Devils Thumb – South TrailHead

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Devils Thumb – South Trailhead

 

Date: 5/1/2017
Difficulty: Moderate
Miles: 2.2
rating:
Type: In/out
Time: 1.5 hours
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 38° 48.383’N , 108° 4.277’W
TrailSpecs


Devils thumb is an impressive monolith located in the Adobe Badlands just north of Delta Colorado.  As far back as I can remember I have always wanted to hike up to this mysterious geological wonder.

There really isn’t an official trail to the monolith but there are a couple trailheads to make access to this outcropping easier. There is a southern trailhead and another one farther up the road which I’ll call the northern trailhead. This post describes the south trailhead.

To access the trail from Delta Colorado you need to travel north out of town on Hwy 50 towards Grand Junction. Take a right (east) onto H38 road. Immediately take a left (north) onto 1575 Rd. There is a nice sign directing you towards the airport and the Devils Thumb Golf Course. Continue on 1575 rd for about  1.2 miles. As the road begins to climb the little hill there will be a turn to your left (west) which is Devils Thumb Road. Take this turn and continue on for about 2.4 miles as you pass the end of the runway and the golf course. The road turns to gravel just past Devils Thumb Golf Course but it is still a smooth road suitable for any vehicle.

The south trailhead is located on your left just before reaching the Delta Reservoir and a large water tank on your right. You will see Devils Thumb jutting up in the distance to your left. There is a small pull off where you can park off of the road.

Upon researching the area I had initially planned on starting a little farther up the road and directly across from the big water tank and reservoir but when I got there I found that even though there was somewhat of a trail there it was extremely steep and all I could think about was trying to climb back out of that on my way back so I turned around and went back to the first pull off.

The trail begins by dropping down from the road into a small ravine area. Of course being the “Dobe’s” there was various piles of trash and shot shells scattered around but that all disappeared in very short order.

Once down from the road the trail follows along a marshy or riparian type area as it skirts around the end of the little ditch. This small section will be the last water you will see until you come back.

Once past the ravine the trail skirts a small adobe hill and offers up an awesome cactus garden of sorts intermixed between all the volcanic rock from the mesa. I was lucky enough to do this hike when all the cactus was blooming so it was really a pretty sight.

Once past this cactus garden the trail is pretty straight forward. It’s basically a straight shot directly towards Devils Thumb. I just continued to follow the old OHV tracks as they followed along the spine of the adobe hills and climbed in and out of the small ravines.

The last 300 feet or so was a killer due to the extreme steepness to reach the top. It took a little while for me to make it up this last section and even required me to balance myself with my hands  a couple times.

Once I did reach the top I was rewarded with some great views of the Uncompahgre Plateau, the San Juan Mountains and the Grand Mesa.

There’s not a whole lot of information about this area online but what I have found and according to the sign at the trailhead about 6700 acres of this area is considered an “Area of Critical Environmental Concern” and the sign indicated that it was a Wilderness Study Area so although there were OHV tracks they all looked fairly old.

This is a deceivingly beautiful area and is full of surprises. It is definitely on my list to come back and explore some more.

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