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Thunderhead Trail

Intermediate
 4.3 (7) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Easily the best running trail on Mount Werner.


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Map Key

4.1

Miles

6.5

KM

77%

Runnable

9,028' 2,752 m

High

6,917' 2,108 m

Low

2,110' 643 m

Up

0' 0 m

Down

10%

Avg Grade (6°)

30%

Max Grade (17°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

One of the few hiking-only trails on Mount Werner, Thunderhead Trail provides runners with awesome views of downtown Steamboat, the ski area's base and the south valley. Additionally, the springtime wildflowers are consistently beautiful.

Need to Know

Gondola rides are: $25 for adults (13 and up), and $10 for youth (5-12 years).

Be sure to bring cash for lunch/brunch/dinner at the base area!

Bring water and sunscreen - this trail gets hot!

Description

This well-designed trail takes runners from the base of the mountain all the way to top of the gondola. However, most will ride the gondola to the top, then run down - the views are the same either way! Alternatively, one could run this trail as an out and back from the base.

From the gondola, the trail starts just south of the Thunderhead Food Court going west. Follow the trail as it transitions from open ski trail to deep woods singletrack. Once in the woods, Thunderhead winds through the trees immediately giving it a backcountry feel.

Shortly after this wooded stint, the trail contours across Mt. Werner to the north and crosses two winter ski trails. Be sure to stop and take in the awesome views of the south valley, especially from Valley View ski trail.

Continue down the mountain as the trail utilizes multiple nicely built switchbacks to gently descend the mountain. That's not to say that this trail isn't hard. Especially on hot summer days, Thunderhead gets little respite from the Steamboat sun - be prepared with water and sunscreen!

At approximately 1.9mi into your journey Thunderhead intersects with Valley View. To stay on Thunderhead continue southwest, past the mid-mountain operation buildings, then back into the woods as the trail winds its way north.

Once again, you'll pop out of the woods, and from here the trail becomes doubletrack. Continue north, intersect Valley View, then head west on the final section of trail. From here on out the trail is out of the woods, providing great views of Steamboat Springs. Bypass Headwall Trail on your right and head all the way down to the ski area base operations.

Flora & Fauna

You'll find multitudes of wildflowers come spring, especially in late June. Keep an eye out for lavender ballhead waterleaf and peppermint striped onions.

Contacts

Shared By:

Tom Robson with improvements by Krystle Morrison

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 7 votes

#2435

Overall
  4.3 from 7 votes
5 Star
57%
4 Star
14%
3 Star
29%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#335

in Colorado

#2,435

Overall
183 Views Last Month
10,240 Since Jan 30, 2015
Intermediate

0%
0%
78%
11%
11%
0%

Photos

The trail weaves in and out of the canopy and on the switchback, peeks out for this clear view of the valley below.
Jun 22, 2015 near Steambo…, CO
Near the gondola. Beautiful view of Steamboat.
Nov 11, 2019 near Steambo…, CO
Hiking Mt. Werner.
Feb 5, 2015 near Steambo…, CO

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Check-Ins

Aug 27, 2018
Nestor Salvado
Clear - Met face to face with mama Moose and calf... behaved calmed... after a long while she moved away... 4mi — 1h 07m
Aug 2, 2017
Heather Zarour
Jun 20, 2015
Todd Straka