Day Hike to South Thunder Mountain

Rate this Adventure 12.2 miles 5604 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Tanner Maxwell

Thunder Mountain is an underrated hike with spectacular Wasatch alpine views. Your hike can be linked with nearby peaks or a stop at Lake Hardy. 

The summit of South Thunder Mountain, sitting at 11,154 ft, is a superb peak. Located on the Alpine Ridge of the Wasatch Mountains, this peak is criminally overlooked.

The Schoolhouse Springs trailhead leads you onto an old dirt road, that switchbacks for about 2 miles through the foothills, before reaching a small meadow. The trail then turns into a single track. Continue for another ¾ to 1 mile until you reach the Second Hamongog Trail, found in a second meadow, at about 8,000 feet.

From the Second Hamongog Trail, follow signs towards Lake Hardy. As you go along, the views of Lone Peak and Bighorn Peak just get better. For the next 1,400 feet of elevation you will be hiking through rather steep terrain, but with switchbacks.

Eventually you will reach a ridge and large boulder (9,400 ft). From this ridge, you can see eastward towards Box Elder and Timpanogos. Next head north along the ridge, following the trail. At around 9,600 ft you will find a small flat spot, where you will begin dropping down into the Lake Hardy basin, to the northeast. The terrain will becoming increasingly flat, you will go up and down for about 1.5 miles. There is no trail to follow, but as long as you continue north, you can't really go wrong (GPS navigation is recommended, as is scoping the area on Google Earth, ahead of time).

Soon enough, South Thunder Peak will come into view – you can identify it by it's triangular shape, with rounded edges. Make your way to the base of the peak, where there is a boulder field on the south slope. Class 2-3 scrambling is all that is required to make it up, here. The last steep section covers the remaining 450 feet needed to get you to the summit.

Enjoy views of Lone Peak to your west, the Cottonwood Ridge and North Thunder Peak to the north, the Alpine Ridge to the east, and the southern Wasatch, with the highest peaks, to the south.

You can also convert this into a quad-summit link-up (16 miles). First summit South Thunder Peak, then traverse to Big Horn Peak. You will then need to navigate a class 5 ridge towards South Lone Peak . From there, you can connect to the true summit at 11,253 ft. Descend from the south slope to meet back up with the Second Hamangog Trail.

Getting there: You will need to navigate the suburbs of Alpine to get to the trailhead, marked as Schoolhouse Springs – find Alpine Cove Drive, and continue for ¼ mile until you see a dirt road turnoff to your left. Take this road, and drive to the gate where you can park.

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Tags

Photography
Hiking
Forest
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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