ApproachFrom I-15, take exit 287 (Alpine/Cedar Hills/Highland) and turn onto UT-92 going east. Turn left/north on 5300 West (Alpine Highway), which eventually becomes Main Street. Turn right on Pioneer Road (600 North). You'll then merge with Grove Drive; turn left. Grove Drive makes a sharp, 90 degree turn to your right. Just before a tall chain link fence with large boulders in front, turn left onto Alpine Cove Drive. Then turn left onto Aspen Drive. This street ends at a rough dirt road with a gate, which is open 7am-10pm.
*** UPDATE ***
As of 11-15-08 one proceeds north on 5300 West, negotiates a round-a-bout, continues north on what is now "Main Street" and then follows the road as it gently turns east and becomes "Heritage Hills Drive." This street stops at an intersection with Grove Drive. One turns north there and then looks for the left on to Aspen Cove Drive, etc. This is much easier than looking for 600 North, etc. Note the gate appears to be closed almost always now.
No camping is allowed in this area past the gate, but there is plenty of parking. As homes continue to spring up, be courteous and park as far away from driveways as possible. If you have a 4WD vehicle, you can continue driving up the road and find precarious parking on the mountainside at the official trailhead but space is limited to one, at most two vehicles.
NOTE: Because of the rapid growth in this community, changes to the trailhead may have happened since I was there (Aug. 2002). If you encounter any changes, let me know and I will update the page.
Route DescriptionThere are no walk-ups on South Thunder, but this may be the easiest route. Still, it is about 11 miles roundtrip, with a vertical gain of just under 6,000 feet. Plan for a full day, considerable solitude, and spectacular scenery.
Assuming you have parked low, walk the dirt road east for a ways and it will make a 180 degree turn to the west. The road switchbacks several times climbing the hillside to a gate indicating private property. Here, a sign indicates the Lone Peak trail - a brutally steep old road that leads to the First Hamongog. This 1,000 foot trudge is easily the worst part of the hike, and slip-sliding down it at the end of a nearly 6,000 foot vertical day is not so pleasant.
The First Hamongog sits at about 7,100 feet and is a pleasant meadow. The trail continues left (another trail heads straight ahead) and climbs up for another mile towards the Second Hamongog (8,200 feet). More trees make this section easier as you'll finally have some shade. The views from the Second Hamongog to Lone Peak and Bighorn (Upper Bells Peak) are outstanding. If you're camping, I'd recommend camping here.
Continuing towards Lake Hardy, continue through the Hamongog and head right at a junction where the trail continues to climb steeply northeast towards Upper Bells Peak. You'll be rewarded for your work by constantly improving views in all directions. Cross over Upper Bells Peak's south ridge and be looking for a bland, granitic ridge that comes up before Lake Hardy...this is the route to South Thunder. It is obvious on a topo map, but if you're not looking for it, you may miss it. Lake Hardy (9,900') is slightly off-route, but makes another good camping option.
Start heading up the gentle granite slabs (very enjoyable) and soon South Thunder will finally come into view, as a massive triangular pile of talus. Lake Hardy will appear to your right, now probably several hundred feet below you. About 300 feet below the summit the basin levels out and you have a fantastic view of Lone Peak's east face. The final haul up the peak is class 2-3 depending on the direct line you take.
Essential GearBecause of the length and southern exposure, bring ample food, water and sun block. Snow does not linger as long on this route, and may be snowfree (or spotty) in June.
Miscellaneous InfoIf you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.
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