Hells Hole

Round Trip Distance: 4-10 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 5700 - 5983 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 1-4 hrs.
Trailhead: Bangs Canyon Staging Area
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic solitude

The Hell's Hole trail is located in the BLM Bangs Canyon Management Area near Grand Junction, Colorado. The trail begins off of the Tabeguache trail and travels east along an old jeep road for 2 miles. The trail comes to a dead end on a hill above a wash where the remainder of the road was washed out long ago. Several primitive campsites are nestled near large boulders for those thinking about an overnight stay.

Hells Hole begins at the 3 mile point of the Bangs Canyon section of the Tabeguache trail. That makes the overall round trip distance for Hells Hole come out to about 10 miles.

The trail makes a little dip in elevation as it starts out but quickly begins climbing as it progresses away from the Tabeguache trail.

The elevation profile shows an initial uphill climb followed by a little downhill and then another more gradual bump that the trail has over the course of the first mile. From there it is a steady descent to the turnaround point.

At first a few of the hills are a little steep. Distance wise they don't amount to much so all it takes is a little effort to make quick work of them. We were doing the trail on mountain bikes for this post. OHV's will generally have an easy time of it. It is all a piece of cake compared to what the Tabeguache trail had to offer just to get here.

The climb quickly gets a lot easier after the first hill or two.

There is a picturesque little bentonite hill sitting in a bowl off to the right of the trail.

The trail gets pretty easy as it continues. There are a lot of nice stretches of smooth dirt track intermingled with rougher rocky sections.

Stay to the left at the 1 mile point to continue on to the end of the route.

There is a rocky outcrop near the trail on a small knoll that has something that looks similar to pillow lava or some type of volcanic ash that may have been underwater when deposited.

Along the way there are a few sheltered places near large boulders where primitive campsites can be found.

The route comes to an end after a couple of miles. If we would have been hiking we may have decided to explore further but as it is all mountain bikes and OHV's have to turn around at this point.

By itself Hells Hole is interesting and definitely one of those out of the way places that most people never make it to. The Bangs Canyon area when taken collectively is a treasure trove of scenic sites and wonders. This picture was taken from the Tabeguache trail while enroute to Hells Hole. The waterfall plunges about 150 feet, landing in one pool, and then cascading from there down to another pool at the base of the cliffs.

You can hike in along Ladder creek to the base of the falls or, if you know the proper route, you can come over the side down from the Rough Canyon trailhead to get there. The cliffs can be very dangerous so take care. By itself Hells Hole only requires a moderate amount of effort. Getting to and from it though is a very strenuous ordeal if you are hiking or biking. For those that are looking for an intense aerobic workout on a mountain bike the climb out of Rough Canyon from Ladder Creek to the trailhead should satisfy anyone's lust for self torture. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your bike or your favorite OHV toy and 'Take a hike'.