Thunder Lake

July 14, 2018 · Rocky Mountain National Park

The hike to Thunder Lake starts at the Wild Basin trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park, it's a common trailhead to get to other destinations within the Wild Basin Area, as such it's a crowded trail up until the split for Ouzel Lake. After that the crowds thin out dramatically and you pretty much have the trail to yourself.

For me, this hike came in just over 15 miles roundtrip. As I have been on the first leg of this trail a couple of times in the past, the first part went pretty fast. Additionally, you are in a dense canopy of tall Pines so it's a bit dark and cool.

You don't see Thunder Lake until you are right at the shore line, once there it is breathtaking. It looked like a postcard of the Colorado Rockies. The isn't a lot of beach-front property along the shore of Thunder Lake so you must find little openings to get to the shoreline. It is very peaceful there. I wish I was able to stay there overnight.

It was partly cloudy for part of the time I was at Thunder Lake, making for some dramatic shadows on the granite walls of the bowl that Thunder Lake sits in. When the clouds cleared out, it was simply amazing. What a beautiful lake. Worth going back to as there are many other lakes nearby.


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AREAS HIKED

Collegiate Peaks Wilderness10
Eagles Nest Wilderness11
Fossil Ridge Wilderness1
Fraser Experimental Forest1
Gunnison National Forest1
Holy Cross Wilderness14
Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness3
Indian Peaks Wilderness15
James Peak Wilderness5
Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness2
Mount Evans Wilderness2
Mount Massive Wilderness3
Pike National Forest1
Raggeds Wilderness1
Rocky Mountain National Park42
Roosevelt National Forest1
San Isabel National Forest7
Sangre de Cristo Wilderness3
White River National Forest10
Zirkel Wilderness1

TRAILS BY MONTH

January4
February3
March3
April3
May5
June18
July26
August29
September29
October6
November5
December3

SEASONS ON THE TRAIL

2022

The 2022 season has started. This season marks the tenth season I have been keeping track of my backcountry tracks. Hoping this will be a landmark year.

2021

The 2021 Season has started. Though the pandemic created a challenging 2020 season, I am looking forward to building on the 2020 season to create an incredible 2021 season. The pandemic has taught me a few things about when and where to go hiking. As such planning for the 2021 se...

2020

The 2020 hiking season has been incredible, even in the face of adversity. The pandemic has made for a logistically challenging season. Somehow, I was still able to piece together an incredible 230+ miles on the trail this season and able to see some truly spectacular places. Enj...

2019

The 2019 hiking season was an interesting season, this was the first season that I started and ended the season snowshoeing and a full summer of hiking for a total of just under 225 miles on the trail. What this season has taught me is that it's winter in the mountains for a long...

2018

The 2018 Summer Hiking Season has come to an end. What a season, incredible views and just over 230 miles on the trail. Even with 230 miles, this season seems short to me, perhaps I'll add something to it during the winter season - snowshoeing perhaps. In the meantime, I hope you...

2017

The 2017 hiking season was interesting, I was able to explorer more of Colorado's National Forests and get in some camping, not as much camping as I would have liked, but hopefully next year I'll able to get in more multi-day hikes. This season came in just under 129 miles roundt...

2016

The 2016 hiking season was about spreading out and exploring more of Eagles Nest Wilderness, Indian Peaks Wilderness and touching on White River National Forest - and of course a few trips into Rocky Mountain National Park. These are amazing National treasures. This season came i...

2015

The 2015 hiking season was a big hiking season, I decided to do a fundraiser for The Red Cross (I learned a lot about fundraising - it was very interesting) with my pledge to hike over 200 miles for this season, I came in at 217 miles for the season; what a great time out on the ...

2014

The 2014 hiking season was almost all about exploring Rocky Mountain National Park, it really is a beautiful park. What I learned during the course of this hiking season is, although people may roll their eyes when you say you're going on a hike in RMNP, it really is spectacular ...

2013

2013 is the year this all started. The hike to Pitkin Lake started it all. Although it was a difficult trail, I was hooked immediately. However, I didn't have the right gear and the seasons were changing quickly. So, even though this season only brought two hikes, I new this was ...