The Spirit of the Rockies
Hike Profiles for Rocky Mountain National Park and Surrounding Areas
Thunder Lake
Thunder Lake is in a
gorgeous setting in
forests on the west
side of Wild Basin.
The trail is well
maintained to the
patrol cabin at the
lake, and from that
point, an unmaintained
trail leads to the west
end of the lake.
Distance: 6.8 miles one-way

Lake elevation: 10,574 feet

Trailhead elevation: 8,500 feet

Net elevation gain: 2,074 feet

Wild Basin Trailhead

Rocky Mountain National Park
Patrol cabin at Thunder Lake
Major Trail Landmarks
Copeland Falls (0.3 miles one-way from trailhead)
Calypso Cascades (1.8 miles one-way from trailhead)
Ouzel Falls (2.7 miles one-way from trailhead)
Junction of Thunder Lake and Bluebird Trails (3.1 miles one-way from trailhead)
Junction of Thunder Lake and Lion Lake Trails (4.8 miles one-way from trailhead)
Principal Destinations Near Thunder Lake
Bluebird Lake (6.2 miles one-way from trailhead) - via Thunder Lake and Bluebird Lake Trails
Lion Lake #1 (7.0 miles one-way from trailhead) - via Thunder Lake and Lion Lake Trails
Boulder-Grand Pass (8.0 miles one-way from trailhead) - via unmaintained route past Thunder Lake
Backcountry Campsites Near Thunder Lake
North Saint Vrain (3.5 miles one-way from trailhead) - 2 individual sites
Thunder Lake (6.8 miles one-way from trailhead) - 1 group site and 4 individual sites
The Wild Basin Trailhead is on the east side of the Continental Divide between Meeker Park and
Allenspark. Turn west on to Wild Basin Road from Colorado Highway 7, at a junction about 13 miles
south of Estes Park. Continue west to the Copeland Lake area, roughly one-half mile from Highway 7.
The Wild Basin trailhead is about 2 miles beyond Copeland Lake on a narrow gravel road. The trailhead
begins on the south end of the parking area at the Wild Basin Ranger Station. Access to this parking
area may be limited during seasons when snowfall is still present.

The Thunder Lake Trail leads past Copeland Falls, Calypso Cascades, and Ouzel Falls before reaching a
junction with a trail to Bluebird Lake. Continue toward Thunder Lake, crossing North Saint Vrain Creek, and
eventually reaching another junction. At this second major junction, with the trail to Lion Lake #1, take the
left-hand trail and continue toward Thunder Lake. Note that there is an unmaintained trail for backpackers
that connects on both ends to the Thunder Lake trail. This trail runs from west of Copeland Falls to near the
North Saint Vrain campsite area. The Thunder Lake Trail is more well graded than this alternate trail.
Sample photographs of the hike to Thunder Lake
Tanima Peak from Thunder Lake
Park Service patrol cabin at Thunder Lake
Thunder Lake
Pliot Mountain, Mount Alice, and Thunder Lake
Thunder Lake topographic map
Principal summer trail marked by solid red line; unmaintained trail or route marked by dashed red line.
Map is oriented with north to the top of the map
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All photographs are property of Mike Amfahr and are protected by copyright laws.
Topographic map is property of and copyrighted by Maps a la carte, Inc., and is used on this site with permission.