This is a challenging hike, and even the approach to the trailhead is difficult. The approach is about .5 miles, and the rough road is very steep and rocky. High-carriage, 4-wheel drive vehicles make the trip safely, but many people and their pups park on the county road and hike in. On busy days, this can mean added hiking miles because you'll have to walk a long way from your car to the approach road. There is a shuttle in Nederland that will deliver you to the trailhead that runs every 10 or 15 minutes during the summer, if you don't want to brave the difficult approach.
The trailhead for Devil's Thumb is at Hessie's Trailhead, and the trail itself runs along Boulder Creek, passing magnificent lakes and intersecting with a number of other trails. The hike is 4.5 miles to Jasper Lake, 5.5 miles to Devil's Thumb Lake, and 6.5 miles to the Continental Divide. Along the way, you'll trek through verdant valleys with abundant wildflowers, tundra-like meadows ringed by trees, and steep, rocky, difficult ridges and passes. Many streams supply you and your pup with water, but remember to treat it before drinking.
Jasper Lake is a reservoir surrounded by trees on 3 sides and a steep ridgeline on its north side. The reservoir is drained every fall, much to the surprise of some hikers. Large wooden bridges cross Boulder Creek, and the trail passes in and out of the trees. Snow is likely throughout the year, even in summer, and is often patched with ice. In lake drainage areas, the path can be muddy. The Devil's Thumb Bypass, which is shorter and easier than the main trail, skirts around these areas before rejoining the trail.
This is a trail that requires much consideration and preparation, especially if you're hiking with your fur-baby. Consider the terrain and check in with the ranger before embarking. Bring all the essentials, including water, snacks, and clean up bags. Your effort will be rewarded with pawsome views!
This trail is challenging for its steep and rocky climb. Wear good hiking boots, and carry trekking poles. The road from CR 130 requires a high-carriage 4-wheel drive vehicle to get to the trailhead. Parking is available on the county road for hiking in. Best times to hike are through July to September.