Devils Thumb

Banff National Park

Banff + Yoho, Alberta

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Devils Thumb


  • Lake Louise with Victory Glacier in the background.- Devils Thumb
  • Mount Aberdeen dominating the skyline south of the lake.- Devils Thumb
  • Looking back toward Bow Valley.- Devils Thumb
  • Lake Agnes with Devils Thumb sticking up on the left.- Devils Thumb
  • Looking down the falls that drain from Lake Agnes.- Devils Thumb
  • Indian paintbrush in bloom.- Devils Thumb
  • Ptarmigans live among the rocks up here.- Devils Thumb
  • The balcony trail on the way to Devils Thumb.- Devils Thumb
  • The many glaciers that feed Lake Louise.- Devils Thumb
  • Lake Louise dotted with kayakers.- Devils Thumb
  • View from Devils Thumb of Lake Agnes (left) and Lake Louise (right).- Devils Thumb
  • The mountains across the valley.- Devils Thumb
  • Close-up of Victoria Glacier.- Devils Thumb
  • Mount Aberdeen.- Devils Thumb
  • Close-up of Lake Louise Lodge and Resort.- Devils Thumb
  • The Lake Agnes Teahouse.- Devils Thumb
Overview + Weather
Great views. Backcountry teahouse. Alpine lakes.
Banff + Yoho, AL
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
707.00 m (2,319.55 ft)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
12.30 km (7.64 mi)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
1,752.00 m (5,748.03 ft)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Hiking in and around the Lake Louise part of Banff is a treat that most visitors of Banff National Park make sure to include in their itinerary. In fact, many come from all over the world just to see this lake in person. When you glimpse the turquoise water, caused by rock flour from the many glaciers carving the mountains above the lake, it’s easy to see why.

Lake Agnes and the backcountry teahouse sitting along her shores offer an excellent side trip next to Lake Louise, and the few hikes that continue on past the lake offer some of the best views of Lake Louise itself from above. This adventure chronicles the hike to Devils Thumb above Lake Agnes, and it builds off of the main trip to Big Beehive.

After ascending the steep switchbacks behind Lake Agnes, turn right at the four-way junction to continue onward toward Devils Thumb. After this turn you can expect the crowds to which you’ve grown accustomed to subside. Several portions of the hike are exposed, and there is a short scramble to get to the saddle behind Devils Thumb, so plan to complete this hike in good weather and use careful footing when attempting this hike.

From the junction the trail quickly becomes a grand balcony overlooking the Plain of the Six Glaciers, with Mount Aberdeen prominently displayed across the gorge. Once the trail veers upward it becomes clear that the scramble is near; head for the low point at the top of the debris field. After making the low point, turn right on the ridge and ascend along the highest line until you reach a flat outcropping: This is Devils Thumb, and you will be rewarded with a grand panorama of the Bow Valley, Lake Louise, Lake Agnes, and the surrounding Rockies from above. From the heights of Devils Thumb you can barely make out the black specks on Lake Louise that represent the many kayakers enjoying the cold and crisp breeze across the lake.

Return the way you came, and at the junction you can continue back toward the teahouse for a just reward for your efforts or take the faster descent on the Lake Louise side of the ridge to finish the hike back to your vehicle.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(1 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(22 within a 30 mile radius)

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