Rocky Mountain: Thunder Lake

September 20, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

We arrived to Wild Basin late morning and set off to Thunder Lake. Our plan was to stay two nights up at the lake and on our layover day we would hike off trail to explore the lakes above Thunder. The hike to Thunder Lake is mostly in the trees so the views aren't great, except for Ouzel Falls and Calypso Cascades. 

Ouzel Falls (2)Ouzel Falls (2) Calypso CascadesCalypso Cascades
After a long and steady climb, we made it to Thunder just as the sun was setting behind the ridge. We made dinner and watched the sun set.

Afternoon at Thunder LakeAfternoon at Thunder Lake

We had a fairly full moon during our trip so I took the opportunity to take some night photos of the lake. The following morning we had a spectacular sunrise so I spent a while exploring around the lake and the outlet.

Thunder Lake at Night (3)Thunder Lake at Night (3) Sunrise at Thunder Lake (portrait)Sunrise at Thunder Lake (portrait) Sunrise at Thunder Lake (4)Sunrise at Thunder Lake (4) First Light at Thunder LakeFirst Light at Thunder Lake

After breakfast we set out to explore towards Lion and Snowbank Lakes. 

Fan FallsFan Falls Alpine in Wild BasinAlpine in Wild Basin Pilot Mountain and Mount AlicePilot Mountain and Mount Alice

Once we got above the trees we pulled out the map to see if we could get a better lay of the land. We had seen a lot of these peaks before, but from the northern side looking south. We continued on along a creek uphill until we found more lakes and streams.

Corrie reading the mapCorrie reading the map Lion Lake No. 2 and Chiefshead PeakLion Lake No. 2 and Chiefshead Peak Lion Lake No 2. and CascadesLion Lake No 2. and Cascades Cascades and ChiefsheadCascades and Chiefshead Wildflowers, cascades, and ChiefsheadWildflowers, cascades, and Chiefshead

Once we started heading back towards camp, we decided it was time to crack our beers and eat lunch. We found a nice rock in the sun and laid out like marmots.

IMG_4870IMG_4870 Self-portrait in Wild BasinSelf-portrait in Wild Basin

In addition to the named lakes, there are also a bunch of small patches of shallow water, which allows for things to stay green fairly late into the year.

IMG_4974IMG_4974 Meeker, Longs, and ChiefsheadMeeker, Longs, and Chiefshead

The next day we hike out the same way we came in, and stopped at Ouzel Falls again. Solid end to a great trip.

Ouzel FallsOuzel Falls

Trip notes: We hiked just shy of 19 miles with 3800' elevation gain. As I mentioned, the best part of the hike is at the Lake and beyond. That means it's very nice to have at least one layover day to explore the alpine area. You could probably spend more than one day up there if you wanted. It also looks like you can hike to Thunder and continue on over the pass to Grand Lake. Seems like a crazy long day, but would be cool to hike from one end of the park to the other in a day.

Screen Shot 2024-01-17 at 8.39.27 PMScreen Shot 2024-01-17 at 8.39.27 PM Screen Shot 2024-01-17 at 8.39.34 PMScreen Shot 2024-01-17 at 8.39.34 PM


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