Devils Thumb Trail

Roosevelt National Forest, Colorado

Elevation Gain422ft
Trailhead Elevation9,629ft
Elevation Min/Max9444/9722ft
Elevation Start/End9629/9629ft

Devils Thumb Trail

Devils Thumb Trail is a hiking trail in Grand County and Boulder County, Colorado. It is within Indian Peaks Wilderness Area and Roosevelt National Forest. It is 7.4 miles long and begins at 9,629 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 2.6 miles with a total elevation gain of 422 feet. Near the end of the trail are information guideposts. This trail connects with the following: Lost Lake Trail, Diamond Lake Trail, King Lake Trail, Storm Gulch Off Trail Route, Woodland Lake Trail, High Lonesome Trail and Hessie Trail.

Devils Thumb Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Best Loop Hikes Colorado (The Mountaineers Books)
Steve Johnson & David Weinstein
"The Indian Peaks Wilderness Area northwest of Denver is one of the most popular in the state, and this loop is a big reason why. Hikers can look forward to two long, verdant valleys, a couple of outrageously beautiful mountain passes, a stretch along the Continental Divide Trail with all-over views, and three lakes strung out along the hike like pearls, each offering a number of great campsites. Add in some plump hillsides glowing with colorful wildflowers and this wilderness is a beauty indeed, but it is also heavily used due to proximity to swelling population centers along the Front Range. Camping requires permits, and a late start, especially on weekends, will guarantee some additional mileage just hiking to the trailhead from a distant parking place. So choose a beautiful weekday, get here early, and discover why this area is such a Colorado gem."
"The Devils Thumb rises from the east side of the Continental Divide above Devils Thumb Lake. Two glaciers carved the Devils Thumb column from the Continental Divide. Winds prevailing from the west carried ice-age snow to dump in the shelter on the east side of the Divide. After it accumulates approximately 250 feet thick, the ice began to flow, carrying away rock frozen in the ice. The rock remaining between these two glaciers is Devils Thumb. Had wind direction permitted another glacier to form on a third side of the column to cut a third wall, Devils Thumb would be what climbers call a horn."
"Devils Thumb Lake is named for a sharp rock spire that dominates the slope above the lake. The Hessie Trailhead is a quarter mile along a road/creek bed that sometimes carries water and always is paved by cobbles hard on even booted feet. The worst parts are bordered by a trail that lifts hikers above this hassle. High clearance vehicles can make it all the way to the Hessie Trailhead and less-than-abundant parking. A bridge carries hikers across North Fork Middle Boulder Creek. Rather ironic signs near the bridge prohibit vehicles from splashing across the creek and also prohibit parking at a spot blocking an obvious vehicle ford."

Devils Thumb Trail Trip Reports

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This is really a collection of trails that start at the Hessie trail in Eldora. I hiked here before going to King Lake and the Continental Divide last summer but a few days ago (2/8/19) I tried to go to Jasper Lake and, for the second time this week, couldn't quite make it to my destination because of deep snow. The Hessie trail starts as a road and because it is popular it was nicely packed with snow and easy to walk on with snowshoes to a meadow where you enter the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Beyond that snowshoes were needed and the trail got progressively hard to find but my GPS was helpful in knowing I was on the right track. There are several trails one can take but the trail to Jasper Lake is described as being anywhere between 9 and 10 miles (in and out) with ~2000 ft elevation gain. I had to stop short of the junction with the Diamond Lake trail (probably around 4 miles in) because of deep snow. My entire trip was about 4 hours in and out with a short lunch break. The views of the Continental Divide are great and I will have to return once the snow melts to make it to the lake.
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Beautiful hike, so lovely I managed to leave behind my blue hat (baseball cap style) and LG Mountain Hardware waist pack! Once I noticed it was gone, I looked for it but to no avail. I think it is somewhere near the top of Devil's Thumb. I'm offering a reward! Please message me with any info.
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began the hike from the Fraser side; very nice meadow early in the hike, but we turned around after 1 1/2 hours--the mosquitos got thicker the higher we went, and it began to feel like chinese torture! didn't make it to the top, sadly.
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Absolutely beautiful. There are excellent views virtually the whole way. There was still quite a bit of snow toward the top, though. The trail is well maintained and easy to follow.
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The dirt road leading to Rollin's pass is an adventure in itself, particularly if you are in a passenger car. My advice: Rent a Jeep!

Once you get to the parking area, you are already above the treeline. The trail is very well marked. The first .5 miles is probably the toughest part, zig-zagging up to the ridge. Take it slow, and it is not too difficult. Once you've made it to the top the remaining 4 miles are a wonderful walk through a tundra meadow. The views go on forever in every direction.

This trail was my first hike in Colorado, and it was well chosen. The trail was remarkably easy on the feet. The view from the lip of the ridge is daunting, but spectacular.

The place is alive with wild life. Little pikas scurry all through the bolder fields, calling to each other in little squeaking sounds. We dubbed them 'the rubber duckies of the rockies'. We also saw a yellow bellied marmet basking kingly on a rock at overlooking the valley.

This walk is completely above treeline and exposed to the elements. Do not go if there is threat of thunder and lighting.

It is well worth the horrendous drive up the dirt road to get there.
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The road to the trail head is reachable by passenger car although it is slow going. Be sure there is low likelihood of thunderstorms the day you go, as you are totally exposed along the entire length of the trail. Also about 0.8 mile after leaving the parking lot the trail splits in two. If you take the upper trail, faint departure from the first, you will find it easier to look over the edge to the east. You should do this several times to catch the close in dramatic drop offs. Do it above Bob Lake, at the point where the Devils Thumb Pass crosses the divide and at Devils Thumb Pass itself, farther on. You won't regret it!

Devils Thumb Trail Photos

Trail Information

Roosevelt National Forest
Nearby City
Indian Peaks Wilderness Area
USDA Forest Service, Sulphur Ranger District, PO Box 10, 9 Ten Mile Dr., Granby CO 80448; (970) 887-4100;
Local Contacts
Trails Illustrated Indian Peaks Gold Hill; USGS East Portal
Local Maps

Trail Log