24 miles

Elevation Gain

7234 ft

Route Type



Added by Angela Dair

Considered one of the canyon’s most challenging and awe-inspiring paths, the loop is a must for people looking for hard-earned big rewards. Jaw-dropping vistas, tumbling waterfalls, towering rock walls, ancient fossils and the mighty Colorado create an incomparable backcountry experience.

You start at the “50 Switchbacks”, head to Tapeats Amphitheater, camp along the Colorado River and then head back up and visit Deer Creek Falls and have the most spectacular sunset on your last night before the last push back up to the rim! 

Water Sources
Thunder River, Tapeats Creek, Deer Creek, and the Colorado River are permanent resources.

At-large camping is permitted in the Esplanade (AY9) and Surprise Valley (AM9) Use Areas. Designated campsites sites are at Tapeats Creek (AW7) and Deer Creek (AX7) Use Areas. The designated campsites at Deer Creek accommodates two groups and Upper Tapeats accommodates three groups; both have toilets. The designated site at Lower Tapeats (AW8) accommodates two groups and does not have a toilet.

Additional Resources
National Park Service Thunder River PDF

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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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