Explore camp - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

camp Map

This trail is our favorite of all time - so dynamic. From lakes to a smooth ascent over the Divide to the High Lonesome trail and the incredible reward of King Lake, it truly is awe inspiring. We wandered around a bit and ended up closer to 20.0 miles but still completed before sundown. Be sure to bring lots of water and fuel as high lonesome trail is exposed and a long stretch of the hike.

Went yesterday & today. I camped at Lost Lake last night. About 2 miles in from where you park. Woke up this morning to about 22 degrees. And it had rained just a bit last night. Ran into a bunch of people on the trail as I was heading to set up camp who saw moose.

So I went clockwise. This was the right choice for me as the climb is more gradual (and I just got off a plane from Florida yesterday :)

Was gonna camp one more night (tonight) at Jasper Lake but....it was gonna be 20. And was only 5.3 miles to the car at that point. So I humped all 15 today w my 25lb pack.

And - I’m sitting at the noodle restaurant now haha. Yes, delicious.

If you are planning to complete the loop in a day , I would recommend start early. If you are not acclimated to the high altitude then it is a lot harder then it seems. Take plenty of breaks and drink a lot of water.

Such a nice, smooth trail up, over and along the Divide. Always love this one!

We only hiked about 4.5 miles of this trail since we got on the road a little later than expected. Still a beautiful hike, is mostly a steep incline for the first couple miles so I would recommend being prepared for that. There’s a really pretty waterfall around mile 2(ish) off to the side. Would definitely like to go back and go backpacking!

4 months ago

Couple of practical points. Access TH by parking car In Tiehack Express Gondola on RIGHT hand side of road. From there walk 200m up the road. The start on right of road has none of usual markings other than the words GOVT TR on a post forming end of a wooden fence. Easy to miss. The trail opens out onto a meadow. There are no trail markings here at all. When you come out on meadow keep left until get to back of a blue sign (EAGLE HILL).Keep right here up unmarked trail not on d
vehicle track. Same at the end of this very short section, keep right on unmarked trail. From then on trail is self evident.
Great walk not too strenuous with some great views. Don let the sign at the start of the back country put you off. red notice with deaths head skull warning of danger to life. It may be a possibility but not a certainty as the sign implies.
Main danger is from wildlife (on two wheels). Why do these bikers always give the impression they are on mission either to set a PB or qualify for the olympics. Nothing must stand in their way so stand aside. None of the normal courtesies apply like, let's make passing each other a joint enterprise.
don't let that spoil what is overall a great hike at least for the first 3 hours before I headed back.

Great trail with scenic views! We hiked counterclockwise and camped one night at Devils Thumb Lake. You have to have a permit durning the summer months up until Sept 15th. We camped on 9/7 and the temperature at night got down to around 30 - 31 degrees so make sure you have the correct gear even in early September. The first part of the trail going counter clockwise with a 35lb - 40lb pack can be difficult on some of the climbs in elevation, take breaks and drink plenty of water and you’ll be fine. There are plenty of water opportunities on the trail, so accessing water isn’t an issue for the most part. The ascend up from Devils Thumb Lake to the High Lonesome Trail has some great views you climb about 1,000 feet over approx a 1/2 - 3/4 mile. The rest of the trail after you come down off the High Lonesome Trail by King Lake you’ll be going down in elevation the remainder of the time. The overall trail is marked “ok” but recommend having a map or gps as back up, I would not rely on the trail markers only when hiking this trail. Great 15 + mile trail with beautiful views......go get some!!

I love love love this trail! 15+ miles of breathtaking views, minimal traffic (at least early on a weekday and compared to 14ers) and many runnable trails (except rocky bottom and steep top). I will definitely be back!

Great hike overall! The views were killer and the hike was moderate during most parts, but some parts were strenuous specifically when coming up over the top of the pass. We hiked counter clockwise so the last 7 or so miles was downhill. If you do camp anywhere along this trail a permit is required and a bear canister is definitely recommended.

The hike was challenging at points but nothing a person acclimated to elevation couldn't handle with breaks. Easy one night loop the way we went. The Thai restaurant in Nederlands is a stop everyone should take for the lunch deal

Such an amazing hike! My friend and I arrived late on a Sunday, at 10am, and the parking was already full. We parked next to the road closer to town and walked up to the trailhead. That walk-in/out plus the hike took us the entire day - until 8pm - and we enjoyed every minute of it. The first section had us walking through a stream of water which had taken over the road, but once we got through that the trail was dry and easy to follow. Brilliant views the whole way, beautiful terrains which changed every few hours, lots of lakes and picturesque mountains.

Went out on a limb and tried this loop based on the previous review of the man and his son. Everything he said was spot on! Recommend the loop in the CW fashion, saw a family of moose by Jasper lake, and the trails & junctions were well kept and easy to navigate.
when you get to the junction off the main road where you see a couple porta's and the offshoot to the trailhead, know that if you do have an offroad type vehicle, you can continue driving and there is additional parking at the actual trailhead. About 18 inches of water you need to drive through to get to the parking.

My girlfriend and I hike to Jasper's lake 5/25-5/27. We intended to do the whole loop but there was to much snow. Snow made it a little miserable but also fun. At some point there wasn't a trail just branching paths of foot prints. We got lost two or three times but nothing a little back tracking couldn't solve in a few minutes.

The hike to Jasper's was gorgeous. Will probably hike the whole loop at some point but when it's warmer for sure.

This was a beautiful hike. My wife and I did it in about a day and a half. We hiked it counter-clockwise, starting from Hessie. We left our car at 12:30, and camped at Devils Thumb lake that night, arriving around 6:30. The next morning we were on the trail at 6:30,and back to the car at 2:30.

As some others have said, I felt that the north half was the prettiest, but the whole thing is great. Also, aside from right near Kings Lake, and the first mile of the trail, we didn't see too many people.

I would definitely do it again. And splitting it up the way we did was nice, because we didn't have to do the whole climb up to the continental divide in one day.

5 months ago

This is a fantastic trail. The description on the website is incomplete though - the trail goes past Rainbow Lake, past lower and upper slide lakes (6 and 7 miles), and on to Roxy Ann Lake (10 miles). There are several moderately steep segments, especially at the end as you drop down to Roxy Ann lake. Elk Hunters favor Roxy Ann in the fall and will go in on horseback and stay a couple of weeks. Early September is perfect with no bugs, not many people, and hungry fish. Next time I'd like to detour and go to the top of Mt. Ethel - looks like a nice gradual incline to the top.

Beautiful views: mountain-backed lakes, harsh ridge lines, and wildflowers. Well-marked trail.

We hiked clockwise, three days, two nights -camped at Bettie Lake and Devil’s Thumb Lake, felt alone at both. Jasper Lake looked like a popular camping spot, and there was a site by the stream right before the off-shoot to Bob and Bettie Lakes if you don’t want to leave the loop. We were skinny-dipping at Devil’s Thumb and realized there was a lone fisherman across the lake getting a great show, haha, but otherwise, camping was very peaceful.

I was thankful for layers because it was really hot during the day, but surprisingly cold as soon as the sun dipped. We made Nalgene hot water bottles to supplement our 20* sleeping bags.

We hiked mid-week (Aug 8-10) and saw more hikers and trail-runners than backpackers. Some people struggling, but then also an older couple of women crushing it, and a Dad with two young kids. I’m a beginner with a heavy pack and ended each day smiling.

Brought my 35lb pup - she wore off her front pads chasing marmot in the rocks... which wouldn’t have been a problem if I had kept her on leash. She loved it. Didn’t see many (any?) dogs out towards the peak, but lots at the trailhead. Leash definitely required for the first bit.

Elevation is no joke, but plenty of places to refill water, so keep drinking!!

Side note: we stopped in Ned on the way home and ate at the Thai restaurant - killer $10 lunch deal!

Arrived at 5:15 am on Saturday and there were a lot of cars parked on the side of the road but still plenty of space. People can't seem to agree on which way to go- I decided to go counterclockwise and I'm very glad I did.

I have been up to Jasper Lake a couple of times but this is the first time I tried the loop. In my opinion the north side of the loop is more scenic. It's best to do it in the morning when the lighting is better and you still have energy. Also I like steep inclines more than steep declines as they're more exciting and less stressful on the knees. Saw a bull moose about halfway up to Jasper Lake. That was pretty terrifying as he was only 25 yards or so off of the trail hidden behind some trees. I snapped a quick picture and got out of there.

The trail is pretty easy. The distance is the hard part. I was feeling pretty haggard on the last 3-4 miles. Got back to the parking lot a little before 3PM. I probably could of finished at 2 if I hadn't of taken so many pictures.

Overall an awesome hike! My favorite one so far

5 months ago

Awesome Hike. Rainbow lake is beautiful and suggest you bring a lunch to hang out up there for a while. One of my favorite mountain lakes. Starts off tough, but overall not too grueling of a hike. Highly recommend.

I love running this trail. I prefer to do it clockwise. I did it Sat July 21st and started at 6AM. Once I passed the split I didn’t see another person until after the pass - it was a beautiful and peaceful 7 miles until I hit all the people coming up the other way.

Very popular trails with good reason. Plan to get there early or take the shuttle. I went twice this weekend and there are a surprising number of cars there by 6:30am. Lots of overnighters.
I ran the trail in each direction and would recommend going counterclockwise. Devils Thumb Pass is the high point, so the run along the ridge is more favorable if you tackle that first. The climb to the pass is steep, but makes a better climb than descent.
Beautiful flowers and birds are all around and the views and lakes are well worth the effort.

Many of these reviews suggest going a clockwise route and I would whole-heartedly agree. Look up King Lake Trail to Devil's Thumb Trail Loop reviews to read why.

I discovered this loop while reading about the Devil's Thumb to King Lake route and would agree with many of those reviews that the clockwise route is a MUCH easier option. I did this route with my 10-year-old and we spent one night at King Lake and the next night at Jasper Lake. If the weather is poor, camping below King Lake would provide more wind shelter but we found an excellent spot (a large balanced rock on the north side of the lake marks a couple good locations) to set up a tent. A lot of people seem to camp at Devil's thumb since they go the counter-clockwise loop and they bypass Jasper Lake. On a beautiful clear July day, we were the ONLY ones camping there. There are some amazing spots here on the central western side of the lake.

Overall, the clockwise ascent is steady which makes it much easier than the up-down steeps on the counter-clockwise route. Going from Devil's Thumb counter-clockwise to the continental divide would have been a real challenge with a pack so my son and I were both thankful we did the route clockwise. All trails were easily marked (although even the Forest Service folks who sold us the backcountry pass told us we were doing it backwards and we would get lost :) This is definitely the route I would recommend to family and friends.

6 months ago

Moderate trail for the first 2 miles, fairly easy for the last 2 miles (to the far side of the lake). Some good views and picture opportunities. Good fishing. The down side to this lake is there are a ton of mosquitos. Double up on your clothing and/or bring lots of repellent.

Clean up after yourself, including dog poop bags. Pack it in, pack it out. Put out fires and DON’T have a fire when there are bans! Beautiful but challenging.

Pro: Not much snow.
Con: It all turned to mud and high creeks.

So I'm thinking maybe there's a week in August where there's no snow, and no mud, or high water, before it starts snowing again, but I digress. This is a beautiful and amazing route, with gradual inclines until you get near High Lonesome, at which point it gets a tad steep. Once you're up top, there's a shoe-sized narrow single track trail through the tundra, and it's hard to believe they have a guy up there mowing the lawn but it looks like a giant putting green. I saw two marmots and a dude who was hiking the CT from Mexico and smelled like a garbage can. Okay but here's your warning. There's some exposure and snow over some rocks once you get to the beginning of the Devil's Thumb trail (don't try to sled down it you fool!). I used my hands to arrest any potential fall but it was a bit steep and scary. At the rocks just scramble down and you'll see the trail again, it's kind of hidden. After that there's a lot of loose rock/tripping roots for the rest of the way, with several stream crossings. Unless you mastered the long jump, prepare to get your feet soaking wet. There's no way around it. Then there are a few sections where there is friction-less mud, so watch your footing. Also there are spots where plants have overgrown the trail and disguise hazards, but that's their way of playing a trick on you! Anyway, it took me around 4 hours with stops etc because I took a bunch of pictures. I'd post them but it would spoil the beauty for you, so take your own pictures. Also the wildflowers are awesome right now.

7.1.2018 - Two day backpacking trip on the Devil's Thumb trail with a detour to Bob and Betty Lakes. Virtually no snow encountered but the winds were strong above treeline. Bonus: Fabulous flowers everywhere!

trail running
6 months ago

Flowers are beautiful right now. Great trail, has it all, technical single track, steep grades, shade, sun, perfect training trail.

Splendid hike! Went beyond Rainbow Lake hoping to see Slide Lake, but didn't quite make it before the afternoon rain clouds came in and made us want to turn back. At our terminus 6.5 miles in were three waterfalls on the mountain face to the south. 13 miles in all with our add on. Good elevation gain makes this trail rate as difficult but it is easy to follow to the lake with only a couple of snowfields that were small this time of year. Trail is much more difficult after the lake with several stream crossings and many downed trees. Amazing wildflowers. Will do this hike again.

June 23, 2018 Trip Report: Absolute beautiful weather for this hike. No storms, just amazing blue sky and warmish temps for an all day hike. I did the loop, King Lake first (clockwise) and then over the High Lonesome Trail down to Devil’s Thumb. Trail to King Lake is easy to moderate in my opinion. No snow left on the ground until right around 3 miles in from the King Lake trail split off (or 4 miles from trailhead), and then only small patches here and there. The snow was of no consequence once I did encounter it, so no trouble getting to King Lake. There was a bit of snow on the trail that leads you up to High Lonesome Trail junction, but again, not enough to keep you from getting where you want to go. Once up on the Continental Divide, it was extremely windy, but nonetheless, offered spectacular views and good easy trail conditions. If weather permits, take your time on this section and really soak up how awesome the landscape and views are, and count your blessings you get to experience such things. There was another patch of snow right before you begin your decent down the Devil’s Thumb trail to the lake. This patch is a bit tricky and requires the utmost of caution. The patch is only about 6 or 7 feet wide, so you are not on it long before hitting dry boulders to walk on. The trial down to the lake is steep, rocky and narrow. Poles would be nice if you have bad knees, or want to protect your knees! The only area of trouble I got in following the trail was between Devil’s Thumb lake and Jasper Lake. There was a large patch of snow on the trail amount some trees and I got off to the right following foot prints only to realize about a 1/4 mile in, that I had gone the wrong way. My instincts told me Jasper was to my left, but instead of bushwhacking it through forest, I turned around and back tracked to where I lost the actual trail. This little detour cost me an extra mile of hiking. Once at Jasper Lake, the trail down is easy to find and follow. Overall, I would say this entire loop hike is strenuous. I can see now that going counter-clockwise is the much harder way. Side Note: I called the Forest Service the day before for tail conditions, and they advised me to wait 2 more weeks before doing the loop. However once at King Lake, I saw so many people coming over from the Devil’s Thumb route, that I asked several people what the trail was like. Armed with their trail repots, I went for it. And was glad I did.
I logged a total of 19 miles for the day's hike.

So my husband and I are from Georgia and planned to hike clockwise. We were pretty unprepared At least for how the trail actually was when we went on 5/28. There easily was 3 ft of snow that we hiked 3 miles through lost out of our minds because the trail is not well labeled. We also did not realize how storms go in the mountains, so when the thunder, lightning, rain and hail started we were a little worried but thought we could tough it out-don’t do it if you’re not prepped with freeze gear and can handle falling through snow every step

Absolutely amazing scenery. Lake Charles is an amazing alpine lake surrounded by some pretty staggering peaks. The lake was pretty much frozen over, except at the shoreline. Breathtaking (and that's not just the cold).


There was comprehensive coverage of knee deep snow on the ground, starting about two miles below Lake Charles. This made an already hard-to-find trail nearly impossible to follow. So we were pretty much postholing for those two miles (and it took us about three hours each way). If you've got snowshoes, bring em (at least until things warm up). And bring your GPS. That was key.

Load More