Herman Gulch

Trail Stats & Info

RT length 7 miles
Elevation gain 1,990 feet
Difficulty moderate
Used for hiking, snowshoeing,
backcountry skiing
Lowest elevation 10,030 feet
Highest elevation 12,020 feet
Trail type out & back
Trails Illustrated Map™ # 104
Restrooms @ TH? Yes

Directions

From Denver, take I-70 West. Take Exit 218. Turn right at the end of the off ramp, and then immediately another right onto the dirt road. Parking lot ahead.


Description

The popular hike to Herman Lake starts on an old sawmill road through thick forest. The trail then wanders through fields of colorful wildflowers with spectacular views of the Continental Divide. Most of the trail doubles as a section of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. A last steep pitch takes you to treeline where the trail mellows on the final stretch to Herman Lake, nestled in a bowl at 12,000 feet below Pettingell Peak. Herman Hassell, an early timber operator in the area, supposedly named Herman Gulch after himself. While timber may have been Herman’s ambition, today wildflower aficionados consider this trail a “100 wildflower” or “century” hike because of the possibility of seeing about a hundred different flower species during peak bloom in late July.

© Copyright Hiking Colorado’s Summit County Area
Published by Falcon Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

5/22/2011

Great area to snowshoe as it was sunny and there was very little wind. The start of the trail was pretty clear as other skiers/snowshoers had hiked the first mile or so, but after that there was no trail. I passed 2 other skiers/snowshoers and they had pointed the general direction of where the lake was. So, I kept snowshoeing within the gulch and did notice a very faint trail that was just recently covered with snow. I followed that trail as best as I could and it led me out of the gulch and up through some trees to just east of the lake. Coming out of treeline, the view of the continental divide was absolutely amazing! From treeline to the lake, I pretty much made my own trail. Luckily, I also had my GPS, so I kind of knew which direction the lake was as there was no trail. The lake still had a lot of snow so I couldn’t see any part of the lake, just a slight depression in the snow. All in all, a great hike for snowshoeing with spectacular views! I can’t wait till the snow melts to hike up this again to see all the wildflowers!

7/27/2011

I did make it back up after all the snow melted and what an absolutely beautiful hike! I recommend getting to the trailhead early as the parking lot gets full. The wildflowers were blooming all over the place! There were FIELDS of Columbines and Indian Paintbrush. There were also other various wildflowers, which unfortunately I am unable to name. It was gorgeous! I don’t know how many times I stopped hiking to take photos of the flowers. I highly suggest this hike in July if you really want to see a ton of flowers, as it is very easy to drive to and is moderately strenuous. The first mile or so, is steeper, but after that the view opens up and you can see great views of the continental divide. The trail gradually climbs for a little bit, then once you get into the trees, it gets steeper. The trail levels out right as you get above treeline and just before you reach the lake. I had hit the tail end of a thunderstorm right as I got above treeline, so make sure you hike early. The lake is above treeline, so if you do get caught in a storm, there’s no cover up there. It took me approximately 3.5 hours to hike this trail and that includes taking a break and snacking at the lake. Enjoy!

Photo Gallery

Herman Gulch

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Chance of a Thunderstorm
Friday 07/01/2016 60%
Chance of a Thunderstorm
Cloudy early with scattered thunderstorms developing this afternoon. High 62F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.
Thunderstorm
Saturday 07/02/2016 90%
Thunderstorm
Scattered thunderstorms in the morning becoming more widespread in the afternoon. High 62F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%.
Chance of a Thunderstorm
Sunday 07/03/2016 40%
Chance of a Thunderstorm
Partial cloudiness early, with scattered showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. High 69F. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40%.
Chance of a Thunderstorm
Monday 07/04/2016 50%
Chance of a Thunderstorm
Scattered thunderstorms. High 71F. Winds WNW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 50%.
Chance of a Thunderstorm
Tuesday 07/05/2016 40%
Chance of a Thunderstorm
Sunny early. Scattered thunderstorms developing later in the day. High 74F. Winds WNW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40%.

About Mar

My name is Mar (short for Maria), and I'm an avid hiker, backpacker, snowshoer, and snowboarder. There's no place I'd rather be than on a mountain! Originally from San Diego, I packed up my few belongings, and moved out to colorful Colorado so I could be immersed in the awesome Rocky Mountains! And I haven't looked back since! Any free time I have, you can find me hiking up a 14er or snowboarding in fresh powder.