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Take a Hike: Thunder Mountain Summit

LOCATED IN: Kirkwood. Google Thunder Mountain Trailhead.

Distance: 7.6 miles out and back; 1,800 feet elevation gain.

Difficulty Level: Moderate.

Know Before You Go: This popular trail features rough terrain that can be tough for dogs. There is a steady incline all the way up to the summit.

Fuel Up: Stop in Pine Grove on the way home for a combination plate and margarita at Las Minas Mexican Restaurant (

Why We Love It: Beautiful views with amazing wildflowers that accompany you up the ridgeline. The steady, moderate incline is a great way to get into shape for bigger and longer hikes.

Trail Notes: Wear shoes with traction, adequate clothing (dress in layers), and sunscreen; learn and practice “Leave No Trace” ethics; if you pack it in, pack it out; arrive early to get parking.

Survival Kit

While most of the time hiking is nothing but amazing, situations can happen and you should be prepared for them.  Here is a quick “survival gear” checklist of items to bring in your pack.
  • First-aid kit
  • Map and compass
  • Space blanket
  • Waterproof matches
  • Fire starter + kindling
  • Multi-tool + knife
  • Headlamp + extra batteries
  • Water Purification tablets
  • Whistle
  • Cordelette + duct tape
  • Rain poncho
  • Non-perishable snacks
Thunder Mountain Summit


By Ryan Martinez

Do you have a favorite trail in the region you’d like to see featured? Tell us all about it at [email protected]

Top photo by Whiteney Taylor; bottom photo by Behrooz Badie, @bbadie of Capture the Moment Photography, header photo by Kathy Brown.