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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.

The wildflowers were stunning, especially between West Maroon Pass and Frigid Air Pass. Beautiful views everywhere you look. It’s a popular trail, but not nearly as crowded as I was led to believe. There are plenty of great campsites.

backpacking
13 days ago

Did the loop ccw, camped in refrigerator gulch first night and hiked out the next day. Most of the raging streams in the past were dwindled down to a trickle if nothing flowing at all. Many bridge crossings were done walking over the dry creek bed. Still plenty of options to refill on water just not as many in previous years.

Saw pronghorn, and a couple moose.

Incredible 3day/2night solo trip July 4-6. Not crowded at all. Wildflowers were amazing throughout nearly the whole trail. Did it clockwise based on others reviews- think counterclockwise would be easier. It is rigorous. Passed several groups the first day who were turning back after their first day. Many were from sea level. Acclimatization is key carrying a pack through the whole 7500ft + elevation gain.

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.

Amazing. Hike of a lifetime. Hiked in with full gear, spent three full days and nights hiking and camping. beautiful, God's country. elevation will kick your butt if you're not acclimated.

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!

Did this for a second time June 23rd 2018. Awesome views. We did it counter clockwise (best way hands down). Had a little snow over final pass on last day. There was also frost 20 yards from our campsite.

From the parking lot at maroon bells to buckskin Pass is a great day hike. Very hard but well worth the effort. Get going early because you can’t drive up the road after 8 AM and you actually want to get there by 7 AM to beat the traffic

Most beautiful place I’ve hiked!

backpacking
27 days ago

3 of us completed the loop clockwise in 2 ½ days. We started at the Goose Creek trailhead. Day 1 was all uphill and we had to put in about 2 hours of night hiking to reach a campsite with good water. We didn’t start until 3PM though. Day 2 was a mix of both up and down hill but mostly downhill. The views were absolutely stunning. We camped day 2 in Reservoir Gulch. Excellent camp site and good water. Day 3 was the last 4-5 miles out. We were back at the trailhead where we put in well before noon. Easy day 3 hike. We read a lot of posts from others on this trail beforehand. I definitely recommend going clockwise. The first 7-9 miles will be very challenging but the rest of the hike is much easier and the views are incredible. If we did this again I’d start early morning, but that’s it. Have fun!

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.

This trail was probably too ambitious for our group of 3 casual backpackers ages 20, 27, and 57. ( The 20 year old had the toughest time due to altitude).

The scenery is fabulous. There are wonderful campsites. We saw a moose. The trail conditions are real sketchy in a lot of places. Be prepared to do some bouldering. The whole loop should take you more than 3 days if you are not an expert. We went CL and took a short cut through Lost Creek Trail back to Wigwam Creek Trail.

I do not recommend the southern 2 miles of Lost Creek Trail. We made it without incident, but it's treacherous in spots. We needed our rope, and guidance from other hikers who knew the route. We were scared of being stuck with no safe way out, but we did fine and had a nice trek.

We had fun. If I did this trip again, I would plan 4 to 5 days for the whole loop, or make it a shorter out and back route. I you are up for a big challenge at high altitude, go for it!

We are two first time backpackers from Wisconsin. We planned to do the hike in four days but completed it in 3 days. Definitely one of the most beautiful hikes we have ever done! There are lots of water options, the false summit had an extra hump that surprised us, and there was a small section that still had snow which was challenging but do able (near snowmass lake). We would definitely recommend this hike!

This is a jaw-droppingly beautiful route, couldn't stop smiling. Definitely make the trek out to Island Lakes! Deep in this 23-mile tour de force of breathtaking views, it's a gem among jewels.

Great hike! very challenging for our group of scouts, being from Arkansas! But completed the hike in 3 days. The beauty is stunning definitely a bucket list hike.

Did this trail starting from Skinny fish trailhead walked the lost lakes and crossed the causeway finishing at Trappers Lake. Beautiful walk, took us two and a half days to complete, bug spray is a must! The trails are very easy to navigate if your experienced, we bought a map from Wyatt’s sporting goods that I just stuck in my back pocket. There are moose wandering around, we saw an adolescent bedding down for a storm early in our journey. So do be wary. Overall I loved this hike.

backpacking
1 month ago

Hiked this trail clockwise and thought the best views were at the end; although It had a longer, steeper hike to reach these views. Also, was nice to have the six easy miles at the end. A lot of people were hiking in the opposite direction.

Ended up being closer to 29-30 miles for us. We didn’t see any wildlife. Water was a little harder to find, so we made sure to fill up when we came across water. We did this hike in two long days. Was amazing. Would totally recommend.

Beautiful hike up to wall lake

I took this loop CW starting at the Lost Park TH, took me a day and a half to finish. I camped about 2 miles outside refrigerator gulch (12 miles from TH) on goose creek trail in a lovely little aspen grove. CW direction definitely saves the best for last in my opinion, but comes with steep elevation gain coming from refrigerator gulch that you have to be prepared for (think 3000 feet over about 4 miles). However, the payoff at the saddle is so rewarding, and the last 6 miles are easy meandering downhill. Beautiful aspen groves, lovely ponds, and some amazing rock formations. Looked decent if you like fly fishing as well, I saw some nice sized brookies before my dog jumped in and scared them away. Overall a beautiful hike, I plan on returning in the fall when the aspens are changing.

A few trail notes:

Black flies and mosquitos were bad at lower elevation, so bring a net and/or some spray.

Refrigerator Gulch has a lot of side trails that lead to campsites, I recommend using a trail guide here because I got lost for about 30 minutes trying to find the real trail.

I never had an issue finding water but about 6 miles of Brookside McCurdy (ascending and descending the summit to the Ute Creek intersection) were dry. Keep an eye on your water supplies and refill as often as possible.

I didn’t see any large wildlife at all, but that could be because I have a pretty barky dog. I spoke to a couple who swears they saw a mountain lion about 20 ft from their campsite on McCurdy trail. Moose are also prevalent here. Just be smart, know your wildlife, and hang your food at night!

Started at Lost Park TH and hiked the loop clockwise. Passed about 20 people over the 2 days I spent hiking, which was more than I expected, being a Tuesday/Wednesday. The refrigerator section was gorgeous! Plenty of water for refilling. No snow on the trail, just some patches next to the trail here and there. I recorded and uploaded the I’ll loop, but didn’t pause it for many of my breaks, so the timing is off. The full loop is almost 29 miles, which doesn’t seem like much until you get to mile 27 and realize you have 2 more to go. All in all it was a beautiful hike!

Absolutely breathtaking

backpacking
1 month ago

Started at Wigwam 609 and went clockwise. Didn't do the entire loop but made it about 22 miles in and out. No snow, not a terrible amount of traffic either. We did see a young bull moose that did become aggressive and charged our camp. Thankfully our dog was pretty loud and it seemed to deter the moose. Friendly reminder to always be prepared in the back country! If you do happen to see a moose, be prepared! A number of people over the weekend saw moose. No other reports of aggression.

backpacking
1 month ago

We started the trail at the goose Creek entrance and initially planned on taking the trail counter clockwise but a missed turned had us take in clockwise which inevitably we were really glad we did. Taking the trail clockwise guarantees better and better views each day, which we spent three completing the trail.
The first day we went in 10 miles and the trail remained flat for the first 6 and then had rolling hills an and elevation gain at the end. You spend the second day making your way into refrigerator gulch and then proceed to go up and down, hitting a low point of the valley each time. The last 3 miles are spent doing rigorous uphill and steeply gaining elevation. By the third day we had 11 miles to exit the trail, 5 of which were rolling and then slight bits of elevation gain towards summiting and then lots of downhill and flat.
The difficultly of this trail lies in the fact that most of the elevation you gain is gained over short distances, meaning you'll increase 600-1000ft in elevation over a mile, making those small parts especially hard, but for the most part the trail is rolling or flatter, especially entering and exiting.
10/10 would recommend as every campsite we stayed at was beautiful and finally sumiting the 3rd day provided insane views.

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

Started the loop at Goose Creek TH and hiked CCW in 2 days. No snow at all. We camped somewhere along the McCurdy Trail - campsites near water were totally overrun but plenty of dry camping. No water from Brookside-McCurdy/Ute Creek junction all the way to ~1 mile down Hawkins Pass Trail (assuming you head east on Lake Park toward Tarryall Peak).

This hike is a departure from most of the views I've encountered while backpacking in Colorado. We even saw a bull yearling moose! Would have done it over 2 nights if we had more time because there are so many excellent campsites.

2 months ago

Not sure how to rate this trail because of the different segments. We did it 5/12-13/2018. Very minimal snow on trail. It is a difficult loop. If the elevation changes were better detailed, one would be better mentally prepared for the trip. Incredible scenery is all over this hike. Great and reliable water supply is available through almost all of the trip. This would be a great three day loop, especially if you are going clockwise on this loop.

We tried to enter the loop at the Lost Park trailhead; however, the gate at the Long Gulch trailhead (9 miles away) was closed. Instead of walking 9 miles down the road, we chose to enter at Ute Creek trailhead off of Tarryall Road. This makes the loop 9 miles longer. 4 1/2 miles up to Brookside-McCurdy. We did the loop counterclockwise and are thankful we did. From the Ute Creek trailhead, this hike is a steep and long climb to the Bison Peak saddle. We had two days to do the loop, so we were pushing to try and get to water along the Goose Greek Trail. We did not make it to water and had a dry camp. We barely made it to the intersection of Goose Creek and McCurdy Park Trail. (18+ miles). The map on AllTrails shows the total elevation loss, but not all of the up and down on the trail., especially on the McCurdy Park trail. (AMAZING ROCK FORMATIONS ALONG THIS PORTION OF THE TRAIL). You will work getting to Goose Creek intersection. If you were doing this loop in a clockwise direction, the Mc Curry Park trail will be incredibly difficult. It has significant climb.

The second day, although longer (21+) was much easier hiking. The meadows were beautiful. We were hoping to see more wildlife than we did, but the scenery was great. Lots of water and great campsites along the Wigwam trail. Hard to believe there are such large open spaces in the Rockies like this meadow (8 miles long). Turning south and heading back up the Brookside-McCurdy Trail was a nice gradual climb to the intersection with the Ute Creek trail. The long, steep downhill was really tough on the legs at the end is such a long day.

Scenically, this loop is worthy of five stars. I don’t think I will do this loop again, but only because there are too many other places to backpack.

This trail was an experience!! Our group backpacked through here for 3 days and loved it. It was the most challenging trail I've done personally but was easily the most rewarding. After each trial you seem to be rewarded with dream-like views. Highly recommended!

Awesome views and fishing

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