Hell Hole Reservoir     
El Dorado National Forest  (View this site)
Difficulty Rating:  
* Trail Length:  
** Elevation Range:  
Operating Season:  
3.9 Miles - out & back
4637' - 5638'
Late Spring after the snow melt

Hell Hole is a relatively short trail for the long drive, but well worth the trip. The trail is steep and narrow with little opportunity to pass. The trail begins to the North and works its way East down to the reservoir, increasing in difficulty. Keep in mind that you will need to return the same way you came. If the trail becomes to difficult turn back before having to return back up the same tough obstacles.

The trail lets out on the shore of the reservoir in a fairly secluded location. Depending on the level of the reservoir there are additional difficult challenges in exploring the shoreline. Camping is allowed along the shore of the reservoir, so bring your fishing pole or kayak and make a weekend out of it!

Trailhead - Just after the Ranger maintenance station you will turn left onto Forest Road 24, aka 14N09, and the trailhead is immediately to the right. The trail marker is slightly farther down the trail.

There is potable water and vault toilets at near by Hell Hole Campground, if needed before you start the trail.

Trail Marker - You will roughly follow the power lines for the fist half mile of the trail. At this point you will come across the only trail marker.

Difficult Rock Garden - This point is the most difficult of the trail, without a doubt. There are several decent sized rocks to maneuver as you make your way down. Take careful consideration and turn around now if you have any doubts.

Remember once down this is the only way back out!

Rock Ledges - While the ledges are fairly steep they have pretty smooth approaches and departures. This section proved to look worse than it was for me. Use caution and minimize your speed

End of the Trail - The trail end on the shore of the reservoir and depending on the lake level there are plenty of rocks to play on around the shoreline. There are a few great places to camp just within the treeline.

Immediately after reaching the end of the trail there is a creek crossing before your reach the better camp spots. The creek maybe very difficult to ford depending on the creek and lake levels.

Trail Maps      

GPS Waypoints   (GPX)
El Dorado National Forest   (US Forest Service)
Bunker Hill   (USGS Topo)
Wentworth Springs   (USGS Topo)

Trail Photographs      

  (click to view)


Charles Wells: Guide to Northern California Backroads &...


From Interstate 80 (Sacramento - 100 Miles)
- Head East on I80 toward Reno (32 Miles)
- Exit CA 49 in the Town of Auburn
- Follow CA 49 to CA 193 (6.8 Miles)
- Continue on CA 193 toward Georgetown (12.2 Miles)
- Turn left at Main St / Wentworth Springs Rd (22.6 Miles)
- Turn left onto NF 2 (4.8 Miles)
- Continue on Eleven Pines Road (16.2 Miles)
- Slight right onto Hell Hole Road (5.6 Miles)
- Turn left on NF 24 and the trail head is immediately on your right

From Interstate 50 (South Lake Tahoe - 92.8 Miles)
- Head West on I50 toward Sacramento (35.3 Miles)
- Turn right onto Icehouse Road (22.7 Miles)
- Turn left at Wentworth Springs Road (8.3 Miles)
- Turn right at NF 2 (4.8 Miles)
- Continue on Eleven Pines Road (16.2 Miles)
- Slight right onto Hell Hole Road (5.6 Miles)
- Turn left on NF 24 and the trail head is immediately on your right

Waypoint Coordinates      

  Trailhead39° 04' 17.8" N- 120° 25' 10.9" W
  Trail Marker39° 04' 37.4" N- 120° 24' 48.9" W
  Difficult Rock Garden39° 05' 26.3" N- 120° 23' 40.6" W
  Rock Ledges39° 05' 24.9" N- 120° 22' 25.4" W
  End of the Trail39° 05' 22.4" N- 120° 21' 58.8" W