Thunder Mountain Loop

A few people we’ve met while hiking in the Carson pass area have recommended the Thunder Mountain hike, so we decide to try the loop variation of it. This is a definitely a more developed area with campgrounds, roads, and the Kirkwood ski area, but we’re won over by the views and interesting cobblestone rock formations.

Caples Canyon

The pine cones (knobcones maybe?) must be tasty – we see a lot of cores around but only one with a few seeds left.


We see snow plants with huge fruits.

Snowplant with big seeds?

Big California red firs tower over us. They don’t drop many cones, but you can’t miss them when you see one. Eventually the trees open up enough for us to see the cobblestone cliffs towering above us.

California Red Fir Cone

Big trees and rock wall

Horsemint and arnica are a couple of flowers that make an appearance.



As we climb higher, one bit of trail is still snow covered.

Trail still under snow

And finally we’re treated to the strange formations and big views on the summit.

Big cobblestone formation

Lava and granite

Us on Thunder Mountain

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