The Devil’s Causeway: 6 Things to Know Before You Hike

Photo Credit: Matthew Jones.

Remote, rugged, and downright spectacular, the Devil’s Causeway is one Colorado spot that’s grown in popularity during recent years. While the Instagram photos might make it look like a simple land bridge to reach, you’ll need to do some research before trying to tackle this shockingly narrow path. Here’s a few pieces of information to get you started.

1. This trail is remote.

Found in the midst of the Flat Tops Wilderness near Yampa, the trail to the Devil’s Causeway is remote. You’ll be driving down a long dirt road and then hiking roughly 10 miles round-trip over steep, rocky terrain. This means a certain things are especially important, like knowing the route well and ALWAYS LEAVING NO TRACE. The remote nature of this hike makes rescue difficult and cleaning near impossible. Use extra caution to hike responsibly and if you pack it in, pack it out.

2. This hike is NOT for the faint of heart.

This hike isn’t just remote, it can be downright scary in certain spots. One of the reasons for it’s popularity, there’s a section of the Devil’s Causeway loop that takes hikers over a narrow land-bridge (the way this hike earned it’s name). Also commonly referred to as the Chinese Wall, this section is no more than four feet wide at parts and consists of uneven rocks. Oh…and it’s flanked by cliffs of several hundred feet. If you’re scared of heights, this one might not be for you. Also worth noting, the rocky, exposed nature of this hike can make crossing in snow or ice quite dangerous.

Devil's Causeway - Spencer McKee - OutThere Colorado

3. Weather will be a factor.

You’ll be reaching an altitude of 11,800 feet during this hike and the nature of the Flat Tops Wilderness’ many plateaus means that there’s no cover or escape. It’s hard to “bail out” when you’re surrounded by cliffs. Don’t keep pushing if you see clouds coming. No Instagram picture is worth falling off a cliff for. Also, be wary of the wind. The narrow nature of this land-bridge can make strong gusts especially dangerous.

4. Don’t fly your drone.

The Flat Tops Wilderness is one of the more popular Colorado hikes that’s found in a designated wilderness area. This designation means that it’s in a spot where nothing with a motor is allowed for use by the public. Leave the drone at home. Not only are the fines for illegal use often steep, noise that a drone makes can have a real impact on animals in an environment that’s so untouched.

5. Hit this one during wildflower season.

July is a great time for this hike. The wildflowers will be in full bloom and there’s a huge variety along the route. Be warned, some wildflowers aren’t safe to touch. Play it safe and enjoy them from afar. As always, take only pictures and leave only footprints.

Devil's Causeway Trail - Spencer McKee - OutThere Colorado

6. It’s okay NOT to cross.

If you’re feeling uncomfortable with the drops around the Devil’s Causeway, keep in mind that it’s perfectly fine not to cross the land bridge. Uncertainty is when mistakes can tend to happen. Plenty of people will simply walk half of the loop, reach the bridge, and return the same direction, as this is completely fine.

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