Thunder River Trail

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona 86023

Elevation Gain8,735ft
Trailhead Elevation6,233ft
Elevation Min/Max2472/6250ft
Elevation Start/End6233/6233ft

Thunder River Trail

Thunder River Trail is a hiking trail in Coconino County, Arizona. It is within Kaibab National Forest and Grand Canyon National Park. It is 12.1 miles long and begins at 6,233 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 24.8 miles with a total elevation gain of 8,735 feet. The Indian Hollow Trailhead parking is near the trailhead. This trail connects with the following: Deer Creek Trail, Bill Hall Trail and Nf-232.

Thunder River Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Hiking Grand Canyon National Park (Falcon Guides)
Ben Adkison
View more trails from this guide book
"A rigorous but very rewarding rim-to-river backpack of four or more days; for experienced Grand Canyon hikers only."

Thunder River Trail Trip Reports

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This was a first experience backpacking into the GC from the rim. And by the way, it's the Bill Hall trailhead not the Bull Hall. The trail was every bit as advertised, but the first 1800 foot vertical pitch is very steep with loose rock. The spot, about 3/4 the way down at which one must either downclimb a dicey pitch with pack, or lower packs with a rope, can go either way. We elected to lower our packs (about 10-15 feet) but also could probably have downclimbed successfully. We easily ascended this pitch with packs on the way out. The esplanade is a delightful hike with numerous places to camp. The way is well marked with cairns or just beaten trail. We discovered that pitching a tent on solid rock is much better than on dirt. Very easy to keep the tent clean! There were no water potholes in October, but we had plenty of water, and people had left "free water" at the trail junction with the trail from Indian Hollow. We spent one night on the esplenade, then descended to a campsite at Tapeats Creek. The campsites are close to the creek and very sandy. We elected not to hike the loop river route to Deer Creek, as we would (according to our permit) have to have hiked all the way back up to Surprise Valley to make camp. We elected to simply climb from our Tapeats Creek campsite to a site in Surprise Valley (1400 feet) which was relatively easy,and the campsite, south of the trail, among prominent rocks, was very comfortable. Our final campsite, on the esplanade, just short of the steep uphill climb to the rim, was very comfortable. The climb out was strenuous, but the stupendous views of the canyon that are there for the entire route, are ...., well, stupendous! All in all it was a great five day trip for us. Keep in mind that the reporter is 68.
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Started at Monument Point-day 1, descended 2000+ ft. to Esplande, spent night at cliff overhangs. Next day, crossed Esplande and descended RedWall to Surprise Valley. Hiked acros Suprise Valley to Thunder Falls(totally awsome place). Hiked down to Tapeats Creek at base of Falls and camped. Spent next day exploring Tapeats Creek Ampitheater and Falls. Next day-hiked out, crossed Surprise Valley and hiked down into Deer Creek Canyon. Spent next day exploring Slot Canyon and day hiking to Colorado River and Deer Creek Falls(totally fantastic place). Next day, hiked out to Surprise Valley, up the Red Wall, and back to the Cliffs where we had stashed water. Spent night and next day, hiked to top.

Thunder River Trail Photos

Trail Information

Grand Canyon National Park
Nearby City
Grand Canyon National Park
Skill Level
Grand Canyon National Park
Local Contacts
USGS quads: Tapeats Amphitheater and Powell Plateau; Trails Illustrated Grand Canyon National Park
Local Maps