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Thoughts on backpacking Hellhole Canyon. Messages in this topic - RSS

dsrt_dave
dsrt_dave
Posts: 9


3/7/2019
dsrt_dave
dsrt_dave
Posts: 9
Hello,

I am thinking of backpacking hellhole canyon this weekend. This would be my first solo backpacking trip, and the thought of spending the night, alone, in the canyon does give me a bit of the creeps. I was wondering if it would make more sense to hike out to maidenhair falls and return to the desert floor, near the entrance of the Canyon (before it narrows), and set up camp. Does this seem like a good idea? Sorry if this question sounds dumb, I just wanted to see what you all think.
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ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 758


3/8/2019
ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 758
Welcome to the forum. The drive to the trail-head is inherently more dangerous than backpacking alone. I feel safer camping in Anza Borrego than I do sleeping in my house in the city. I have not camped in that area of the park, but see no reason to not try it, especially if you are familiar with it and are comfortable there. In your choice of tent-sites (if you're using a tent), just avoid obvious drainages and animal-use trails. Take photos and let us know how it goes with a trip report. - Jim
edited by ziphius on 3/8/2019

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dsrt_dave
dsrt_dave
Posts: 9


3/8/2019
dsrt_dave
dsrt_dave
Posts: 9
ziphius wrote:
Welcome to the forum. The drive to the trail-head is inherently more dangerous than backpacking alone. I feel safer camping in Anza Borrego than I do sleeping in my house in the city. I have not camped in that area of the park, but see no reason to not try it, especially if you are familiar with it and are comfortable there. In your choice of tent-sites (if you're using a tent), just avoid obvious drainages and animal-use trails. Take photos and let us know how it goes with a trip report. - Jim
edited by ziphius on 3/8/2019


Hello jim, I completely agree, driving is probably the most dangerous activity almost all undertake. It is just my first time backpacking alone, so I am running all the possible scenarios in my head. Admittedly, I have never hiked into Hellhole Canyon before, just seen it from the Culp Valley area. I have actually thought of possibly switching it up a bit and hiking up to Culp Valley, via Hellohole Canyon, and set camp somewhere up there and come back down the CRHT the next day. This of course will depend on how I feel and how late in the day it is when I reach the upper part of the canyon, but it seems doable based on another trip report I read on. Regardless, I will definitely report back on the trip. Thank you!
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ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 758


3/8/2019
ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 758
Culp Valley is a lovely area, can be windy. I've hiked to Culp from Hellhole, nice trip. What solo backpacking scenario scares you most?

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http://www.coyotelearning.org
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dsrt_dave
dsrt_dave
Posts: 9


3/8/2019
dsrt_dave
dsrt_dave
Posts: 9
ziphius wrote:
Culp Valley is a lovely area, can be windy. I've hiked to Culp from Hellhole, nice trip. What solo backpacking scenario scares you most?


Yeah, Culp Valley is great, I spent a couple of nights car camping up there last year and did the Culp Valley loop trail hike. I guess, the usual stuff one really shouldn't worry about, like mountain lions, and specific to the canyon area, flash flooding. I know it is all super unlikely, like you said, the drive is way more dangerous. Any tips on hiking up to culp valley from hellhole canyon? Did you follow the canyon that branches off to Pena springs or did you just hike up the canyon wall?
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Buford
Buford
Posts: 196


3/8/2019
Buford
Buford
Posts: 196
Hiking through Hellhole from Maidenhair to Culp is probably tough due to bushwhacking and elevation gain. It may not be fun with a full pack. How much adventure are you up for? What kind of shape are you in?

To get from Culp to Hellhole you can use the easy to follow CRHT. It does not go through the canyon but the ridge above it.

There are big kitties all over the park. I've yet to see one.

In my opinion, lower Hellhole canyon is not the best backpacking location. There are limited spots in the canyon near Maidenhair. Since it is close to water it will probably be buggy and damp. It is well used. Good day hike though, if a bit crowded. Camping is probably better outside the mouth of the canyon.

dsefcik posted a whole bunch of backpacking options on here recently for easyish overnighters.
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dsrt_dave
dsrt_dave
Posts: 9


3/8/2019
dsrt_dave
dsrt_dave
Posts: 9
Buford wrote:
Hiking through Hellhole from Maidenhair to Culp is probably tough due to bushwhacking and elevation gain. It may not be fun with a full pack. How much adventure are you up for? What kind of shape are you in?

To get from Culp to Hellhole you can use the easy to follow CRHT. It does not go through the canyon but the ridge above it.

There are big kitties all over the park. I've yet to see one.

In my opinion, lower Hellhole canyon is not the best backpacking location. There are limited spots in the canyon near Maidenhair. Since it is close to water it will probably be buggy and damp. It is well used. Good day hike though, if a bit crowded. Camping is probably better outside the mouth of the canyon.

dsefcik posted a whole bunch of backpacking options on here recently for easyish overnighters.


Hmmm. Well, I am not in the best shape, but I do have experience putting in miles and elevation gain with a full pack on me, but not really with bushwacking. I really want to visit hellhole canyon, but at the same time I am really liking the idea of setting camp in Culp Valley. I got a low clearance 2WD vehicle, so my options are limited. Might just try going up the CRHT this go around.
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Buford
Buford
Posts: 196


3/8/2019
Buford
Buford
Posts: 196
I would just go for it. Don’t go further than you can turn comfortably around and make it out.

It’s tough recommending things for other people when you don’t know what their limits are. For the past couple years I have done the sheep count. Every year there have been some people in over their head with the off trail hiking to get to the count site.

I have been in the main fork and north fork of upper Hellhole due north of Pena Spring. I remember there was a lot of brush and bushwhacking in the drainages at the time. One good flood or fire could change everything.
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ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 758


3/9/2019
ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 758
What Buford said about the bushwhacking and terrain. I took the drainage and then canyon wall route up to Culp, with a day pack and it wasn't what I'd call an easy walk. Have never taken the CHRT up there, but that would be best option. I'd even consider backpacking one of the drainages near Big Spring for your 1st overnighter, relatively flat and great views. You could test out your water filtration gear at the same time.

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http://www.coyotelearning.org
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Buford
Buford
Posts: 196


3/10/2019
Buford
Buford
Posts: 196
How was it? I drove by Saturday afternoon. The parking lot was full and people were parked out on Montezuma. Looked crowded.

I was trying to avoid town completely but Banner Grade was closed.
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dsrt_dave
dsrt_dave
Posts: 9


3/10/2019
dsrt_dave
dsrt_dave
Posts: 9
Made it up to Culp Valley via Hellhole Canyon. It was a butt kicker. Returned the next day (today) down the CRHT.
http://imgur.com/i2YMwgf
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