Hells Hole Trail

MODERATE 213 reviews
#14 of 149 trails in

Hells Hole Trail is a 7.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Idaho Springs, Colorado that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
7.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,912 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

wild flowers

rocky

This is a very popular trail leading up into the glacial cirque known as Hells Hole. Traveling along West Chicago Creek, the trail climbs for a mile to a bench above and west of the creek. The trail continues climbing less steeply, through lodgepole forest and into the bristlecone pines. The trail ends at timberline in Hell's Hole, in an open meadow at the base of Grey Wolf Mountain

hiking
7 days ago

Once you get to the top, the view is great but other than that, eh, there are way prettier hikes in Colorado.

14 days ago

Nice steady climb up and a beautiful view at the top.

14 days ago

We got there early on a weekday and only saw six other people. The aspen groves were fantastic and we’re planning a trip to go back when the leaves are turning.

hiking
15 days ago

We did this hike this morning, which is a Saturday. Decent sized parking lot, and we got there about 9:15 and there were only four or five other cars in it. There is a bathroom at the trailhead, but it’s essentially a port-a-potty. The trail is quite steep for the first three miles (first mile especially) and then levels out a little the rest of the way. We didn’t see too many other people on the trail, so the whole thing was nice and quiet, especially once we got to the Hell’s Hole area. The trail is almost completely in the woods of Arapaho National Forest. Hike was a great workout, but I don’t think I’d want to do it again-once we finished at the “top” and headed back down, we were ready to be done. The trail is pretty straight the entire way, so you’re just plugging along and navigating the rocks. It took us 3 hours and 55 minutes to complete, and my tracking app said it was 8.77 miles total.

hiking
20 days ago

Moderate hike with cool bristlecone pines at the top. Hardly saw anyone before heading down.

23 days ago

it was a rough three miles up, but then it levels off and once you are in the bowl, it is beautiful.

hiking
27 days ago

Great trail, challenging. We got caught in a small hail storm and hid under a tree for a little while which definitely will make for a lasting memory.

1 month ago

Beautiful hike! It's a steady incline almost all the way, so it's definitely a bit of a challenge, but nothing too steep. would recommend this hike to anyone!

1 month ago

It won't knock your socks off but pretty nonetheless!

hiking
1 month ago

Lovely hike through the woods. We got to the trailhead at 8:30am (on a Monday), and there was only one other car in the parking lot. We only saw 8 other people on the trail the whole hike. The incline out is not overly steep, but is steady (there are only a few short plateaus the whole hike out). The elevation makes it a challenge. (The hike starts at 9,307' with a 1,987 gain to 11,564 at the peak.) There's a gorgeous and huge aspen grove the first mile or so. No mountain views -- the walk is in the forest the whole time -- but it was very shady and that lush woods is its own beauty. (No flowers -- might be too shady.) It wasn't buggy when we left, but there were a good amount of mosquitoes at the lower elevation by the time we left. We hiked for about 4 hours.

hiking
1 month ago

It was a great hike steep at first still wild flowers along the trail saw bunnies humming birds and chip minis only 8.5 miles tracked just over 1800 feet of elevation!

1 month ago

Not many people, exposed to sun.

hiking
1 month ago

The incline is intense the first mile or two, and the scenery leaves a bit to be desired. once you reach the top, the views are gorgeous. there are places to sit and have a picnic and rest before you head back down. The trail has plenty of shade, and the creek offered the chance for our pup to cool down. I thought this followed the creek, but you really only cross it twice. Arrived around 8a on a Saturday and only saw about 10 people total. Fun hike!

hiking
1 month ago

First mile gains as much as the next 3 but is thankfully shady. Lots of sun further along. Spied a moose grazing at the end of trail in the chest high scrub brush. Beautiful day. Highly recommend. Only saw 8 others.

1 month ago

Great hike! The aspen grove at the beginning is breathtaking. I’d love to go back and see it in the fall. Nice wildflowers, beautiful scenery and just the right amount of steep. Our tracking said 5 miles to the meadow at the top.

1 month ago

6/21/18: So pretty! On the way up, the first half is an aspen forest with steeper incline, and the second half is an evergreen forest and levels out occasionally. It tops out around tree line. Lots of wildflowers especially in the aspens and near the top. Limited water; access only near the trailhead, a little stream on the way, and another near the top, so bring extra for dogs that get hot. The majority of the trail is partially shaded. Passed 5ish groups early PM weekday.

2 months ago

Beautiful uphill trail with healthy aspens and wildflowers.

2 months ago

We hiked on 6/16/18 and the wild flowers were in full bloom on the entire trail. Beautiful hike!

hiking
2 months ago

I recommend starting in the early morning (we began at 8:30) before the parking lot fills up and to maximize shade. The first half of the hike is steeper and rockier than the latter half. You’ll enjoy several beautiful, shady Aspen groves on the way up, which then turn into evergreens and wildflowers. Once you clear tree line you have a beautiful view of Grey Wolf and the surrounding peaks and several shady spots to sit with a snack and relax. Overall it was a good workout but not completely draining.

2 months ago

Beautiful trail with lots of wildflowers and gorgeous views.

2 months ago

Nice trail not too strenuous in my opinion but I was definitely beat after. Like most of the comments, no snow on the trails. Wildflowers are present but I bet in a few weeks it will be even more spectacular. Very green and beautiful nonetheless.

2 months ago

Most of the el cation gain is on the first 2 -3ilea. Then it levels out. It’s all shaded in the woods so the climb is nice and cool. From photos I’ve seen, the tarn is lovely. However, with the low snow levels this winter, it’s pretty dried up. Bummer. The mountains s are lovely though.

hiking
2 months ago

Nice hike not too far form Denver. Steady climb for four miles to the "hole" with quite few rocky, steep spots. Mostly through the woods with a few creek crossings. Payoff at the end (and you will know when it ends) is nice with some good lunch spots. Not too crowded even on Memorial Day Weekend.

2 months ago

Really good hike. Snow is thawed out on the whole trail. Views at the top are great.

2 months ago

absolutely beautiful! no snow
left anywhere!

hiking
3 months ago

May 15. Very little snow; less than 1% left on the top part of the trail. You must hike until the end...the views are beautiful. Great place to have lunch. First 3.5 miles are all up hill. Enjoy. Instagram ec_boyd

hiking
3 months ago

We hiked this trail today. Was amazing! Still some snow up top and good hiking shoes needed for sure as some of the piles are still deep. Also some water crossing you will get wet if not careful. This trail is a lot of up up up for the first 3 miles. But it’s worth it. We didn’t actually see anyone else out there til we were on our way back, which is perfect for those of us that like the path less taken. Happy Trails!

hiking
3 months ago

Excellent hike through pine forest opening up at the top in a meadow with mountains directly to the south and to the east. The incline is steady throughout and gentle enough to make the entire trip fairly relaxing, yet with enough climb to get the heart going! Snow patches are frequent after about 10,600 feet. Snowshoes weren't necessary, neither were spikes. Although I think the trip would have been a little more comfortable with some gators to help keep the feet dry. The end of the marked trail lands you in an area that would be ripe for further exploration, but we were short on time and so we headed back down after
a snack and a sit at the top. The way down was quite a bit sloppier than the way up as the afternoon sun encouraged more rapid snowmelt. The whole journey took us around 4.5 hours including a short break at the top.

hiking
3 months ago

Didn't make it all the way there but that's okay! Very pretty views. My buddy and I had a bit of a hard time finding the trailhead for some reason, but its in the middle of the picnic area to the right next to a no camping sign.

hiking
4 months ago

We didn't make it to the end today unfortunately so I'll have to come back someday and see what lies ahead but I enjoyed the part of this trail I did hike (about 2miles in)! It was pretty icy today 4/15, we went without traction but it would have been really helpful. The parking lot is a pretty decent size and they have bathrooms (that appear to be open in winter!) The trail is decently steep for the beginning, lots of uphill and you're mostly in the trees so not a whole lot to look at right away but there is a nice picnic area and also a stream at the beginning! The road in wasn't terrible either, a regular car could probably make it but I would recommend taking it slow!

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