Hells Hole Trail is a forest that buzzes with life. It’s early morning, and the sun peaks through the trees lighting up the trail ahead. Bird song fills the air with abundant wildflowers and lush greens; this hike is about being in the woods.
My head is swirling in all directions as we gaze above at the canopy of trees and below as we make our way into a path lined with a rainbow of colorful wildflowers.
Just minutes up the trail is a large picnic area alongside bubbling Chicago Creek before we head into an Aspen forest shimmering in the sun.
The incline increases, and it’s a rocky, steep path ahead through the Aspens for a couple of miles.
Suddenly the Aspens are gone, and a dense pine forest greets us. The temperature drops, it’s quiet, and we are still climbing at a steady pace.
Numerous snowmelt areas cross the trail making for bridges and hopping rocks crossings.
We contemplate returning, thinking the trail has no destination after 4 miles of hiking. However, just when we thought it was only forested, mountain peak views began to appear.
We soon popped out of the forest into a glacier cirque with stunning meadows and mountainous views.
The hike was slightly challenging, with minimal views, yet a shady and peaceful trek through the woods.
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Hells Hole Trailhead is just past Chicago Creek Campground. You will find a large parking area and a restroom. There is no signage for Hells Hole Trail but it becomes obvious when you arrive.
Chicago Lakes Trail
Chief Mountain Trail
Watrous Trail to Mt Parnassus 13er