Hell Canyon

Distance: 5.8m round trip | Climb: 791ft | Surface: dirt, rocks

Star Rating

Trail Addict Rating: 5 11 ratings

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Experience

If you like a little more challenging hike with some gorgeous views and some water for the dog, this is your trail! We would not recommend this trail if the day is going to be much more than 80 degrees (unless you start very early in the morning). Over half of the trail has no shade and once you get into the shade you are deep in the canyon and there is no breeze, so it can feel a bit stifling. We recommend hiking this trail in a clockwise direction. You will start on a rocky climb and finish along a creek. There are a couple of areas you will need to cross the creek. We hiked this in August and the crossings were easy to navigate without getting wet. We could see this being more difficult in the spring when there is bound to be more moisture in the canyon.

Directions

  • Take Hwy 16 West out of Custer approx. 13 miles.
  • You will see a sign for the trailhead on your right about a mile after you pass Jewel Cave National Monument.

Reminder: To use this map on your route, make sure to download this gpx file into your favorite mapping app. in case you lose cellular connection.

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11 Comments

  1. 5

    A very unique trail experience.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Hell Canyon

  2. 5

    Excellent variety of terrain and views. We went in the spring and the flowers were spectacular. I recommend following the stream up the canyon and returning via the rim. We picked up a lot of ticks in the alpine portion so check yourself!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.3
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Hell Canyon

  3. 4

    Pretty rocky trail in spots. Unique beauty.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.8
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Hell Canyon

  4. 5

    Love this trail! From the canyon floor to walking the rimrock, this trail is a blast! A real “all in one package” with views of mixed forest below climbing into the rocky rim and passing through grasslands above. Great views all around. A real treat!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.8
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Hell Canyon

  5. 5

    Great trail! Did over Easter, still a lot of snow!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.58
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Hell Canyon

  6. 5

    Found Heaven today in Hell Canyon! So many wild flowers and around every corner is a gorgeous view.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 6
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Hell Canyon

  7. 4

    Trail was great, completed it counter clockwise as I didn’t see the entrance to the trail in order to go clockwise. When I go again I will go the other direction.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.4
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Hell Canyon

  8. 5

    A great hot 5+ mile hike today at Hell Canyon. A wonderful breeze kept the heat at bay for most of the hike. Did run into three Bighorn Sheep when we were at the bottom of the canyon, they were slowly climbing along the top of the canyon. There was no water at the creek today, completely dried up, but the small spring was flowing at the spring box. Rasberrys galore! Snacked pretty much half the hike. Beware of the canyon bottom… there are ticks about.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.74
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Hell Canyon

  9. 4

    Almost like two different hikes with all the changing views. If you start clockwise it will start off steep and sunny, the other way shade lot of grass slow change in elevation.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 6
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Hell Canyon

  10. 5

    We love Hell Canyon! We hiked in a clockwise direction, so we started with a steep scramble up the hillside. From there it seemed like a pretty run-of-the-mill trail until we found ourselves on a narrow path clinging to the edge of a cliff. I had to admonish my backpack kid to stop squirming a few times in the really narrow spots. We took plenty of amazing pictures on our way to the canyon floor, where we enjoyed being a little cooler on a hot summer day.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.8
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Hell Canyon

  11. 5

    Great loop in the spring, there was a lot of snow but it was a great loop to do.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed again
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3.5
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Hell Canyon

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