Herman Gulch is one of Colorado’s most popular trails for hiking and snowshoeing.
A moderately challenging hike through alpine forests and open meadows before reaching the spectacular alpine tundra above treeline which soon leads to Herman Lake.
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BEAUTIFUL IN OCTOBER!
Herman Gulch Trail is crazy crowded in the peak season. Its close proximity to Denver brings in a lot of hikers.
We hiked in October after a few small snowfalls and just 2 wks before the big snows came and had only 10 other hikers about. What a great time to go… and it’s was warm! Still Indian summer.
It’s a pretty strenuous start for about a mile or so.
I brought my sister-in-law for her first time and I thought she was going to kill me! It was tough. But don’t quit, you will be rewarded with a stroll through an open meadow and begin to see spectacular views of the Continental Divide between Pettingell Peak and Hagar Mountain.
From here the trail goes in and out of trees and meadows on a nice steady incline. We encountered lots of snow in spots in the shaded forest but it was easily accessible without snowshoes.
Just before breaking out of the trees, the climb becomes steep again and you enter the tree line. It”s a wide-open tundra, with expansive views.
Still, a long way to go to reach the lake (another mile!) and getting very steep. Our legs burning but it was exhilarating knowing we are close to reaching Herman Lake.
WINDY, COOLER AS WE GET CLOSER
The wind was picking up a bit. It was getting quite crisp and cool as we got closer.
Not to be taken lightly. It’s a high altitude trail and dehydration plus fickle weather is always something to consider. CLICK HERE> for a look at Practical gear that we love at Crazy About Colorado and have in our backpacks on every hike.
We lost the trail as more snow covered the ground, but followed others ahead as they marked the trail for us.
I could feel my sister-in-laws excitement! So fun to share my love of hiking with her. She’s hooked! If you’re getting hooked on hiking, 2 items worth mentioning to add to your gear Garmin inReach Mini & Sawyer Mini Water Filter.
FROZEN HERMAN LAKE
We made it. After a bit of showing off, we sat among the boulders for a while. Surrounded by fresh snow on the peaks, it was stunning. Hiking back down Herman Gulch Trail was possibly more astonishing. The views are almost overwhelming from this high up.
Wondered what to do if you encounter wildlife? >CLICK HERE
Hiking down through the wide-open tundra above the treeline was definitely a favorite part of the hike.
4 items I always have with me in the Fall season:
Trekmates Women’s Sierra Gaiters
Patagonia Women’s Nano Puff Vest
THE LOCALS KNOW
In summer arrive early to (hopefully) 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. Crystal blue skies and not quite bitter cold yet.
Snowshoeing in winter in Herman’s Gulch: Be aware of 2 avalanche chutes about a mile up on the right and it’s advisable not to go above tree line to where avalanches are more prone. Contact: Clear Creek Ranger District before starting a winter hike.
6.3 miles out and back
Elevation gain: 1,755ft.
Herman Lake sits at 11,987 ft.
2 portable potties at the Trailhead
Popular Colorado Wildflower hike in summer
Leashed dogs allowed
Arapahoe National Forest – for camping information
Clear Creek Ranger District – for trail conditions
Nearest Towns East on I-70, Georgetown and Idaho Springs
Nearest Town West on I-70, Silverthorne (Summit County)
A GENTILE REMINDER: Venturing off the trails damages vegetation, leads to erosion, and impacts wildlife.
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 dirt parking lot for the Trailhead.
Drop a comment below for any questions. Share your adventures with me. I’d love to hear from you, HAPPY TRAILS…
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This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase anything through one of our links you will be supporting our small business at no extra cost to you