Thunderbolt Mountain

Trail Details

9.1 Round Trip

Elevation Gain

Difficulty Level

Trailhead Coordinates
46.299925, -112.426270
* Google maps does not give accurate directions – do not rely on them! Reference these coordinates while looking at a road map.

Trail Description

NOTE: Parts of this trail are not well defined. Bring a GPS and compass with you. This access trail does not appear to be regularly used.

Thunderbolt Mountain in Helena National Forest is a unique hike compared to the other trails listed on our map. Helena National Forest trails are less rocky seeming and green. Drive to the coordinates provided above. Once at the coordinates, heading towards the road where you will face right. Cross a cattle guard and follow an old dirt road to the left directly after the guard. From here you follow the old road through fairly open forest. There aren’t too many views along the way, but it is a peaceful hike. When you get to these coordinates ( 46.319810, -112.443924 ) you peel off left from the old road to a lightly treaded trail. There are a few cairns to follow, but be careful during this first 1/4 mile from the road as we managed to get off trail heading up. (It veers left after an open grass field). From here the trail is still light and not well defined, but is fairly easy to follow. After a few miles you hit an intersection where you join the Continental Divide Trail. This intersection has a sign telling you which direction to Thunderbolt. Follow the trail and this will take you to the summit. The summit is pretty neat because you can see patched areas of logged forest quite distinctly. The surrounding mountains are not the rocky mountain views that Montana is known for, but have unique green mountain views. There are remnants of an old lookout at the top which includes a lot of glass, so be careful if you bring your pups!