A bonus of the hike to Thunder Falls is the numerous lakes and falls you pass by on the way and in the surrounding area. For more on these lakes and falls see our posts Blue Lake and Upper Big Timber Falls.
Directions to Trailhead: From Big Timber, travel north on US 191 – 11 miles to the well-marked access to Big Timber Canyon Road via Wormser Road. Follow the road to its end at the Halfmoon Picnic Area and Campground. This is a well-traveled road with little maintenance so it is a rough and slow trip. The scenic view all along the way and the hiking is well worth the travel. This is affirmed by the number of vehicles you will see in the parking lot.
Directions to Falls: Follow trail to Blue lake. Once at Blue lake travel around the east edge of the lake to Thunder Lake. There is a beaten path close to the water but you will have to scale some rocks. The maps we have show Thunder Lake far below Blue Lake but that is not the case. Thunder Lake is much like a continuation of Blue Lake with a short stream between them. You will know you are at the top of the falls when you look off. From here caution is of the utmost. You will have to pick your way through the trees and rocks and vantage spots are at a premium and not the safest over looks. It is a cool view but be careful!!!
Travel Time to Trailhead: Depending upon how and what you drive and how hard you are on what you drive it can take 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours from Big Timber to the trail head. WARNING: ROUGH ROAD LAST 2 MILES
Hike Distance: 9 miles round trip to Blue Lake. From the head of Blue Lake to Thunder Falls is not a 1/2 mile but it is a slow half mile.
What to bring:
- Hiking boots
- Lunch and some snacks
- Bear Spray
- Not sure about a fishing pole as we did not fish. Sorry about that?
- Hike to Granite, Twin Lakes, Cascade or Pear Lakes
- Fish the Lakes
- Camp at the Halfmoon Campground or a lake
One of the neat water falls in the Crazy Mountains, Thunder Falls are a sight to be seen. A little tougher to access than Big Timber Falls, they require some freelancing from Blue and Thunder Lakes. Don’t let the other blog posts scare you though. It isn’t too difficult to reach the falls. The side trip took us about an hour.