The story of the Devil’s Footprints has long been an attraction for visitors to the community of Keels. Imprints in the rocks around you resemble a cloven, hoof-shaped footprint. These cavities continue to be a source of curiosity and bewilderment. Local stories claim the footprint’s origins are supernatural, and the tracks are impressions left where the Devil danced over Keels.
Geological studies have shown the mystery of the Devil’s Footprints has natural origins. They are cavities left where carbonate nodules, called concretions, have eroded out of the bedrock to form the cavities you see in the rocks. Concretions form early in the process that turns buried sediment into rock, as mineral cement (carbonate) is deposited in layers growing outward from a central point. Why did carbonate grow in concentric layers? There are many different ways to explain this geologic phenomenon. One suggestion is the decaying remains of an ancient organism. Once exposed to the elements, the concretions weathered out leaving the empty nodules we see today.
Continue westward from Duntara into the community of keels. Stay left at the junction for Hubery James Mesh’s shop and the wharf, and continue along the narrowest section of the road. Park where there is space. There is a sign for the Devil’s Footprints that also marks the trailhead to the beach.
UTM: 0322384E, 5386270N
The provincial flower known as the Pitcher Plant, grows in abundance in places along the trail.
The Town of Keels is a traditional community with some surviving historic architecture, set in a rugged and beautiful landscape. The town has a store and tea room.