Hell Hole Reservoir 4×4 Trail Review
Hell Hole Reservoir 4×4 Trail Quick Info:
Difficulty (1-10): 5-7 (33″ tires and one locker recommended)
Distance: 5.5 Miles
Apprx. Travel Time: 3 hours
Type of Trail: In and Out, Rock Crawling Sections
Directions to TrailHead: Directions on Google Maps
Governing Authority: El Dorado National Forest
Sponsoring Club: Capital City Mountain Goat 4WD Club
Typical Operating Season: April 1 through Oct 31
Last Fuel Stop: Sierra Mini Mart, Forest Hill
Last Starbucks Stop for JK Owners: It’s the last one!
Ham Radio Repeaters: KA6GWY 146.805- pl 123 Hz
Fire Permits: Help Prevent Wild Fires!
Last Updated: 8/1/18
– Eleven Pines Rd is currently closed. You will need to drive up to French Meadows Reservoir via Mosquito Ridge Rd through Forest Hill, and then down to Hell Hole. However construction has finally started to repair the road. Check current road conditions HERE
– If the reservoir is full, you will not be able to camp at the end of the Hell Hole 4×4 Trail. Check current reservoir levels by calling the Georgetown Ranger District
Hell Hole Reservoir 4×4 Trail GPX and KML/KMZ Files
We personally prefer Gaia GPS for all of our trail mapping needs. Get a membership (20% off for My Off Road Radio readers if you follow this link!), and then you can either upload one of the files below into your Gaia account, or click on this link here and save our public Gaia GPS Folder to your own folders. Then go hit the trails!
Hell Hole Reservoir 4×4 Trail Review
Don’t let the long drive time dissuade you from this picturesque trail in the High Sierras! Even with a 2.5 hour drive FROM the freeway, this trail can still be done in a day. We prefer to make this trail into an overnight or weekend trip. If the reservoir is low, then there are tons of hiking and wheeling opportunities below the waterline. Please remember to Tread Lightly!
The trail itself is short, and not extremely difficult, but it does offer its couple of challenges. It is very narrow, and quite steep in most places. There are very few places to allow other vehicles to pass.
The Rock Creek is a rocky, boulder, creek section, with a tight, water logged turn. The silt and water combine to make traction extremely difficult in this section. If you decide to use a winch, please remember to use a tree strap!
The Ledges are the other hair raising section on this trail. While, not extremely difficult, it is a very steep section with 3-4ft granite ledges. Longer wheelbases will have a much easier time than shorter wheelbases.
If the reservoir water level is high, then camping is extremely limited on the trail. If the reservoir is low, then camping in the reservoir is plentiful. Please make sure to tread lightly and pack out all of your trash and bodily fluids. Getting human waste contamination below the water line can be devastating for local ecologies.
For camping, your best bet is the Hell Hole Campground located 1/4mile from the Trail Head.
Hell Hole Reservoir 4×4 Obstacles
The Rock Creek
Hell Hole Reservoir 4×4 Points of Interest
The Hell Hole Campground is located less than a 1/4 mile from the trailhead. There is currently no potable water, so bring your own. Campsites are $5.00 per night until the water is fixed, and are on a first come first serve basis. No reservations.
Cottonwood Creek Camp Site
This is a little (2-3 vehicles max) camp site right on Cottonwood Creek. There is no potable water, no bathrooms, and no fires allowed here. Camp stoves are okay with a fire permit. Please tread lightly, and pack out all of your trash and human waste. This is the only camp site that is physically located on the trail. If it is available, we recommend grabbing it.
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And, of course, don’t forget to check out our MORRFlate 4 Tire Off Road Inflation Deflation Kit!