Hell Hole Basin

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 40.76240°N / 110.8568°W
Additional Information Route Type: Scramble
Additional Information Time Required: One to two days
Additional Information Difficulty: Class 2
Sign the Climber's Log


Park across the street from the Gold Hill Road, which is located along State Highway 150 43 miles northeast of Kamas or 35 miles south of Evanston.

This is the old access, but a shorter route is now available.

Access to the trail is also available by going down Christmas Meadows Road (057) off of Mirror Lake Highway (Route 150)for one mile then turning right onto the oil exploration road. You may park by the gate (DO NOT BLOCK THE GATE) and continue south down the road, where it will tie into the trail.

The trail to Hell Hole Lake is known as Main Fork Stillwater Trail on USDA Forest Service maps and you can now drive to the below trail turnoff.

Route Description

This is the easiest way up Kletting and A-1 peaks. This once was one of my favorite basins in the Rockies. Sadly, in the mid 1990’s a conspicuous oil exploration road was ripped through the area adjacent to the wilderness area. At the time (1996), it seemed the oil company made no efforts at all to lessen the impact of the road, but it's better now.

From the trailhead, follow the old 4wd road east. Apparently the resident beaver did not like the added vehicle noise, and dammed the creek, flooding the road in several places. Score 1 for Mother Nature. Continue along the old road/trail through the forest. Eventually, you will reach the fairly new (1996) oil exploration road and chain-link fence.

Updates from SP member summitbeth as of 2021:

If you park opposite Gold Hill Road, you'll hike about 1.2 miles on an abandoned road/trail until you meet the oil exploration road, which is smoothly graded. When you are just setting out it may be difficult to avoid getting your feet wet, but it may be possible if you get off the trail. After the first bit, it's all dry except for a few muddy spots.
You will then hike 1.5 miles on the graded road until you get to a bridge over the Main Fork that flows out of Hell Hole Lake. Immediately before the bridge there is a trail to the right (not left) going upstream. There is a sign that simply says "trail".

The trail has evidence of past maintenance but could stand more, as there is blowdown here and there.

Turn right and follow the road south along Main Fork Creek. Watch carefully for the trail off to the left that parallels the road a ways before leaving it. Follow the trail. The trail leads you to Hell Hole Lake, which is in a beautiful setting with Kletting and A-1 peaks towering above. There are good campsites around the lake.  The distance from the trailhead to the lake is about 6 miles.  

To reach the summit of Kletting Peak, head south to the base of the rocky ridge, aiming for the saddle between Kletting and A-1 peaks. Climb through the boulders up to the saddle. From the saddle, boulder-hop west to the summit. You might as well climb A-1 Peak on the same trip since they are both near each other.

Essential Gear

A good pair of boots is needed.



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.