Thunder Mountain Trail
Just outside Bryce Canyon National Park, Thunder Mountain combines technical riding with amazing views. And you can ride it as a "scenic loop," a kick-butt downhill, or a serious hill climb. The singletrack is 7.9 miles on narrow, slightly rough and occasionally loose surface. Adding the Red Canyon paved trail and the Fremont Trail forms a loop 14.7 miles in length. From the trail head to the top of the mountain, it's 1200 feet, but it feels like more. If you ride the trail as an out-and-back, it's 15.8 miles. Peak elevation is 8200 feet.
Many riders do Thunder Mountain as a downhill with a shuttle. For this option, leave a car at the lower trailhead, then go to the Coyote Hollow trailhead at elevation 7800 feet. You'll climb slowly to 8200 feet, then begin a serious downhill. One of the ride's unforgettable moments is the 1/4 mile along the top of a sharp fin projecting from the valley floor 300 feet below, with rock falling away at 70 degrees on each side. There are a couple of short climbs within the canyon, but it's a pretty fast ride when done from the top end.
For those without a shuttle car, consider doing the uphill on the paved bike trail (see Red Canyon Trail) that parallels U-12, up through Red Canyon. Turn right on the Fremont Trail and proceed to Coyote Hollow, then do the singletrack as a downhill. The loop option is 14.7 miles.
Riding the trail uphill, you must work your way up switchbacks out of steep Red Rock Canyon, among orange spires and odd shapes reminiscent of Bryce Canyon. It's 3.9 miles of tough climbing to the top of Thunder Mountain.
The eastern 4 miles of singletrack is an undulating cruise. The soil here is colored like a giant melted orange creamsickle, with a few trees and scrub struggling to survive.
Getting there, Coyote Hollow Trailhead: Driving east on U-12, go all the way up Red Canyon until the road levels out in a steppe area at the top (about 8 miles from US-89). Watch for a gravel road GPS N 37° 43.169' W 112° 15.322' (on both the right and left sides of the road) about 1/2 mile after reaching the top of the hill. The road is labeled "Fremont ATV Trail." Turn right and drive 2.1 miles to the Coyote Hollow trailhead at GPS N 37° 42.156' W 112° 16.758'.
Thunder Mountain Trailhead: Drive east from US-89 on U-12 (about 3 miles) until you reach the Thunder Mountain parking area on your right, just before "Red Canyon" sign. GPS is N 37° 44.595' W 112° 19.747'.

Copyright 2002 Mad Scientist Software Inc
Trail conditions change, and the layout of a trail may change without notice. Use this trail guide at your own risk.