Herman Gulch Trail

MODERATE 529 reviews
#4 of 135 trails in

Herman Gulch Trail is a 6.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Idaho Springs, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
6.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1732 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

cross country skiing

hiking

skiing

snowshoeing

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

snow

Directions from Idaho Springs, Georgetown: Take exit 218 off of I-70. At the stop sign turn right and then turn right again and take the frontage road east to the parking area. The trail begins by the restrooms in the parking lot.

snowshoeing
11 days ago

Completed on 2-11-2018.

This is a great trail to snowshoe that doesn't seem to be heavily trafficked during the winter months. I recommend snowshoes with a lot of float. Throughout the day I was falling waist deep in snow and breaking new trail. While fun, I wished I had brought tails for my snowshoes. Strava did record the distance just shy of 8 miles rather than noted 6.4.

Very easy trail to find. Take exit 218 then look North for the sign pointing to parking lot.

The lower third of the trail is a wide well packed trail. There is a pretty significant elevation gain over the first mile but this part of the trail is heavily used by skiers and snowshoers. The trail is wide and the snow is well packed down.

After the initial climb the sounds of i70 vanish and the trail levels off a bit, though it is a sustained climb the entire way up. The trail becomes much less traveled once the skiers head away from the main path and up their own steep slope to play. But if you're like me you're always looking for the less traveled sections of Colorado.

The middle third of the hike is through an open prairie before entering the trees. There is a 200-300 yard prairie section which had some of the deepest snow on the hike. The trail had been wiped out by an avalanche down Mount Machebeuf. There was a lightly broken trail created below the affected. The snow here is very deep and snowshoes with a lot more float would have been nice. Once you enter the trees you begin skirting the slope of Machebeuf. You are within treeline through most of this section so I wasn't worried about avalanches, but the slope is severe enough that I felt fatigue in my down slope leg from continually supporting me.

The final third is an aggressive slope made up of a few switch backs but mostly runs strait up. The snow is deep and I had to fight from continually sinking. I didn't see any evidence of an avalanche, but the final slope looked like it would be a great area for everything to go. I was pretty careful none the less. Herman Lake is probably more exciting in the summer, but it was satisfying to reach the summit.

snowshoeing
24 days ago

Snow was hard packed, a little loud initially but once you are away from the highway it was serene! I took my dog and used snowshoes near the end! Saw an old avalanche slide so backcountry skiers be ware. There is not the most snowfall up there and it was in the 40’s so I may or may not have slid into the creek that was only inches below the snow...;) This hike is on my list for a fresh powder day!

hiking
26 days ago

Beautiful trail, well marked! Snowshoes an absolute must as there is a ton of fresh powder up towards the top! Can't wait to come back!

26 days ago

Lots of snow when we went two weeks ago, going back again today! Very peaceful once you conquer the initial incline away from the road. Snowshoes a must. So much fun.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful day to hike the trail. Hardest part of the trail beginning the ascent with the switchbacks until it all levels out. Had to turn back short of the turnaround due to the necessity of snow shoes to continue. Otherwise a great experience!

snowshoeing
1 month ago

We did 4 miles RT of this trail today 1.13.18. Lots of snow - would recommend snowshoes or skis for any real distance on it. We turned around after the meadow area. Very pretty though!

snowshoeing
1 month ago

Lots of snow coverage! Definitely recommend skis or snowshoes. I was following a couple other snowshoers and it turns out they were accidentally following some downhill ski tracks instead of the actual trail (by the time I checked my AllTrails map we were way higher up and off the trail- though still heading in the right direction). I didn't make it to the lake since we were on a steep slope in big drifts and I was slipping all over even with the snowshoes so I turned around... Anyway, it was beautiful and I would do it again!

hiking
1 month ago

1/6
The hike was absolutely beautiful, however, you 100% will need snowshoes to finish the last mile or so of the trail. Had to turn back because we ended up butt deep in snow

1 month ago

It’s good, but there was ever present road noise. Far in it may be better, but expect to hear traffic. That being said, I thought it was pretty and the access was easy.

snowshoeing
2 months ago

Beautiful views by the lake and coming down. Snowshoes were handy for the last third of the trail up to the lake, and back on the descent. Deeper snow on the trail made it hard to find where to turn up the hill to get above the tree line. Check the map when you get ~2-2.5 miles in and you should be good.

hiking
2 months ago

Good hike, easy to get off the trail with all the snow. Bring snowshoes or crampons!!

backpacking
2 months ago

An amazing trail in the winter! The trail was lost a few times because of the snow, but, wasn't to bad finding my way to the lake. Bring snowshoes!

hiking
2 months ago

Easy access from I-70. Moderate to difficult with some steep uphill in the beginning. Snow and ice on the trail but didn't need crampons or poles, still doable. Really beautiful winter hike with great mountain views.

hiking
2 months ago

Love this hike. Right off the highway, but doesn’t feel like it, and lots of gorgeous views. Pretty gradual incline until the very end. Would definitely do this one again.

3 months ago

good amount of snow today. Snow packed for first 1.75 miles. Then the snow gets deeper

hiking
3 months ago

Pretty sick views!

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked 10/27/17

Gorgeous hike, but don’t let the moderate rating fool you. You will be hiking at an incline almost the entire hike. Almost 2k ft in elevation in a little over three miles. It’s a leg/lung burner for sure. According to my Garmin, this hike is 7.3 miles out and back.

Not much snow on the trail, but I was definitely glad to have my microspikes for the shaded areas because it’s pretty icy. Hiking poles are highly recommended as well.

Once we got above tree line it was extremely windy and cold! Winds in excess of 50 mph for sure. We stayed for maybe two minutes. Some people said it was so cold their phones stopped working. Kind of a bummer to hike the way only to get a mere glimpse and then head back down.

4 months ago

Beautiful "first snow" hike. The lake at the top was beautiful but very, very cold.

hiking
4 months ago

Hiked on 10/21. Easy trail, but it was extremely windy and cold that day; some snow at the last mile, but very passable. Lake is all frozen.It was snow shower on and off the whole time, loved the view on the way to the lake. Totally worth it.

hiking
4 months ago

Hiked on 10/23...trail is still very passable. There are a few spots near the tree line that are snow covered but no posthole-ing. The lake is pretty but it's the views on the way down that really make the trip.

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