Sunday, July 7, 2013
Hells Hole Trail, Mt. Evans Wilderness
Hells Hole Trail
Mount Evans Wilderness, Arapaho National Forest
Date Hiked: July 7, 2013
Distance: 8.4 miles (RT)
Elevation Gain: 2,046ft
Elevation Min/Max: 9,656 to 11,560ft
Trailhead Lat/Long: 39.677921 N; 105.660061 W
Managing Agency: U.S. Forest Service
Directions: From Denver, head west on I-70 to Idaho Springs. Take the Mount Evans exit and travel southwest on 103, Chicago Creek Road. Make a right on W. Chicago Creek Road a dirt road that is passable to 2 WD vehicles. Follow the road to the end where there is a large parking area and a Forest Service campground.
The trail is a straight shot, no switchbacks, no turns, just follow the trail until it literally, ends. You start out in beautiful aspen forest with abundant wildflowers if the timing is right. This trail, I've heard, is fantastic in the fall. You cross a few creeks, ascend to some ridges, but mostly hike through the forest. The trail opens up towards the end, and while you never do break treeline, it feels like it as you approach Hells Hole. Hells Hole is just a small flat area that at one time must have been a lake, now a grassy flatland at the foot of Greywolf Mountain. There are plenty of old wind blown pines (bristlecone maybe?) to make for a very surreal location. Take in the scenery and follow the trail back to the trailhead. While this trail lacks the jagged alpine wonder of other nearby trails in the Mt. Evans Wilderness (see the Chicago Creek Trail) it does provide for a wonderful escape into the wilderness and showcases the understated beauty of this area without the crowds of Mount Evans Road.