwood. It's got magnificent views and lots of wildflowers. A note for those who hike with dogs: I went the second week of July and there were no natural water sources for them along that part of the trail. So bring enough water for your dogs. Even though I brought water, my dogs were still hot and tired by the time I got back to the trailhead.

I hiked Thunder Mountain on July 14,2018. I have done many hikes and this hike was one of the prettiest hikes I have done. Due to late snow melting and a mild summer so far, this trail was decorated with hundreds of wildflowers and greenery. It felt magical walking through it.

The total miles to the summit and back is 8 miles. I suggest leave very early as most of the trail is exposed to sun. Also, the actual summit is extremely small (maybe big enough for a handful of people). I started the trail at 7am and I was the only person on the trail. I had the summit to myself for 40 minutes. When I started to head back down, I must have passed 20-25 people coming up. The parking lot was completely full.

The trail has many sections that are flat which allow you to take a break and catch your breath. The inclines can sometimes get to 30-35%, but very doable.

This trail is going on my annual hiking list!

Great hike from hwy 88 trailhead to top of Thunder mountain summit. Actually 8.5 to top and back. Amazing wild flowers all along trail. Breathtaking views!

The trail is beautiful but poorly marked! I got so off track it ended up being 11 miles. I see many other have complained of the same issue.

Did this trail with my sister. It was my first time to squaw valley. It’s a very beautiful area. We were the first two to go on the updated trail. It’s a steady incline with a couple of mountain streams next to the trail. I used them dip my hat in and cool off. There are some really great meadows as well, and all the flowers were in bloom. It’s July, so it’s definitely a bit toasty. Make sure to bring a hat and sun block.

Excellent trail, though the trail markers leave a bit too much for the imagination. The eastern part is easy enough and quiet well marked, however after going through the parking lots where all the RVs are on the western side - the trail seems to be blocked off in a few places (maybe thats an old bit?) and forks off a few different ways.

Still was a good hike, snow melting made a few parts impassable and needed to hike around. All and all it ended up being a 10+ mile hike that was great, but the dog wasn't too happy about the extra length.

1 month ago

Steady climb all the way up. Completed this a couple different times with my swat team as a good team building exercise and a break from our urban area regular training. The guys loved it. We did it with our plate carriers and weapons so the extra irregular shaped and displaced weight added more to the challenge. Fantastic views at the top on a clear day. Highest elevation at the top was just under 10k ft.

Absolutely gorgeous! I’ve never seen so many wildflowers! Incredible views. I highly recommend this hike!

Great Vista with well maintained trail. Only went to top of Kirkwood and didn't complete loop but again the lie was tremendous

Neat little place to stop and take a dip!

I gave up trying to find this trail. Even the GPS did not help. Maybe it is an old trail. But we loved the 2.8 rt mile hike to Granite Lake. Loved the water fall at the bridge. There are harmless leeches in the lake. Very limited parking and it is a one lane road with a few pull outs to the trailhead.

There is still snow that turned some folks back (for us that meant we had the top all to ourselves). From theHwy 88 TH it's up all the way but most of the climb is gradual until you actually get to Thunder Mountain itself. After passing through some beautiful wildflower fields and beautiful vistas we climbed above tree line. There were some small sections that required a bit of scrambling but not too bad. Actually getting out to the "top" can be a bit tricky and potentially treacherous but the views will not disappoint.

The views were great BUT IT IS SO POORLY MARKED!!! We had to use notched trees and stacked rocks to navigate. This is 7.4 miles but we got so off course it needed up being 16! Also, the Ranger isn't on office till August!

It sucked. I wouldn’t recommend going.

Great scenic hike in Amador/Alpine county that leads to an even more scenic view when you reach the top. The weather is consistently great in the summer (perfect hiking temperature’s).

hiked back to granite lake which was nice, didn't know there are leeches in the lake. not harmful, just not expected while swimming

I really enjoy camping at Silver Lake and swimming in the nice, cold, crystal clear waters. This time I decided to try out the Thunder Mountain hike. I hiked it on July 8th and there were still large patches of snow I had to hike through making it pretty treacherous at some parts. There were times I was hike along a massive , steep snow patch and was afraid I would slide way down the mountain if I slipped. I also lost track of the trail a few times but luckily found my way back. So, it was a pretty intense hike, especially since it was just me and my dog out there. I only passed one other person the whole time and that was when I was just about to the end. The sense of solitude out there was unreal. But, it was a really cool, but steep, hike with great views all around and I'd like to do it again when there is no snow to trek through.

Vistas rad!!

9 months ago

Excellent hike. Not hard. Very nice rock formations.

10 months ago

We would rate this as poorly marked Trail. Even with all trails we got way off course and basically made it up as we went. Beautiful area for kayaking. Wouldn’t hike it again though.

11 months ago

Fantastic hike. Affords tons and tons of views of Kirk wood to the east along with sentinels and to the west silver lake. Plenty of varying vegetation with several types of flowers. Easy to follow trail.

We started from Thunder Mtn. trailhead and headed towards Kirkwood. Was a great hike until we made the turn at the bottom of the loop at Horse Canyon Trail. Once we hit the Horse Canyon parking lot, we ran into private property and decided to hike the last few miles back in 88. App is accurate at about 12 miles. The altitude is real, we drank more water than we normally would have.

Great trail.Some confusion coming back to hgw.88.Beautiful view from the ridge over the canyon.

11 months ago


Sunday, August 13, 2017

insane views, decent climb to the top :) wear shoes with good traction, plenty of water and you will have a great time. not much snow left, just a few medium patches. love watching Kirkwood from above.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Started the trail at 8 am Saturday morning, made it to the top with my 50 pounds of gear by noon. Made camp at 9200 feet of elevation. Training at altitude for High Sierra Trail/Mt Whitney in 2 weeks. I was surprised at the amount of snow still present. Did some exploring and practicing with my gear, melted snow for water etc. Great views and a decent challenge with so much weight, I stopped frequently due to heavy breathing, a great workout. Overnight camping was a blast but you'll need to put in the effort to prep a flat spot for your tent. Broke camp Sunday morning and make it back to the truck in about 2 hours. What a great local trail we have here.

Beautiful views! decent hike, just a few steeper parts

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