Herman Gulch Trail, a heart-pumping hike through fields of wildflowers, and landing at a crystal clear alpine lake surrounded by the Continental Divide Peaks.

One of the most sought after hikes in the front range of Colorado, for good reasons. I’ve often hiked here in the offseason but decided to try a summer day which turned out to be spectacular.


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Heart pumping right from the start for the first 3/4 mile with areas to pull off and enjoy the cascading waters from Clear Creek rushing down beside us.




Coming out of the trees into a long meadow laced with wildflowers in the lower gulch. Gorgeous!





Hiking back into the trees, the trail starts a steep climb as we get closer to breaking treeline. The views ahead of us are enticing. Can’t wait to see the lake. But we have a ways to go!



Coming upon a wide expanse of alpine tundra and dwarfed trees as we get up in elevation. The winds are getting a bit stronger and the air is getting thinner as the trail gets steeper.






Even for a seasoned hiker like myself, the final short push was slightly challenging. But, nothing like the final reward as we came over the ridge and before us was Herman Lake.

A trail you want to be prepared for with appropriate hiking gear. Check out  “What’s in Your Day Pack” for a list of items to consider anytime hiking.



I’ve only seen Herman Lake frozen and had no idea it was this beautiful and much bigger than I realized when covered in ice. Lots of large boulders to find your own space among the other hikers.

The water is like a mirror, so crystal clear you can see almost to the bottom.

Bring an extra layer of clothing. I had to put on my mid-weight top at the lake, even though I had been hot coming up the trail. Watch the skies too for any incoming changes in the weather. Can’t stress this enough. Weather change quickly at high altitude!




After lunch and a walk around the lake, we headed back to the trail and headed left from Herman Lake to explore what was beyond.





Hiking now towards the top of the Continental Divide, crossing little creeks, and trying not to stumble over the rocky terrain while viewing all the peaks surrounding us. Greeting us are my favorite little high country critters, marmots & pikas.

We have left most hikers behind at the lake and this became our favorite time on this hike. Highly recommend adding it to your day. 

Herman Gulch Trail is a section of the Continental Divide Trail (CDT)




It’s July and even though this is the most crowded time of the season to hike Herman Gulch Trail, it is the time to go, especially if seeing wildflowers are on your list.



LOCATED: North of Bakerville, CO., just before Loveland Ski Area. Exit 218 off of I-70. Turn right at the stop sign. Turn right again onto the frontage road. You’ll see a large dirt parking lot for the Trailhead. NOTE: Arrive early to beat the crowds and the summer afternoon storms.

Late fall is a great time in Colorado for any hiking trail. The fall colors are almost gone but so are the crowds. Herman Gulch in Late Fall


6.5 miles out and back

Elevation gain: 1,755ft.

Herman Lake sits at 11,987 ft. 

Rated: moderate

2 portable potties at the Trailhead 

Open to leashed dogs, horses, bikes

Arapahoe National Forest – for camping information

Clear Creek Ranger District – for trail conditions

Nearest Town: Georgetown


Booth Lake Trail– Vail, CO

Mohawk Lakes Trail – Breckenridge, CO

Kroenke Lake Trail – Buena Vista, CO

Ptarmigan Lake Trail– Cottonwood Pass, CO

Native Lake Trail – Leadville, CO

Blue Lakes Trail – Ridgway, CO

Note: Many of the links are affiliate links which means I receive a very small commission (at no added cost to you).