Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

Hells Hole Trail is a 9.3 mile heavily 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.

Length 9.3 mi Elevation gain 1,916 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Cross country skiing

Hiking

Horseback riding

Nature trips

Snowshoeing

Walking

Bird watching

Running

Forest

River

Views

Wild flowers

Rocky

Snow

Description
Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

This is a very popular trail leading up into the glacial cirque known as Hell's 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.

Arapaho National Forest, Clear Creek Ranger District, 101 Highway 103, P.O. Box 3307, Idaho Springs, Colorado 80452 - Phone: 303-567-3000

Drive 6.5 miles south of Idaho Springs on Highway 103 to the West Chicago Creek Road. Turn right on the West Chicago Creek Road and drive for another 3 miles. The trailhead starts where the road ends. Walk right through the Chicago Creek Picnic Area.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (639)
Photos (726)
Recordings (451)
Completed (1093)
Meredith G.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 11 2020
Hiking

Really great hike. Started at 7:30 and chilled hands warmed up quickly. Made it to the top in 2:20 hours, hung out enjoying the view and down, making it a 5 hour journey. There’s some steep sections, but no annoying switchbacks. You just keep going up and out. Great views. Not too busy at all and we went on a Saturday. I’d do this again.

Shannon Barton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jul 11 2020
HikingBugsRocky
View Shannon's Recording
Foster Hill
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 11 2020
HikingBugs

Great trail, the pictures of the end don’t do it justice!!! First 2.5miles is by far the toughest then it’s smooth sailings from there. I’d recommend starting early if you want to avoid people; started at 7am, and was headed down by 9am passing 70+ people going up.

View Foster's Recording
Betsy LaCroix
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed Jul 08 2020
HikingBugsRocky

Nice trail, I especially like the aspen groves at the beginning and the bristle cone pine groves by the cirque. The little lake at the top has nearly dried up and there aren’t many wildflowers along the forested portion of the trail, just at the cirque and aspens. There were quite a few biting flies, so wear bug spray.

Carol Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jun 29 2020
Hiking

It may be called Hell’s Hole, but it’s a little slice of heaven. Don’t let the chatter about steepness dissuade you. Slow and steady. The steeper sections tend to be short in length. The views don’t fully open up until the very end, and it’s gloriously rewarding. Lovely wildflowers and aspen groves along the way. Really enjoyed the noble bristlecones pines at the cirque! Started at 9am on a Monday. There were 11 other cars in the lot. We started around same time as three other groups but we soon spaced out. Really didn’t find the trail too crowded. Had the cirque to ourselves for a good 20 minutes before other groups arrived.

Lisa St
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Jun 28 2020
HikingRocky

Did this Saturday 6/27. Started at 2pm and finished at 6:15 after spending about 20 minutes at the end. Barely any people on the trail, especially towards the end. Large parking lot. About 60-70% full and just about empty at 6. Outhouse at trailhead. No snow, barely any mud, just around the stream crossings. Mostly tree covered trail. Pretty straightforward and easy to follow. I’d call it moderate, not hard. It’s just a little steep for 2 miles, but not horrible.

Kim W User
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 28 2020
Hiking

Completed this on 6/27/2020. Wildflowers were beautiful and everything was very green. Not a lot of people on this trail. Spent about 30 min at the top eating lunch and had the entire place to ourselves. Would also be a great hike during aspen season. Not an easy hike -very steep in places. Took us 6.75 hours but we stopped a lot and took pics and we are in our 50-60’s.

Megan Holton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 28 2020
Hiking

Excellent hike! Very moderate with a well maintained trail! I arrived around 8am on a Sunday and about 6 cars in the lot. Highly recommend for an easy hike!

View Megan's Recording
Dan Huvane
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSun Jun 28 2020
Hiking

Definitely avoid this one...too crowded

View Dan's Recording
Savannah Putnam
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 28 2020
HikingGreat!

Super beautiful hike! Definitely a moderate hike - it was pretty smooth, and not insanely steep. The top is really nice but there aren't a lot of places to sit without impacting the alpine. Not as busy as I had feared from the reviews. Got there Saturday night, camped moderately close to the trailhead (within the designated backcountry camping areas, about a 40 minute hike in), and hiked Sunday morning. Not too many mosquitoes, too.

Taylor Dunlap
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jun 23 2020

Great trail, the aspen forests are so beautiful, and the views at the top are a nice spot to relax for a bit.

Heather Jacobs
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 21 2020

Did this hike 6/20. Gorgeous hike in the trees most of the way. Not many people at 7am but more on the way back down, but had the trail to our selves for long stretches. It is uphill most of the way, the first 2 miles the most strenuous. The top was gorgeous and windy, would recommend layering.

Dani Warly
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 21 2020
Hiking

This is a beautiful, well-maintained and easy to follow trail. Be aware- the first mile or two can be steep in spots but it is completely doable. The terrain isn’t particularly rough, it’s just steep. Please don’t be discouraged! It eventually smooths out to beautiful rolling trail, so after that tough bit is done, the rest of the hike- the way to the top and the way down- is a breeze. It was not particularly crowded; the parking lot seemed full but we felt pretty secluded on the path and there was only one other group at the top. Bring a jacket and a rain coat, as it is much cooler at the top and afternoon thunderstorms are frequent.

Michael Levine
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jun 20 2020
Hiking

Just did this trail 6/20. Great hike with absolutely beautiful views at the top, but this trail was not the same length / elevation gain as listed on All Trails. We started at the listed trail head and only covered 8 miles and ~1,500 feet of gain all the way to the top. This is quite a bit less than what is listed.

Michael Levin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jun 20 2020
Hiking

The ending of the hike was phenomenal. Pictures could never do it justice. The trees on the hike were some of the most gnarly ones Ive ever seen.

View Michael 's Recording
Amy Anderson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jun 20 2020
HikingRocky

Gorgeous view after the steady 3 mi incline up. About 75% of the dogs I saw were off leash, so maybe leave any dominant pups at home if you do this popular hike.

View Amy's Recording
Diana Yu
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jun 18 2020
Hiking

Great trail, well maintained.

Jen Russo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 14 2020
Hiking

Beautiful hike Sunday morning! Got to the trailhead around 7am- not many people on the way up. You see the most elevation gain the first two miles, steadies out after that! Saw many more people on the way back... overall great hike and not as crowded as others tend to be.

Kristin George
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Jun 14 2020
HikingRocky

Gorgeous hike! No mud or snow on the trail on 6/14/20. We are late hikers, so plenty of parking when we arrived at 2 p.m. The first two miles are pretty steep, then it's a moderate grade. Lovely trek through aspens, pines, and wildflowers, culminating in a great 360 view. My Garmin said 9 miles.

Paulina Leon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jun 12 2020
Hiking

Great train, steady incline all the way. River at the beginning, great views on top, shady in the middle. We truly enjoyed it.

Vicky Petrauskas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jun 08 2020
Hiking

Beautiful ! Just enough to get your heart pumping

Susan Hersey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 07 2020
Hiking

Someone please tell Veronika Strmiskova to read up on her trail etiquette!!! UP HILL HIKERS GET THE RIDE OF WAY!!

rob gruetzke
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 07 2020
Hiking

Full parking lot when we arrived around noon. Beginning of trail was very crowded, lots of good boys and good girls off the leash. Great views at the top. Didn't see anyone our entire walk down in the afternoon.

View rob's Recording
Sam Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 07 2020
Hiking

Get ready for 2 miles of steep incline at the beginning before it mellows out. Trail was dry! All around great hike.

View Sam's Recording
Veronika Strmiskova
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSun Jun 07 2020
HikingOff trailRockyScramble

Trail is nothing extraordinary. To get there I recommend awd/4wd and a vehicle with higher clearance. My Subaru made it ok but it was a tad sketchy in parts. On the trail I counted 10 dogs without leashes and 3 bags of crap scattered along the trail. If you’re not gonna follow the rules or pick up after your pet, please leave them at home. Will I return to this trail? Probably not.

View Veronika's Recording
Dayna Johnson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jun 06 2020
HikingRocky

Started early with a light drizzle. Trail in good shape... beautiful through forest... Unable to finish d/t worsening weather.... looking forward to going back to complete the trail!

View Dayna's Recording
Showing results 1 - 26 of 639