Location - Daintree National Park, Far North Queensland, Australia
Difficulty - Grade 5, on-track, difficult
Distance - 10.6km return
Duration - Approximately 7-9 hour return
Elevation - 1065m
Start/Finish - Devils Thumb (Manjal Jimalji), Mossman Gorge, Daintree National Park
Devils Thumb (Manjal Jimalji) is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Daintree National Park. It's a challenging hike that rewards you with stunning views of the surrounding rainforest and coastline. If you're up for the challenge, here's everything you need to know before you hit the trail.
Nestled within the World Heritage-listed Daintree National Park, this demanding 10km round trip hike is steep but promises an exceptional adventure. Along the trail, you'll encounter a diverse range of terrain, from lush lowland rainforest to a picturesque meadow of coral ferns at an elevation of 1000m.
Devil's Thumb is located in the northern part of Daintree National Park, near Cape Tribulation. You can reach the trailhead by driving north from Cairns or Port Douglas along the Captain Cook Highway, then turning onto the Cape Tribulation Road. The trailhead is located at the end of Cape Tribulation Road, near the car park.
The hike to Devil's Thumb is approximately 10 kilometres round-trip and takes around 4-6 hours to complete, depending on your fitness level and pace. The trail is steep and rocky in places, so be prepared for a challenging climb.
The trail starts bu crossing a small stream just before ascending up the spur. Although we cross a small creek at the start, there are no swimming holes located along the rest of the trail.
After you reach the 3.5km mark, the trail does ease off as you are on top of the range. After the first 3.5km of uphill walking, the rainforest opens up to a large clearing. This is a good turnaround point if you are running low on time. The Coral fern patch provides incredible views, very similar to those on top of Devil's Thumb.
Climb over boulders to reach the lookout of Devil's Thumb, a massive rock formation perched over the lush rainforest below. Take in stunning vistas of the Main Coast Range, the coastline, and the Coral Sea to the East. The panoramic views and the chance to spot a variety of bird species make the challenging climb more than worth the effort.
The summit of Devil's Thumb offers stunning views of the surrounding rainforest and coastline. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Great Barrier Reef. Take your time to soak in the views and enjoy a well-deserved rest before heading back down the trail.
The trail to Devil's Thumb is well-marked but can be steep and rocky in places, so be sure to watch your footing. There are also some sections of the trail that require scrambling over rocks and boulders, so it's essential to be confident in your hiking abilities. It's also worth noting that the trail can be muddy and slippery after rain, so be sure to take extra care during wet conditions.
Daintree National Park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including cassowaries, snakes, and spiders. While encounters with wildlife are rare, it's important to be aware of your surroundings and keep a safe distance from any animals you may encounter. Be sure to also follow the Leave No Trace principles and pack out all of your trash.
What to bring
Be sure to bring plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent, and appropriate hiking gear, including sturdy shoes or boots, a hat, and sunglasses. You may also want to bring a camera to capture the stunning views from the summit.
- Off the beaten path: This demanding trail offers a chance to explore both upland and lowland rainforests in Daintree National Park which is less travelled by hikers.
- Cloud forest wonderland: Venture into a world seldom seen by humans, with lush vegetation covered in mosses, lichen, and intriguing fungi. The cloud forests of the Wet Tropics are truly enchanting!
- Unique flora and fauna: Immerse yourself in an ancient landscape filled with a distinctive array of wildlife and plants found nowhere else in the world.
- Sky-high meadow: The dense rainforest gives way to a sprawling field of coral ferns along the trail. With no trees obstructing the view, the scenery is simply breathtaking!
- A challenging ascent: To summit Devil's Thumb, you'll have to navigate through diverse terrain, including rainforest boulders and tree roots. It's a worthy challenge for experienced hikers.
- Top of the world: The hard work pays off with unparalleled vistas of the Daintree Rainforest to the north and the Coral Sea to the east. You'll feel like you're on top of the world!
- This is only suitable for fit and active individuals.
- Due to the region's weather, It is best done between May - October. Dates outside of this should only be considered if the weather is suitable.
- Not recommended if pregnant
- No recommended for people with knee, ankle, and/or hip issues/injuries
- High level of fitness required and good mobility
- Must be able to walk/climb over uneven terrain
- Closed-toed shoes are required; preferably hiking shoes.
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