April 25, 2017
Thunder Mountain Trail - one of the few trails in Bryce Canyon National Park open to mountain biking - starts at 8,000 ft. elevation where it follows a wooded forest path for the first 1.5 miles. From there, you'll climb a series of steep switchbacks to a 8,300 ft. ridge overlooking Red Canyon to the north, Wilson Peak to the southeast, and the Sevier River Valley to the west. This trail rewards riders with amazing red rock Hudoo views and varied terrain. Parts of the trail can be challenging but, in general, it's not a difficult trail to ride, uncertain riders can always walk sections of the trail.
One 100 yard section of Bryce Canyon's Thunder Mountain trail is only 5 feet wide; sheer 40 feet drop on both sides of the trail encourages riders to keep their balance and eyes directly on the path in front of them; unfortunate given the amazing 360 degree vistas. This Ridge is not for those know to suffer from vertigo.
Once past the ridge, you'll descend around 1,000 ft. elevation on some fairly steep switchbacks. This is probably the most technical section of the trail - hairpin turns and 20 degree slopes are sure to get your adrenaline flowing. Assuming you survive the switchbacks, the final section is a fast rolling decent that is sure to put a smile on your face. At a total distance of 8.8 miles, Thunder Mountain isn't a very long ride; however, the breathtaking views will leave you speechless and wanting for another run. The trail is well maintained and marked; no worries of getting lost. During peak park season the trail can get a lot of bike traffic.
Overall, I rate Bryce Canyon's Thunder Mountain bike trail 5 out of 5 stars. This truly unique area makes this destination worth the drive.