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Devil's Thumb Lake Trail is a 12.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Nederland, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length 12.1 mi Elevation gain 2,467 ft Route type Out & Back

Dog friendly

Backpacking

Camping

Hiking

Forest

Lake

River

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Muddy

Rocky

Snow

Description
Waypoints (9)
Facilities
Tips
Getting There

The hike to Devil's Thumb Lake is a wonderful hike for those who are able to make the journey. Although there are other, much shorter routes to the pass, none offer the scenery that you will encounter on this particular route. It is rated as moderate due to the length of the hike and the fact that you will ascend approx. 2400 feet (add another 800ft if you choose to climb to the top of the pass). This is a full day hike as you will definitely want to take your time so you don't miss any of the wonderful sights this trail has to offer.

Limited parking

As this is a rather long hike, pack plenty of water and something to eat as a snack. Hiking in late July or early August will provide a wonderful view of many wild flowers. From Nederland, take CR-130 to Eldora. Continue on Hessie road which will take you to the parking area just before the trailhead.

Windy roads. Single lane dirt road towards the end.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (56)
Photos (1178)
Recordings (22)
Completed (454)
Rebecca Lewis
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Hiking

Best hike we’ve done all summer

View Rebecca's Recording
Laurann Barnes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 21, 2020
HikingRocky

We went on a Saturday and had to take a shuttle to Hessie trail head from Nederland high school. Because of COVID precautions, there were very strict shuttle capacity guidelines which was appreciated but added at least 1.5hrs to our trip. The trail itself was beautiful lots of wildflowers, waterfalls, and lakes, but it’s much rockier than appreciated! Definitely left with sore knees and feet!

Julia Becker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 17, 2020
HikingMuddyRocky

Got to the trailhead at 6:40am on a Friday (7/17) - there were still a good amount of parking left but it was filling up fast. Lost lake is closed so that may have helped too. Trail was clear minus a little mud. Beautiful trail with wildflowers and lakes. Gorgeous views of the Indian peaks wilderness. Trail was easy to follow. There is bear activity in the area so be careful and bring your bear spray

Emily K.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 10, 2020
HikingMuddyRocky
Brianna Merrill
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HikingOff trailSnow

6/25/2020: This is an incredibly beautiful trail with breathtaking views, multiple lakes and ponds, and wildflowers. The change in elevation lends to a changing environment as you ascend: aspen forests to open fields to pine forests to marshy areas. Because of the snowmelt and afternoon thunderstorms there are multiple stretches of the trail that are flowing with water - usually 1-2” My waterproof boots and rain jacket served me well. There is still snow on the trail starting about 3/4 mile from Jasper Lake and continuing sporadically past that point. I was able to traverse it using trek poles and would definitely recommend them - especially if you are carrying a heavy pack. There was a section about 1/2 mile before Devils Thumb Lake where the trail was not visible and was inaccessible for hundreds of feet due to snow, so make sure you are going the correct direction! If you intend to stay overnight backpacking you can pick up a $5 day-of permit at the Ace Hardware in Nederland.

Erick Romero
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 19, 2020
HikingSnow

Did this hike on June 19 and it was awesome. The beginning of the trail was pretty easy but passing the Woodland trail Junction it started to get pretty difficult. I would say around 85 percent of the trail was clear but around Jasper lake and so on a good amount of it was covered in snow. Overall great hike with not a lot of people around. Try to get there early and wear waterproof boots.

Shyam Goswami
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 21, 2019
Hiking

hiked in from 4th of July trailhead on 10/19 and out on 10/20. there was a serious snow storm the night of 10/19. many drifts up to 4' deep with about a foot of snowcover over 9,000'.

Sam Kelly
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Hiking

Fall colors are fantastic!

View Sam's Recording
Matt Connor
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 27, 2019
Hiking

Difficult trail...rocky & uphill. After climbing for miles I get to a drained Jasper Lake and a small Devils Thumb lake. Better trails and lakes around this area

don wallace
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 22, 2019
HikingRocky

Hiked this trail Sept 21, 2019. Absolutely beautiful Colorado blue sky day when the hike started at 9am. Stopped at Jasper Lake at 5-mile mark, worth a stop but as others pointed out, the lake and the surrounding lakeshore not that impressive as the lake has dried up a lot by now and tree debris litters the eastern shoreline but the views to west are nice. Devils Thumb Lake is just another 1.25 miles/300-400’ gain up the trail and well worth the effort. had to see the overall Devils Thumb Lake itself as it’s surrounded by heavy tree cover and a short but steep decline from the trail down to the shoreline and then craning around tall trees for a view/photo. Lake appears to be very deep as there were no signs of water loss after a long summer. Suggest following the trail past the lake to get the beautiful views of the Continental Divide. This takes you through two sets of some thick willows. You still never get a full view of the lake due to the tall trees along the lake’s shoreline. Sadly, I can’t give this trail more than 3-stars as you are mostly hiking through uneventful woods for most of the 6.25 miles to above Devils Thumb Lake with a few peak-a-boo views of the destination. The trail is very rocky in segments which is even more unpleasant on the descent. If you want to see this lake it all its glory, recommend driving up to Rollins Pass from the Winter Lake side of the Divide. From the top of that pass, you climb up the Divide to get birds eye unobstructed views of King, Bob, Betty and Devils Thumb Lakes. Why start from Hessie Trailhead and hike 6-7 miles through the woods to get a view of these beautiful lakes when you can come from the west and bagged all 4 lakes on one hike? Granted, a longer drive if you live on the east side of the Divide (and a rocky 13.5 miles ride up to the pass) but in this case, well worth it!!

Devon Tuttoilmondo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 20, 2019
Hiking

This trail was a great day hike to see some gorgeous wildflowers. It was well cared for and not overly crowded. I will say the Porto potties at the trailhead were in pretty rough shape but I guess that's what you'd expect. Also if you can't find parking there is a shuttle service I wish we would have known about before hand.

Jackson Davis
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Hiking

For how popular it is, it is in great shape. Thanks everyone for caring for our public lands!

Christopher Wood
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 22, 2019
Hiking

Lots of people but not uncomfortable, still some snowpack higher than Jasper but nothing crazy. There are a couple of water crossings that are a little more difficult thanks to all the snowmelt and rain so waterproof boots are a good idea. Some fairly muddy areas as well

Christopher Wood
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 22, 2019
Hiking

Lots of people but not uncomfortable, still some snowpack higher than Jasper but nothing crazy. There are a couple of water crossings that are a little more difficult thanks to all the snowmelt and rain so waterproof boots are a good idea. Some fairly muddy areas as well

Brian Boucherle
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HikingMuddy
Lori Abramowitz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 11, 2019
HikingSnow

I went up past devils thumb lake almost to where the trail meets up with the high lonesome trail, at around 11,700 feet, and it was gorgeous!! There is a lot of snow still leading up to, and after jasper lake, but actually clears up after devils thumb lake too. Snow was very soft and melting quickly! The trail was very wet, so be prepared to have your feet wet. We had slight difficulty staying on the trail at times, but there were footprints to follow and we always found the trail. We went midweek and found parking very close at 8:45 am, but I know weekends tend to be much more crowded. We saw a moose, a very tiny garden snake, and a few marmot on the trail, and so many beautiful wildflowers all over! It was a challenging and amazing day.

Kara Steele
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 1, 2019
Hiking

We only did the hike from lost lake to Jasper lake, but still great! Quite a bit of snow still up by Jasper lake, but not too hard to follow the footprints to stay on the trail. The lake was mostly thawed and beautiful! A fair amount of the hike was very wet, like walking in a stream. We lost the trail at one point because it filled with water, but were able to meet back up with it.

Joe Krisciunas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 10, 2019
HikingSnow

Beautiful trail. Challenging conditions with lots of snowpack still after the first 2 miles. Snow made it challenging to stay on the trail. We meandered a bit before making Jasper lake.

Mario Ascoli
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 9, 2019

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.

Dandilion Olsen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 7, 2018
Backpacking

So beautiful and worth it! Gets steep! Make sure to get a permit if you spending the night ( they sell them at ACE in Ned). Absolutely beautiful pass, dropped down to 30 at night

Alexander Clayton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 18, 2018
Hiking

Nice hike with not too many people on a Friday in summer, but be aware that Jasper Lake (a reservoir) gets drained this time of year (like Lake Isabelle up in Brainard Lake Rec Area). We found a nearly empty lake when we arrived, but had planned on continuing to Devil's Thumb Lake anyway, which was quite nice. The hike, while a little long, is pretty moderate throughout with a bit of rockiness in many areas, so watch your footing. It is in and out of the trees, so a good mix of sun and shade, and no issues with exposure/dropoffs. Overall, I recorded round-trip stats of 13 mi/2,600' elevation gain from the 2WD TH to the end of Devil's Thumb Lake.

David Flaherty
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 4, 2018
Hiking

This hike has ton to see, moose, open meadows, snow melt streams and killer views. It ramps up in elevation from mile 2 to 3, and once you are above tree line the last mile to the top is steep but worth it. The Thumb is kind of an optical illusion, you will see what I mean when you get there.

Ron Frankford
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 16, 2017
Backpacking

Amazing and beautiful hike. Recommend wearing sunscreen. Arrived at the trail on Sat around 0900 and the main parking lot was full. If you have an off-road high clearance vehicle additional parking at the trail-head. Attempted to do Jasper Lake, but signs posted “no fires” and it also required a permit to camp. Highly recommend going to the .gov sight for more info about this area. The lake looked very low. Headed to Devil’s Thumb Lake which was about 1 mile away and found a few camping spots and didn’t see as many restrictions as Jasper Lake. In mid Sep it snowed and was very cold at night, dropped at night to 23 degree’s with 94 percent humidity. AllTrails does not have a way to communicate with other outdoor enthusiast, I can be reached on Facebook Messenger if you have any questions.

Heather Fabi
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We did this hike over two days ( camped at devils thumb lake for the night). The struggle was REAL the last mile or so carrying the extra weight with our equipment, but totally worth every agonizing step. Amazing views, gorgeous meadows full of beautiful wildflowers, and friendly people passing by. We even got lucky enough to have a moose visitor stop by our tent hahaha. Would recommend a sturdy pair of mid boots or better. If you're camping for the night, bring some warm gear. As soon as the sun goes down it's chilly. Arrive as early as possible. Nowhere to park at 9AM on the road leading up to the trailhead. You will need a 4WD vehicle to park in the lot nearest the trailhead. There is a very reliable shuttle that comes to and from Nederland every 10-15 minutes. Overall a great, challenging adventure.

Narges Ahmadi
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Hiking

This is an easy hike with great views of continental divide.

Jordy Schwen
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Great trail, awesome scenery!

janer g
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 8, 2017
Hiking

June 7, 2017: need waterproof boots or hiking sandal if you don't mind the cold water, some spots of snow but mostly ankle deep water!

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