For the adventurous at heart, mountain biking through the breathtaking backcountry of Bryce Canyon National Park can provide the thrill of a lifetime. The Thunder Mountain trail gives riders 1200 feet of up road climbing action, with stunning vistas of unending sky, the sacred scents of sagebrush, and plenty of desert wildlife to glimpse along the way. This single track trail is only 7.9 miles, but with steep climbing action from Coyote Hollow trailhead to the top of the mountain and much more downhill adventure, the journey has all the comforts of rugged riding.
Thunder Mountain is not just any ol’mountain bike trail, it just so happens to be one of the premier spots for scouting some of Utah’s most desert-style wilderness by bike. The first 1.5 miles of this weathered trail is typically dry and smooth, before climbing a series of steep switchbacks leading to a dramatic ridge that overlooks Wilson Peak to the southeast, the winding journey of Sevier River Valley to the west, and the red rocks of Red Canyon to the north. The trail continues along the ridge for some time before dropping its heights and winding into the mural of the Coyote Hollow Trailhead.
Many riders choose to ride this trail from the upper trailhead using a car to shuttle back (due to some areas of the trail’s unsuitable uphill riding conditions). Overall the trail offers great technical diversity including tight switcbacks, steep terrain, and rocky descents. For the mountain riding lovers, this trail is not to be missed!
Directions: From Highway 12 at mile marker three, turn south into the Thunder Mountain Trailhead. For those bikers wishing to start at the Coyote Hollow Trailhead and continue uphill can make a loop by riding the paved Red Canyon Bicycle Trail back. To access the Coyote Hollow Trailhead, continue through Red Canyon until it opens up on the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Turn south onto Forest Road 30117 (near where the bike trail ends). This is also the area where Fremont ATV Trail connects. Follow the road past the Fremont Trail turnoff to a small equestrian campground, then past the Red Canyon Botanical Area, until it ends at Coyote Hollow Trailhead.