“A remarkably beautiful summit with surprisingly low relative effort - a true standout in the area.”
— Michael Ahnemann
Views · Wildflowers
This is an absolute must-do run in the area. It sees surprisingly low traffic, but it's a real gem. The ascent is never brutal and the trail isn't too long. However, you'll climb steadily as you work your way up to the Thunder Mountain summit, which offers incredible 360 degree views from Yosemite to the Desolation Wilderness.
This is a great strenuous run, and low traffic makes this a great trail for a consistent pace.
Start at the trailhead off CA 88, near Carson Spur. (Look for the parking sign on this map)
The ascent has tons of scenic views and resting points to keep you busy as you're working hard to climb nearly 1900 feet to the summit of Thunder Mountain. You'll start climbing through forest, then work your way along the ridgeline. Along the way, you'll see hillsides covered in wildflowers, dramatic views of Two Sentinals (8780 ft peaks) and the dark volcanic north face of Thunder Mountain, as you approach heading south.
About 3.5 miles in, most of your climbing will be complete, and you'll have left the trees as you continue on the Thunder Mountain Spur Trail
to the summit for spectacular 360 degree views. Look for the Yosemite mountains to the south and the Desolation Wilderness to the north.
Retrace your steps on the way back, and enjoy all of the incredible scenery you missed on the way up!