When choosing to scramble up the Devil’s Thumb, you’ll pass by famous landmarks on your way. When you reach the Big Beehive junction, you’ll leave the crowds behind, taking the less travelled route to new heights. Enjoy solitude and views of both Lake Louise and Lake Agnes from high above. The Devil’s Thumb is known to cast a thumb-like shadow below, so aim for perfect conditions to catch this phenomenon.
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Route Description for Devil’s Thumb
From the lakeshore of Lake Louise, you’ll want to keep in mind that the Devil’s Thumb does not have any signage of its own. It does share the same route as the Big Beehive, so you’ll want to follow the signs to the beehive before embarking on the true Devil’s Thumb route.
The Devil’s Thumb is a scramble route, so pay attention to the route description before you head out. It requires a little more route-finding than your average hike, but nothing difficult for a scramble. No need for a helmet, but sturdy shoes are important; there are slippery sections with loose rock.
This route takes you through many of the famous Lake Louise landmarks before leaving the crowds and reaching new heights on your own. You won’t see many people on the Devil’s Thumb as it is not a well-known route and requires a little bit more skill to reach the top. If you are looking for something a bit more adventurous in the Lake Louise area, the Devil’s Thumb is it!
From the trail signs on the right side of Lake Louise, follow the well-beaten path up to Lake Agnes. Those who chose to scramble to the Devil’s Thumb will find the first portion of the trail very easy. There will be many people on this popular route, as it leads to many destinations accessible to beginner hikers.
Take in the views of the lake as you gain elevation and switchback up the trail to Mirror Lake and Lake Agnes. The historic teahouse here is the perfect place to enjoy a snack and some rest on your return. The shores of Lake Agnes offer superb views, but you will be able to see it from above when you reach the incredible Devil’s Thumb.
The trail sign will direct hikers around the right side of the lake. Remember that the Devil’s Thumb hike does not have any signage, and you will be following the route to the Big Beehive. Follow the lakeshore as it wraps around the back of the lake and leads to switchbacks on your right. Climb the steady switchbacks where you meet a junction. This is the junction for the Big Beehive and the Highline Trail that connects the two teahouses. You will notice other hikers taking a left towards the Big Beehive, and you will want to take a right.
Keep in mind that from here, the trail will take you clockwise, wrapping around the mountain and back towards the junction as you ascend. When you reach the summit, you will be towering above the junction facing Lake Agnes and Lake Louise.
Now that you are on an unmarked trail, it may seem a bit odd. There won’t be many people travelling this route, and you will notice some branches and logs blocking the route. Continue on; you are on the right path. You will quickly reach a small rock band that is easy to navigate. Above this, follow the winding path to the left. This will take you around the mountain, revealing incredible views of the surrounding peaks.
After about twenty minutes, the path will curve to the right, where you will need to ascend a very steep rocky, grassy slope. You may need to use your hands here but having trekking poles with you is a good idea, especially for the descent. You’ll reach a saddle at the top of this slope, and you will head right towards the Devil’s Thumb. Work your way through the small rock bands and slabs and continue on until you find yourself at the edge of the Devil’s Thumb.
The incredible views of Lake Louise and Lake Agnes divided by the Big Beehive from here are worth a moment. You’ll be able to see the Lake Louise Ski Resort across the valley, Mount Victoria behind you, and Lefroy tower above.
Retrace your steps to descend and return the way you came!
Insider Hints for Devil’s Thumb
- Go early to avoid crowds
- Know the route description before leaving main trail
- Bring poles for the scramble descent
- Take a break on your way up or down at the famous historic teahouse
Getting to the Devil’s Thumb Trailhead
To get to the Devil’s Thumb hike, you will start from Lake Lousie. Take the Trans-Canada 57.0 km westbound from Banff until you reach Lake Louise. Turn right off the exit and continue up Lake Louise Drive until reaching the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Take a left for public parking and follow signage to the shore of Lake Louise. Enjoy the views while you are here and continue to the right for your destination. Follow signs for Lake Agnes and Big Beehive to the right. There is no sign for the Devil’s Thumb, but you will follow signs to the Big Beehive to get there.
Devil’s Thumb Elevation Graph
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Devil’s Thumb Reviews
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