hiking
7 days ago

Truly wonderful hike. Some of the same wonderful rock formations you would see at Bryce, but without the crowds. I also like that it is uphill on the way out and downhill on the way back, which is the opposite of hiking in Bryce Canyon. I did this 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. This trail is obviously used for mountain biking and horseback riding, but 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 that might be where the trail was headed. I'm have no idea of the location of the Thunder Mountain peak, and the folks at the Visitor Center didn't know either, but maybe I can find it on another trip.