Devils Thumb Pass and King Lake Trail is a 28.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Nederland, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Directions from Eldora: Travel west to the Hessie Townsite on CR #130
Hands down the best hike I've been on this summer. I've done a majority of the hikes in the Nederland's area and this easily tops the list at number 1 in my opinion. It has the best components of every hike. It took me most of the day, about 10 hours in all, but that was with talking to other campers and hikers along the way, plus a few extra stops to rest. The views along the high lonesome Trail makes it all worth it, especially when overlooking Devils thumb lake and eventually kings lake. 10/10 would recommend this for well seasoned hikers.
Hiked May 19. Still tons of snow. Still fairly compact in the shade, started getting slushy in the sunshine. Snowshoes would have been really helpful. Hike was beautiful regardless. Amazing vistas. Didn't see another person after the 1st mile or so. Would have definitely lost the trail in the snow several times over if it hadn't been for some day or so old tracks. Saw a few mountain lion tracks. Will definitely repeat in summer.
This is an ambitious hike that has everything!!!! Water (in season), wildflowers, meadows, rugged mtn views, lakes, aspen, evergreen, you name it.
It was breathtaking in every way. wear waterproof shoes and get there early. We went during the week and saw 3 other people!
First day of summer! Snowshoes were a good idea.
I've hiked this trail several times,early autumn and early spring. I love this trail for it's rugged beauty. In early autumn the aspens were golden yellow and the water falls were incredible. In early spring I had my three sons and the snow was still fairly deep. We had to go off train & over the ridge to avoid deep snow. The waterfalls were absolutely amazing. The spring melt made for a spectacular show. Great for dogs, a little tough for young kids. It is my favorite place.
The Devils Thumb trail is amazing to run and provides a great variety of conditions to keep it interesting. Technical conditions range from dirt single track to loose rock. There are some challenging hills, but these are usually followed by flat stretches to help recover before the next hill.
The trail to the lake is about 6 miles from TH. An additional mile can be tacked on by pushing up to the Continental Divide. That mile is tough with decent elevation gain. But it is worth it just on the view alone.
Do arrive at the TH (fork at July 4th Road and Hessie) early as roadside parking is limited and does fill up fast towards late morning. Additionally, there are very few people on the trail that early for the outbound leg.
Bring a camera.
You can make an excellent ~17 mile loop out of this trail if you continue up after Devil's Thumb Lake up to the continental divide, head south for about 2 miles then drop down to the King's Lake trail which will take you back to the Hessie trail head. Running I spent a little under 5 hours and it does add another +1,200 vertical feet to get up to the divide, but the view are worth it. I originally found this trail on the blog I linked to.
Beautiful hike once you get past the first mile or so. Not sure why it's rated difficult. I would give it a difficult if it was to the pass. Arrive at the trail head early if you like solitude.
Somewhat technical. Breathtaking scenerey (literally). Phenomenal trail. The only downside was the huge amount of people on the first mile or two of the trail.
Probably the most popular Indian Peaks Wilderness hikes is Devils Thumb Lake Trail. The scenery was breathtaking. Be sure to arrive early if hiking over the weekend as parking becomes a premium. I started hiking at 7am and I was alone almost the entire hike up. Coming back down was a different story and I passed lots of people, mostly runners. An enjoyable hike all around.