Thunder River Backpack
Autumn is an ideal time to hike trails that cannot be accessed in the winter or are too hot to endure in summer. A day trip to the Esplanade and back or a three day backpack to Thunder River and down Tapeats Creek to the Colorado River are perfect for the cool days of November. If you enjoy scenic drives to remote places, be sure to visit Crazy Jug and Monument Point. These little known view points in the Kaibab Forest that offer spectacular views of the Grand Canyon.
Photo Album: Thunder
Monument Point and Trailhead
Day 1 – Bill Hall Trailhead:
Monument Point to the Esplanade
Camping on the Esplanade - Choose a previously used campsite and try not to disturb the ground and avoid all cryptobiotic soil. Campfires are not permitted.
Day Two - Thunder Spring
Thunder River & Tapeats Creek -
Continue a half-mile past the spring, contouring above Thunder River. The river will eventually flow into Tapeats Creek. From the junction of Tapeats Creek and Thunder River it is 2.5 miles to the Colorado River and the Tapeats Rapid. If you are lucky you may spot a river trip as it runs this exciting section of the river. You have now hiked half of the 25 mile round-trip this adventure entails and you have dropped 5250 feet since the start of the hike at the Bill Hall Trailhead. Allow plenty of time to head back to the spring and fill containers and to hike the 3 miles from Thunder Spring (2100 feet ascent) back to camp on the Esplanade.
Option - Continue past Thunder Spring and down Thunder River which flows into Tapeats Creek. It is a 2.5 mile hike to the head waters of Tapeats creek which are found in a cave. From the junction of Tapeats Creek and Thunder River its 2.5 miles downstream to the Colorado River. It's a 25 mile round trip hike (5250' elevation change) from the Bill Hall Trailhead to the Tapeats Creek rapids.
Option - Camp at Surprise Valley for shorter day hikes, but a longer backpack out on the final day.
Option - Stay another day and hike to Deer Springs, Deer Creek and the Colorado River or stay on more level ground and explore around the Esplanade.
GPS Coordinates WGS84 Datum
Monument Point Trailhead
Bill Hall Trail Begins Descent
Descent from Esplanade into Surprise Valley Begins
Thunder River Spring
Grand Canyon North Rim, Arizona
History of the Thunderbird
Stay in the heart of the parks, Mount Carmel Junction, and visit the treasures of the Southwest and Utah.
North Rim Grand Canyon Information