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Hell Canyon

Average Rating:    (4.17 of 5)

No. of Reviews: 6

This trail starts with a steep climb for around half a mile and then circles the canyon. As you make your way back to the trailhead you will encounter some very rocky areas and a few creek crossings. This trail is a loop ride.
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Latitude
43.7382746105193
Longitude
-103.84575605392456
Trail Directions
From Custer take Hwy 16 west. Just after you pass Jewel Cave National Monument look for the trailhead on the right side of the road.
Trail Length
5.5 miles
Trail Level
Intermediate
Trail Type
Singletrack
City/County
Custer
   


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Reviews 1 - 5 (6 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5

Review Date
October 8, 2006

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 5 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 5 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a year

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Reviewed by: guyincognito ,  Weekend Warrior

Summary:
One of the more difficult trails in BH. If you like rocks and cliffs this trail is for you. Rode the trail a few times and have taken it both ways. Went up the long winding hillside this time to start and did some major bike hiking about half way up. Trail get narrow and rocky around the ridge which make manipulating the rocks tough and challenging. Bit it over the handle bars a few times and about last a bike down the ledge. Great technical ride with the bottom section fast downhill with lots of rock and no water stream beds. Took our crew about 1 3/4 with some major R&R after some tumbles on the cliffs. Would recommend for anyone looking for a fun challenge

Recommended Route:
I have gone both ways and they both offer some fun parts. Starting up the hill to the left of the parking makes a tough start up the long hill but makes the bottom half of the trail all down hill with some nice rocky sections and some nice turns. I prefer taking the bottom first and taking the .6 mile downhill last. The down hill you will see when you come in to your left. It is fast and furious ride down a steep switchback, rock and log ridden trail. Just hold and and pray.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Any trail in the BH is fun. You can't go wrong with any part of the centennial. I also enjoyed lovers leap and the canyon trail taking the off trail system. If your looking for a tough trail try the stockade lake trail in Custer Park. It is a 1 1/2 mile loop that makes you feel like you been riding a bike all day.



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Review Date
November 14, 2004

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 3 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 5 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: ajmiller ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
Awesome Ride. One of my top five in the BH if not for so many downed trees. The 1st 0.6 miles is tough- many rocky stair steps. It can be cleaned if you can do rocky uphill stair steps. My friend and I tossed about 30 trees off the trail. The ride itself is awesome. I wouldn't call it exposer, but some riding against sheer rock and views of the canyons are great. The canyon floor runs the dry creek bed and was more technical than expected. Hopefully, the forest service will clear some trees as this would enhance the ride significantly.

Recommended Route:
Clockwise

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Paha Sapa- too bad the logging fouled it up
Iron creek horse camp to french creek horse camp



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Review Date
June 1, 2004

Overall Rating
 2 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 3 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 5 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: lgoat ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
as noted in other reviews, this trail was involved in a large hot forest fire in 2000. last spring we had alot of flooding in the canyon. places that you could drive a car up through the canyon now have 4 foot deep by 20 foot wide gullies. most the trail is no longer manitained and so the upper sections are getting narrow on the steep cross sections and after (or during) a wind or rain even expect many trees to be down, as the black trees are rotting and falling at a high rate now.



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Review Date
July 17, 2003

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 5 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 5 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: Duke Nukem69 ,  Cross Country Rider , from Springfield, IL USA

Summary:
If you are Hans Rey or Jeff Lenosky then this is the trail for you. I called the Forest Service before I rode it and they are "not recommending" riding this trail past the doubletrack on the canyon rim. They have had a very wet spring in the Black Hills and the ledge below the rim on the way down into the canyon has had the supporting earth washed away. The rain also caused deep erosion of the streambed area that is the last two to three miles of the trail if ridden counter clockwise. The climb is more than brutal. Hell Canyon is very aptly named. The fire has left burnt pine trees strewn along the climb. They can be bunny hopped on the way back down, but they are rough on the way up. The plants have come back from the fire, but the pines have a ways to go yet. There are several spots on the climb that are hairy. The FS has tried to shore up the areas that have sloughed off, but it is still very narrow in these spots. The person I talked to at the FS stated that once you get on top of the canyon you are pretty much allowed to ride anywhere you want. I found some fire roads and trails that varied from packed gravel to dirt and grass doubletrack that disappeared into a meadow (Forest Road 1E).

Recommended Route:
Counter clockwise to the doubletrack until the Forest Service finalizes what type of repairs they will make to the streambed area. Several other forest and fire roads on top of the canyon. 1E was the coolest. Turn right off the doubletrack onto the gravel road. 1E is on your left about a half mile away.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
For some easy spinning the Michelson trail from Custer to Hill City is cool.
Anything in Custer State Park.



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Review Date
May 13, 2001

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: Kevin Whyte , from Custer SD 57730

Summary:
The trail itself is great and it should really be some interesting scenery when it is reopened. If you've already done it, do it again because it will be brand new.

Recommended Route:
Check with the FS before you plan to hit this trail. The Jasper fire last year originated about a mile and a half west of it and it got toasted. Right now (May 13, 2001) it's still closed and they haven't set a projected open date.



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Reviews 1 - 5 (6 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5

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