Wild Basin/Thunder Lake

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Camping galore along this 13-mile hiking trail in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Written by

Courtney Johnson


13.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

44.4 miles


3 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

6 hours

1 day +


Spring, Summer, and Fall

Dog Friendly



Fees Permits


Land Website

Thunder Lake Trail



Backpacking the Wild Basin trail in Rocky Mountain National Park is a great option because of the multiple places you can camp along the way. The trail roundtrip is 13.2 miles in length with 2,318 feet of elevation gain total. While much of the route is through pines and thick forest, two highlights are Ouzel Falls between 2.5 to 3 miles in and Thunder Lake at the midway point.   

What Makes It Great

The trail up to Ouzel Falls is nearly flat, only climbing in small increments. Strong hikers will be able to move quickly as they head towards Thunder Lake. The views begin to open up around the basin below Thunder Lake and by the time you reach it, Mount Alice, Tanima Peak and Boulder Grand Pass will be visible in all their glory. 

Wild Basin is a less-traveled section of the park and is a great place to get away from the crowds. This is a very peaceful, scenic area. 

Who is Going to Love It

Backpackers looking to get away from the crowds but still soak in the backcountry bliss of RMNP will come to love Wild Basin. 

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

You will need to purchase a permit to stay overnight at any of the campgrounds. A few of the available campgrounds are Aspen Knoll at 2.3 miles in, North St. Vrain at 3.5 miles in and the Thunder Lake Campsite at 6.8 miles in.  Take note that most of these campgrounds only have one to two campsites available. Fires are not allowed in RMNP. Horses are allowed on the trails but dogs and bicycles are not. Bears and Moose are frequent visitors to the area, so take caution. Water must be boiled. Strong storms in the afternoon are common in the summer. The trailhead is accessible off Highway 7 between Estes Park and Allenspark. Campground reservations can be made by calling 1800-365-2267. 

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Wild Basin/Thunder Lake

Boulder, CO,
40.208541, -105.56632

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