Hiking Devils Thumb Trail in Winter Park and Fraser, Co

Off the Beaten Path Hikes

Recommended for the Adventurous Hiker

Off the Beaten Path Hikes

Recommended for the Adventurous Hiker

Hungry Hikers passWhether you've completed all of our favorite day hikes or are searching for a more demanding adventure, these off-the-beaten-path hikes in Winter Park and Fraser won't disappoint. While challenging, these trails will lead to rewarding panoramic views, high-alpine lakes, the Continental Divide, and more! Download the list of trails and descriptions

MAPS & TRAIL TIPS: For updates on trail status, use COTREX (a mobile and desktop application for a statewide comprehensive and interactive trail map) to always have your maps with you. Stop by the Information Center in downtown Winter Park for hard-copy maps and additional information or details on road closures and trail work. Please follow Leave No Trace principles and keep Grand County clean and green!

Devil’s Thumb (Difficult)

Length: 3.93 miles one-way
Elevation: Trailhead 9,609’ Destination 12,236’

Trailhead Location: From US Hwy 40 between Fraser and Tabernash, take County Road 8 east and follow until the road turns into USFR 128 (water board road). Turn left and after 1 mile take a right continue for.3 miles. The road will end at the trailhead.

Trail Description: Begin on the trail walking through the Montane Forest, the trail then follows along a meadow with amazing views of Devil’s Thumb Pass and the surrounding area. When the trail forks at marker 2, take a right towards the Devils Thumb trail. There will be a crossing over cabin creek and the trail will begin to go uphill. As you get higher in elevation the forest will change from subalpine to timberline. The trees will open up as the climb increases in difficulty. When you get close to the top the trail disappears, continue on until you can see the thumb-shaped rock formation on the Continental Divide clearly.

King / Betty / Bob Lakes (Easy – Moderate)

Length: 1.9 miles one-way
Elevation: 11,604’ / 11,552’

Trailhead Location: From the Winter Park Information Center, head 2 miles south on Highway 40, turn left onto CR 80/FDR Rd 149 (Corona Pass), continue 13.5 miles to the top, trailhead parking will be on the north side of the road.

Trail Description: Short hike from the Continental Divide to three alpine lakes on the Eastern slope of the Divide. Views of tundra, creek with falls, and wildflowers. Heading out on the Northwest trail to the trail marker King Lake. Follow the trail down the cirque to King Lake below. Continue on the trail down to Timberline and cross the creek. At the fork, stay to the right of the creek and continue on to Betty Lake. Turn northwest (Left) and follow the trail to Bob Lake.

Berthoud Pass to Winter Park Ski Area (Moderate)

Length: 10.5 Miles to the Base of Winter Park Resort (2 vehicles required – park one at the Winter Park Resort)
Elevation: Trailhead 11,351’ / Base 9,000’ (highest point 12,391’ decent from highest point 3,391’ to the base of Winter Park Resort)

Trailhead Location: From the Winter Park Information Center, drive south 14 miles towards Berthoud Pass (near MM 243). At the top of Berthoud Pass there is a parking area on the east side of Hwy 40. Park in that parking area and cross Hwy 40 to the west side where the trailhead will be located.

Trail Description: Steep initial climb with a gradual descent across the tundra. Sweeping 360 views from Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park along the Continental Divide to Stanley and Vasquez Peaks. Beautiful alpine meadows and wildflowers as you descend to at the Resort to the Ute Trail down the face of the ski slopes. Follow the old access road through the forest and west to the summit of an unnamed peak at 12,3911’. Near the top of the hill head in the direction of the cairn and north on the Nystrom Trail towards the Twin Cones at the top of Winter Park Resort. Be aware that the trail is unsigned but cairns are located along the ridgeline. The trail works its way down to the top of Parsenne Bowl at the Resort. Follow the trail on the left side of the bowl to the service road and continue down to Sunspot at 10,731’. The beautiful Sunspot facility is open for lunch and beverages during the summer operating season. Continue on down to the base of the Resort on the Ute Trail under the Zephyr Lift/Gondola to the base. 

Butler Gulch (Moderate)

Length: 2.7 miles one way to the Jean Mine
Elevation: 10,500’ / 11,950’

Trailhead Location: From the Winter Park Information Center follow highway 40 South 19.3 miles over Berthoud Pass to Co Rd 202 (Henderson Mine Rd/Jones Pass) just after the last switchback on the east side of Berthoud Pass. Turn right, keeping to the right 1.8 miles to the mine entrance. Take a right at the fork and follow the gravel road past the first parking area. Continuing .7 miles, turn left and park near the gate along the road at the trailhead.

Trail Description: Follow the old mining road through old growth spruce forest for a steep climb to the huge alpine basin above tree line. There are several stream crossings so bring a pair of extra socks. Beautiful views of the Arapaho National Forest, streams with small waterfalls and seas of wildflowers with the stunning backdrop of the Continental Divide as the trail traverses across the basin. This trail is also called the Century Trail as the area is home to over 100 species of wildflowers along the trail and ridges. The lower sections of Butler Gulch are soggy and tree shrouded with several stream crossings and numerous stands of wildflowers. As the trail rises, it comes to a long cascading waterfall at 1.5 miles and finally breaks out of tree line at 1.8 miles. From this point on, the trail travels westward across a wide alpine shelf, continues steeply up the side of the ridge until finally reaching the remains of the Jean Mine at 2.7 miles. If you are up for it continue on the trail towards the ridge. The hike to the top will reward you with amazing mountain vistas and views of alpine lakes below the ridge.

Bottle Peak / Bottle Pass / Ptarmigan Peak (Moderate)

Length: 3.64 miles one way (1.4 on Forest Service Road, 2.24 on Trail)
Elevation: 9,809’ / 11,736’

Trailhead Location: From the Winter Park Information Center, follow highway 40 north 2.5 miles to Fraser and turn left at the signal on to Co Rd 72. Continue .3 miles on Co Rd 72 and take a right onto Co Rd 721 and follow to Co Rd 73 (Forest Service Road 160) and turn left. Drive 7 miles then make a hard right turning onto Forest Service Road 164 (Byers Peak Road) for 3 miles to the gate and parking area. 

Trail Description: Views of old growth forest, tundra, flora and hillsides covered with wildflowers and surrounded by breathtaking 360° mountain views. Bike or hike 3.2 miles on the service road to the trailhead on the right. Follow the trail up 11 switchbacks through the old growth forest. At timberline take the right fork and bear right across the tundra to the summit of Bottle Peak. Continue down the saddle to Bottle Pass. Bear right up the hill to Ptarmigan Peak.

Cascade Falls (Moderate)

Length: 4.5 miles one way
Elevation: 8,360’ / 9,360’

Trailhead Location: From the Winter Park Information Center, follow highway 40 north through Granby and turn right on highway 34. Continue on highway 34, 7 miles to CR 6, the Arapaho Bay/ Sunset Point turnoff on the right. Continue 9.8 miles to the Monarch Lake trailhead.

Trail Description: The trail follows creeks passing through beautiful spruce and fir forests and open spaces filled with flowers and vegetation. You will cross the boundary of the Indian Peaks Wilderness area where dogs must be leashed at all times. The views of the falls are lovely and make a great rest stop. Follow the trail along the north side of Monarch Lake for a little over a mile and take the left fork onto the Cascade Creek trail. The trail climbs with several switchbacks along Buchanan Creek. Cross Buchanan Creek and follow the trail along Cascade Creek up several more switchbacks to Cascade Falls. Crater Lake can be reached by following this trail an additional 3.5 miles but this 16 mile round trip is a better option for a overnight trip than a day trip.

Continental Divide; Corona Pass to Devils Thumb (Moderate)

Length: 3.5 miles one way
Elevation: 11,671’ / 12,235

Trailhead Location: From the Winter Park Information head 2 miles south on Highway 40, take a left turn at onto CR 80/FDR Rd 149 (Corona Pass), continue 13.5 miles to the top, trailhead parking will be on the north side of the road.

Trail Description: Initial steep climb followed by moderate traverses across the tundra to the Continental Divide. Sweeping 360° views from Berthoud Pass, Fraser Valley to Rocky Mountain National Park. From the parking area head northwest across the tundra to a fork identifying the High Lonesome Trail straight-ahead and King Lake to the right. Continue straight on the well- worn High Lonesome Trail. The trail climbs steeply to the Continental Divide. There is a high and low trail. Take the low trail for the most direct route. An option for the return is the high trail back to Corona Pass or, if you want to spot a second vehicle at the Devil’s Thumb Trailhead (9,609’) off County Rd 128, you can descend on the Devil’s Thumb Trail and avoid the out and back.

Mt. Flora (Moderate – Difficult)

Length: 3.25 miles one way
Elevation: Trailhead 10,545’ / Peak 12,804’

Trailhead Location: From the Winter Park Information Center, follow highway 40 south 14 miles to the top of Berthoud Pass. On the left side of the highway near mile marker 243 there will be a parking area off of highway 40 where the trailhead is located.

Trail Description: The entire route is above timberline with steep climbs and traverses across the tundra to the Continental Divide. Sweeping 360° views from Berthoud Pass to Rock Mountain National Park. From the parking area, head up the service road on the east side. At .85 miles take the Continental Divide Trail to the left (north). The trail rises steadily to a saddle at 12,000’ below Colorado Mines Peak and then levels out before the final push to the summit. Turquois Ethel Lake may be seen below to the North. Return on the same trail. This hike can be extended on to Mt. Eva, Parry Peak, Mt. Bancroft and James Peak for a total of 12.9 miles (app. 10 hr. hike) by leaving a 2nd car at the top of Rollins Pass.

Lake Evelyn / Horseshoe Lake (Moderate – Difficult)

Length: 2.49 miles one way (Lake Evelyn) 6.1 miles one way (Horseshoe Lake)
Elevation: 10,023’ / 11,158’ (Lake Evelyn) 11,245’ (Horseshoe Lake)

Hike to Lake Evelyn
Lake evelyn

Trailhead Location: From the Winter Park Information Center, follow highway 40 north 2.5 miles to Fraser and turn left at Co. Rd 50 (FS 139). Bear Left at the fork with FS133. Continue on FS 136 (approximately 12 miles from Co. Rd 5), The Lake Evelyn Road, and turn left. This is a rough road for 3.9 miles to the trailhead. 

Trail Information: Follows a rapid creek through alpine and sub alpine forests to beautiful alpine lakes surrounded by a high mountain cirques and forest. Wildflowers are abundant along the creeks, lakes and open cirques. Very good high alpine lake fishing is possible at both lakes. The Lake Evelyn Trailhead is located at the end of the parking area. Follow the trail across Keyser Creek. The trail climbs gradually along Evelyn Creek to a switchback near the end. A trail follows the entire perimeter of the lake. To continue to Horseshoe Lake follow the trail around the right side and up the trail on the left. Take in the views of the Never Summer and Gore Ranges. Three trails intersect at the saddle; Keyser Ridge and St. Louis Divide Trail to the left. Follow the Kinney Creek Trail straight (south) and continue down to the valley through the trees approaching Kinney Creek. At the fork, take the Horseshow Lake Trail to the left. The trail crosses Kinney Creek and several others and continues on through the forest and meadow to Horseshoe Lake and the surrounding cirque.

Parkview Mountain (Moderate – Difficult)

Length: 4 miles one way
Elevation: 9,600’ / 12,296’

Trailhead Location: From the Visitor Center drive west 22.9 miles on CO 40 through Granby to CO 125 on the right. Take CO125 north 21 miles to the pullout on the west side between MM 21 & 22. Start at the Willow Creek Pass Trailhead on the west side of the highway.

Trail Description: The trail offers panoramic views of North Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. Defining the easternmost point of the Rabbit Ears Range. Parkview Mountain at 12,296’ is the highest peak in the range. An added bonus on this hike is a visit to the historic Lookout House, located at the summit of the peak and constructed by the Forest Service in 1916. The trail meanders through spruce and lodge pole forests and lush undergrowth before ascending to the tundra. Alpine flowers are abundant above timberline. From the small parking area 0.3 miles south of the pass, start hiking north on Forest Service Road 266.1H. The road soon curves to the east, and at mile 0.3 the Continental Divide Trail joins the road at a switchback. Continue west on 266.1H as it climbs at a steady grade to a road junction (at an elevation of 9,970 feet) at mile 0.7. Turn left (southwest) at this junction and follow the road as it continues to climb to a second road junction at mile 1.8. Turn left (south) at this junction and walk along this flat section of road to a third junction at mile 2.1, where you will join yet another road at a hairpin bend. Take the right-hand fork in the road (heading uphill), and follow this road as it heads generally southwest into the broad basin below the summit. As you break out into the open area of the basin, look for the white building on the summit. The fourth road junction (at an elevation of 10,900 feet) is reached in the basin at mile 3.1. Take the left fork as it drops slightly before heading back into trees, and follow this road almost to its terminus high in the basin at mile 3.4. Just before the road ends by a stand of krumholtz — small, stunted trees — look for large cairns on either side of the road, marking the point
where you leave the road and start heading toward the left-hand ridge. Follow the cairns, reaching the ridge at approximately 11,700 feet (mile 3.7). Head steeply up the ridge (southwest) on a hodgepodge of social trails. Join the southeast ridge at 12,150 feet (mile 4), turn right (northwest), and walk easily to the summit.

Note: There are several route options to the summit of Parkview Mountain. Also, the FS roads may be navigated with a heavy duty, high clearance vehicle to shorten the distance by eliminating the hike on the Forest Service roads by driving directly to the Parkview Mountain Trailhead.

Rodgers Pass / James Peak (Moderate – Difficult)

Length: 2.25 miles one way (Rogers Pass) 3.5 miles one way (James Peak)
Elevation: 11,107'

Trailhead Location: From the Winter Park Information Center, head 2 miles south on highway 40, turn left onto CR 80/ FDR Rd 149 (Corona Pass), continue 10 miles to the old railroad trestle. Park on the side of the road near the Rodger’s Pass trailhead sign. 

Trail Description: Steep climbs with traverses across the tundra to the Continental Divide. Sweeping 360 views from Berthoud Pass, Winter Park Resort to Rocky Mountain National Park. The trail goes through the trees and traverses the hillside to the Continental Divide Ridgeline. Continue straight on the jeep road to the next fork at the faint Ute Trail with a cairn on the right. Continue left on the jeep trail and on to Rogers Pass. Note: Heart Lake and Rogers Pass Lake can be reached by continuing on a trail just north of the pass. To reach James Peak summit go back to the junction with the Ute Trail. Follow the faint, steep and rocky trail across the hillside and stay to your right at all forks. The final ascent is a steep boulder hillside.

Caribou Pass / Lake Dorothy (Difficult)

Length: 3.25 miles one way (Caribou Pass) 4.1 miles one way (Lake Dorothy)
Elevation: 10,052’ / 11,819’ (Caribou Pass) 12,065’ (Lake Dorothy)

Trailhead Location: From the Winter Park Information Center, highway 40 5.6 miles to Co Rd 83. Turn right for .4 miles to Co Rd 84 (turns into FSR 129) and continue 10.5 miles past Meadow Creek Reservoir and turn left at the Junco Lake Trailhead parking area.

Trail Description: The trail meanders steeply past alpine lakes, creeks and through forests and meadows abundant with wildflowers. Views of the Indian Peaks Range, Arapaho Peaks and Front Range Mountains including three 13,400’ plus peaks to the northeast. You will cross the boundary of the Indian Peaks Wilderness area where dogs must be leashed at all times. At the Junco Lake trailhead follow the High Lonesome trail to the Caribou Pass Trail. In a short distance go straight at the fork on the old jeep road where the High Lonesome Trail turns right. At the next fork take the Caribou Trail to the left and continue the steep climb to timberline and to the top of the ridge (Caribou Pass). To continue on to Lake Dorothy, follow the old pack trail on the right (south) along the side of the hill and turn right at the fork to Lake Dorothy.

St. Louis Lake (Difficult)

Length: 5.9 miles one way
Elevation: 9,520’ / 11,532’

Trailhead Location: From the Winter Park Information Center, follow highway 40 north to Fraser. In Fraser take a left at the signal on to Co Rd 72. At .3 miles, turn right onto Co Rd 721 and follow to Co Rd 73 (FDR 160) and turn left. Continue 8.7 miles to the gate and parking area. At this point, ride bike or hike to the trailhead on the service road. 

Trail Description: The St. Louis Trail follows creeks through the forest opening into beautiful mountain meadows, hillsides and marshes that are abundant with wildflowers mid July to August. The lake is set in a basin with sweeping views of the St. Louis Divide, St. Louis Peak and Mt. Nystrom. Cross the bridge over the creek and follow the trail on the right side of St. Louis Creek. The trail crosses the creek two times before reaching the big meadow. Cross the meadow and stay right at the fork in the trail. Continue up the hill through forests, across meadows and several small creeks to the lake.

St. Louis Peak (Difficult)

Length: 6.8 miles one way
Elevation: 9,520’ / 12,261’

Trailhead Location: From the Winter Park Information Center, follow highway 40 north to Fraser. In Fraser take a left at the signal on to Co Rd 72. At .3 miles, turn right onto Co Rd 721 and follow to Co Rd 73 (FDR 160) and turn left. Continue 8.7 miles to the gate and parking area. At this point, ride bike or hike to the trailhead on the service road.

Trail Description: Alpine meadows, marshes and sweeping 360° views of the mountain ranges. Follow the same trail described in the St Louis Lake hike but stay left at the fork identified with a trail marker to St. Louis Peak and St. Louis Lake. Cross the creek and continue through the marsh and forest to the tundra to the intersection with the St. Louis Divide Trail at the saddle. Follow the trail on the left and cross the ridgeline. There is a short downhill to a fork at the bottom. Stay right on the faint trail to the summit of St. Louis Peak.

*Conditions can change quickly. Alwasy check the weather and trail conditions before venturing out.