Choosing between riding Thunder Mountain and hiking Bryce Canyon
Never been to Bryce. Everyone talks about hiking the Fairyland Loop. They also say that there are hoodoos at Thunder Mountain. I love biking and like hiking. Would you say that the views at Thunder Mountain are almost as good as those at Fairyland Loop, and I can skip Bryce. Or is Bryce not to be missed?
If you don't mind starting early you could certainly do both in a day. Thunder Mountain is fantastic riding and scenery but not all that strenuous or time consuming. I'd hit that first thing in the morning, have some lunch, then head over to Bryce for hiking. Even if you're gassed after the ride, Bryce has some great views up along the viewpoints on the rim, especially at sunrise or sunset. If this may do your only chance to get to the area I would make a point to get your money's worth and do both.
Originally Posted by moshemark
Sipping the Knolly Whisquillappa
I also say do both.
But Bryce can be a zoo of people. That said, I have had some of my best camping in the snow around this time of the year in Bryce.
And besides Thunder Mountain, ride across the way at Red Canyon. The trails are so surreal.
If you only do one, I'd do the hiking. I don't like hiking but the views at Bryce blew me away. As far as riding Thunder Mtn, I was expecting other-worldly riding after watching posts on here and youtube videos but I just thought it was so-so. Maybe my expectations were too high? My favorite trail down that way was Dark Hollow off the top of Brian Head Peak....
it's been said to ride Thunder, then hike Bryce later that day. i'd say give some thought to hiking out to an area in Sunrise Point, when it's still dark,not the nearest place from your car so you can belly up to the fence. after the light in the canyon loses it's eyepopping drama, mosey on out & go ride. if you do the ride first, just make sure you're @ Bryce for the sunset. first or last rays really gives the best of Bryce. either way, doing both in the same day is the way to go if you don't have more than a day, IMO anyway.
If you can only do one, I'd do Bryce. It can get crowded, and walking isn't as fun as riding. But the scenery there when you get up in and among the hoodoos really is incredible, like nothing I've seen before. It'll stick with you.
'11 Specialized Enduro Expert for the trails
'13 Felt Z4 for the road
I dunno, it's hard to imagine being in the area and not riding Thunder. I would never call it so-so. I've ridden over 300 distinct trails and trail networks including all the biggies in Moab, St George, Fruita, Sedona, Downieville, all over Colorado, New Mexico, Montana,and many other gorgeous locales--and Thunder is definitely in my top 5 for scenery if not #1. The ride also has great variety with cool climbs, pine forest, and then the otherworldly, natures creamsicle-colored descent. So in addition to the scenery, what's under your knobbies is also a lot of fun.
Are you traveling with someone who's willing to shuttle? You could catch a ride, skipping the bike path and dirt road part of the climbs. In that case, you should save enough time to be able to do both comfortably!
All other things are rarely equal . . .
Another vote for doing both. The vistas at Bryce can't be missed, but you can see a lot and get a good feel for Bryce even from the car and viewpoints.
Thunder Mountain isn't technically tough, but I thought it was a lot of fun and had beautiful scenery. That said, the views and hoodoo's at Thunder Mountain are cool but not a substitute for those at Bryce which are another magnitude larger.
My wife and I did the ride in the morning and saw Bryce from the car afterwards. If you start early enough, and don't have anywhere to be later that night, you will have time for both, including a hike.
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