Thunder vs Highland-
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  1. #1
    The Riddler
    Reputation: Kaparzo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003

    Thunder vs Highland

    In Boston, one day available. Riding trail bike, interested in natural trails primarily. Advantage to Highland is proximity but willing to make thunder happen if it's worth it. Thx!

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    1. What Day? Thunder is closed Tuesday, Wednesday.

    2. Are you specifically looking for lift served trails? Only ask because of 'trail bike' and preference for natural trails---and there are a ton of topflight trail riding options closer to Boston than these two bike parks.

    3. Thunder Mountain's Natural trails are wonderful (though they all have some shovel made elements and professional polish). Wine Tree, Juggernaut, Schist, Harold's Blend/ Old Blend, Thunder Cliffs, and Trillium and Billy Badger fit the bill as woodsy, natural (ish----for a bike park) great trails. Lot's of miles of trail riding opportunities in greater Charlemont/ Hawley as well.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Highland is great, but I think it is a really challenging bike park. For the most part the lift access stuff is compact and steep. There are a few easy trails, but not a ton and they all seem like machine-groom flow trails that switch back quite a bit with big berms. Most if not all of their natural stuff is black diamond level, and I personally find it to be steep, technical, and very difficult. If you don't have a solid DH bike with big travel it could be a tough go, so I would rent a DH bike on site if you don't have one

    Highland also has an XC system now but I've never ridden it. I have never been to Thunder but I hear it is pretty great.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    I know this is an old thread but seems worth my 2 cents, Im coming from just south of Boston 2 hrs to Highland, add another for Thunder, If you like downhill both are great, and agreed with the above that Highland is challenging, but I could easily spend all day on Cats paw, fancy feast and have plenty of fun, and each time I ride there I feel like I come away with improved skills.
    Only been to Thunder once, if you are an intermediate rider and want to learn to jump,
    The Gronk will entertain you all day long and improve your jumping skills significantly.
    Most of the jumps have slightly less of an angle allowing to jump forward more than straight up and out like at highland, their jumps are just super intimidating for the guy learning to jump damn near vertical at take off. Cant wait for the season to open to get back to either of them, just so much fun. For the first timer to either, I would suggest riding the same trail a few times, at first they seem sketchy but you soon learn them and confidence grows quickly. As far as what bikes.. at both out group included a Hightower 27.5 2.8, and Enduro comp 29, a Trance 27.5, and 2 stumpy comp 29ers, all handled the park well for the riders ability and that included runs on happy hour, Hellion, and lower threshold (after the cliff drop).

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    I agree with SARASR Thunder is a pretty sweet place to go. Well set up, well groomed with a good mixture between technical, flowy, jump, and all out DH. I went twice at the end of last year and had a blast, the Gronk is a cool trail to ride for sure.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    I love them both, I think there is more stuff at Highland to keep pushing your skills on, Thunder can get to be a lot of the same over and over again. Id say go to Highland twice for every trip you take To Thunder and keep mixing it up and pushing your limits.

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