Thunder Loop

Round Trip Distance: 4.6 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 7731 - 8062 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 1 hrs. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Thunder Trails
Fee: none
Attractions: Forest hike/bike

The Thunder Loop is located in the Thunder Trails area near Norwood, Colorado. Thunder Trails is a newly created trail system in the Uncompahgre National Forest that was designed specifically for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and dirt biking. There are currently 4 trails in the system, for a total of about 19 miles, that are stretched out along Thunder Road adjacent to Naturita Canyon.

Thunder Loop is the first trail and begins right from the trailhead. For directions and a map to the trailhead visit the Thunder Trails page.

The trail starts out a little bumpy but smooths out in places as it heads away from the trailhead.

Near the half mile point the trail crosses a small drainage.

After a little climbing through the trees the trail breaks out into the open and levels off somewhat.

The open area is followed by some steeper climbing as the trail gains several hundred feet of elevation in just over a half mile.

At the 2.16 mile point from the trailhead the Thunder Loop is joined by the Portis Loop and turns west toward Thunder Road.

The two trails share paths as they cross to the west side of Thunder Road where they once again split and go their separate ways.

Heading north back to the trailhead is pretty much all downhill.

One thing to know about the Thunder Trails is that the west side of the loops tend to be very rocky as they travel along the rim of Naturita Canyon. In places they are just bumpy but there can be sections of broken and loose rock to navigate.

There are also what we call trail squeezes that restrict the width of anyone using the trail. In this case they are meant to allow dirt bikes but not ATV's.

There were a lot of vehicles in the parking area when we arrived on this day but a thunderstorm came rolling in and as a couple of hikers told us it was 'time to get out of Dodge'. There are primitive camping spots along the road to the south of the trailhead where there is plenty of room for RV's. The road is open from May 1st to November 15th and is easily passable by cars during good weather. The Thunder Loop is a nice seasonal trail in a pretty setting where escape from the heat of the lower valleys is possible. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your bike, horse, or dirt bike and 'Take a hike'.