Herman Gulch Trail

MODERATE 737 reviews
#4 of 149 trails in

Herman Gulch Trail is a 6.3 mile heavily 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.

6.3 miles
1,755 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly

cross country skiing








wild flowers




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.

8 hours ago

It's past peak wildflower season, but there were still some pretty blooms up near the top. Please be mindful that this trail is quite steep and rocky for the first mile and the last mile, so if you're bringing dogs or kids, make sure they have proper footwear (yes-- PLEASE put shoes on your dogs to protect their paws!!). View from the trail just before you hit the lake is gorgeous. Go early to avoid the crowds, we arrived at the TH just after 8:00 AM and snagged one of the last parking spaces. It was windy and chilly up at Herman Lake so bring layers!

10 hours ago

Went hiking on 8/11 and it was great! Got there early around 6:30 and their was plenty of parking. Definitely recommend getting there early to beat the crowds and have the lake and trails to yourself. Coming down it was starting to get overly crowded. Last half mile was a little tough but well worth the views.

Don’t be scared off by the incline at the beginning. Great views throughout the entire trip, very wooded in some areas and not in others. We clocked about 7.5 miles round trip.

2 days ago

Great hike, some steep parts, but I really noticed the incline more on the way down due to the trail being a bit loose. Great views though, lots of wild flowers, pretty lake at the end. Parking g lot fills up real fast, got there at 8am and it was already overflowing to side streets.

4 days ago

Very busy, however, well worth the trek.

7 days ago

Beautiful trail. Steady incline but extremely enjoyable because of the meadows and flowing streams. We did get caught in a hail storm on our way back It was scary but memorable ! Carry a jacket just incase.

8 days ago

Hiked this with my cousin who was visiting from Boston on 7/30/18. It is definitely longer than 6 miles, but we also chose to wander down the path to the left once we got to the lake at the top, so that added on mileage. Beautiful hike (minus the traffic noise the first mile and last mile). Great having access to streams for dogs. View from the top is very pretty and well worth it. 2nd half of hike is fully exposed, so make sure to bring layers and sunscreen, bugs weren’t bad. Not a difficult climb, just long, well worth it! Took us about 3 hours total, give or take, stopped for lots of pictures and lunch at top. Didn’t start hike until 9:45 and we were fine w parking and weather, but it was also a Monday.

9 days ago

This was one of my favorite hikes since moving to Colorado. I got to the trailhead at 6am and had the lake to myself. If I had arrived any later, that would not have been the case. The first .75 miles kicks your butt, then the last .5 miles on the way up give you round two. But this hike offers both open meadows and then plenty of tree cover too. It was a perfect balance.

13 days ago

My 8 and 10 year old made it to the lake! So beautiful!

15 days ago

Awesome trail. Lot of uphill and definitely worth it. Bring a top layer when you hit the lake it’s significantly cooler and windy. Absolutely gorgeous. My 8lb dog got through about 7 Miles perfect day not too hot. We clocked around 8 miles from beginning all the way to the lake. Lots of wildflowers and open spaces. Diverse trail.

16 days ago

Beautiful lake to cool off from the escalation

17 days ago

Beautiful hike with mountain views, a river and lake, just off I-70. Rated as moderate, but was really not that difficult, even my senior dog made it just fine. Will be back to this trail again.

17 days ago

Pros: Lots of Wildflowers, well marked, ends in a lake, views of a gulch, and easy access.

Cons: You hear I-70 for the first and last mile. This hike is extremely crowded. Lots of slow downs trying to manage the traffic. Lake was not peaceful due to the crowds. Not the prettiest alpine lake.

Overall: Eh. I think there are hikes that have more bang for your buck, better views, less crowds, and no I-70 sound in the area. It was a good workout though.

19 days ago

Definitely recommend to anyone who’s looking for a moderate level hike with view of mountains and a lake destination. I arrived at the trailhead at 10am on a Tuesday morning. The lot was 2/3 full. The 1st and 3rd mile are steep but doable. Took me about 1.5 hours to get to the lake. Took a little over an hour to get back. This is a great hike for a short half day trip particularly as it’s not too far of a drive from Denver.

22 days ago

Phenomenal hike! Definitely closer to 7 miles to get to the lake and back, but it was well worth the extra mileage. Previous reviews are definitely right about the steep incline for the first and third miles, but it wasn't awful - we made it to the top with several rest breaks in exactly 2 hours. The parking lot was about ¼ full when we parked at 7 AM, and completely full and overflowing onto nearby roads when we came back down at 11. We didn't bring trekking poles with us and managed without any issues, but in the last ¼ mile before the lake and for the same stretch going back down, they definitely could have been useful. I would definitely recommend bringing them just in case if you aren't very sure-footed on steep slopes. There were also a few areas of small stream crossing that were a little on the muddy side, but not too slick at all. Overall this was one of our favorite hikes yet and we highly recommend it! The only negative we have is that people continue to bag their dogs' waste and leave it on the trail near the bottom - if you don't want to carry it out with you, please don't bag it! It was really a shame to see so many doggy bags littering a beautiful trail.

23 days ago

What an AMAZING place!!!!!!!! I ended up going the “extra mile” into the gulch which made it closer to an 8 mile hike. Parts of it are steep so take it slow going up and be careful on the way down. A must-do for locals and visitors alike!

25 days ago

First hike ever in CO. I am from NE. stunning views of the continental divide ranges flowing creek throughout the trail, wonderful wildflowers and a small lake at 12k feet. There a multiple different approaches off the trail too. We went off trail at the lake to go up another 1000' vertical and you can see all the Rockies as far as the eye can see. This hike had everything. Bring plenty of water and I mean plenty you will need it. Fantastic hike.

25 days ago

Completed over the weekend mid-June. The lake was still frozen at the top, and we weren't expecting it. Beautiful hike, steady climb all the way to the lake. More like 8 miles than the listed 6.3 miles. Would love to do it again in late July or August for even more flowers and a summer alpine lake view.

26 days ago

Started at 8 am on a Tuesday and the parking lot was surprisingly 1/2 full. Beautiful hike, tons of wild flowers. Definitely recommend doing it in summer and winter! We’ve snowshoed this trail in the winter and its always a great work out. Start early this is a pretty popular trail with high traffic

26 days ago

One of my favorites. This hike has it all. It’s a good workout with steady incline in beginning and end. Lots of wildflowers, trees, meadows, water and views. My GPS said 7 miles. Ends up above tree line. Get there early if you want to avoid people, even on a Tuesday.

26 days ago

This is a really nice moderate hike. I completed it in about 4 hours with lots of stops and a long break at the top. There is a steady incline at the beginning and very end that can be tough. Hiking poles are recommended. There are lots of people (parking hard to get), but everyone was friendly and I didn't find it a nuisance or like I wasn't in the wilderness. the views at the top are spectacular! This hike is good if your looking for a bit of a liner hike with great views. The wildflowers are in full bloom, and conditions great. Highly recommend and a new favorite!

27 days ago

Gorgeous wild flowers, good steady incline. Mix of shaded areas and open, sweeping views. Very dog friendly. A must do!

29 days ago

My gps read 7.0 miles round trip. I made it up to the lake at a slow, steady pace in 2 hours. My hubby likes to cruise and made it in an hour and a half. Good workout. We left the trailhead at 7am and I’m glad we did. Ran into a lot of folks coming up on our way down, and the rain started to move in around 10:30. Only downfall is the poorly tended porta potties and no trash can at the trailhead for “doggy bags.”

30 days ago

So. Many. Wildflowers! Busy trail- get there early

1 month ago

Simply beautiful. Good combination of streaky climb with three good inclines. Surprises along the way. Gorgeous wild flowers and when there are no other people the sounds of the running water and run-off waterfalls are incredible.

1 month ago

Second time and always beautiful. Go on a weekday if you can. Great for dogs with water throughout trail.

1 month ago

This is my favorite hike!

1 month ago

Nice steady incline, good leg workout. Plenty of water steam access for the dog.
Beautiful scenic views with plenty of wild flowers along the way.

1 month ago

6.6 miles, 1701 ft elevation gain. Incline first and last mile.

1 month ago

Great hike. We did this today, arriving at 8:15am and the parking lot was almost full. The trail map doesn’t lie - very steep for the first and third miles. Wonderfully varied terrain from steep wooded path to meadowland to quite muddy when crossing water. Tons of wildflowers. Once you reach the pond at the top, keep going to eventually arrive at a beautiful lake, about another half mile at most. The trail was busy, but people were generally fairly spread out. My only complaint is that the two portapotties were literally nearly full to the top. Also, the trash can near the trail sign was filled to overflowing with dog poop bags. These sanitation issues really should be addressed. Thanks.

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