July 25, 2017 Slideshows » Columns

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Road Trip Hike: Herman Gulch to Herman Lake 

The hike to Herman Lake on Herman Gulch trail is mostly moderate in difficulty with a couple of isolated sections that are a little more difficult.

To get there: Take I-70 west from the Denver metro area to exit 218, a few miles past Georgetown, and just before Loveland Pass. At the top of the off ramp turn right, followed by an immediate right on the short frontage road to the trailhead parking lot.
Bob Falcone
Immediately after exiting I-70, look for this sign to the right. The road to the parking lot is in need of repair, but passable with a car.
Bob Falcone
The information kiosk in the parking lot, to the right of the trail. The Herman Gulch Trail is very popular on weekends, so you'll want to go there on weekdays or get there early (before 9am) on weekends.
Bob Falcone
The trail starts off easily, with a slight incline.
Bob Falcone
Just in cast you're not sure, this arrow points the way at the first switchback, a few hundred feet from the trailhead.
Bob Falcone
Right after the first switchback, the trail becomes rocky and a bit steeper.
Bob Falcone
After a mile or so, the trail breaks out into a meadow. Herman Lake is below Pettingell Peak, visible in the background. There are no side trails or turns until reaching tree-line, just before the lake, making the trail easy to follow.
Bob Falcone
In late July, the trail is rich with wildflowers, including Columbines, Paintbrush, fireweed and more.
Bob Falcone
Columbines along the trail.
Bob Falcone
The trail continues on almost a straight line to the lake and Pettingill Peak. The trail moves in and out of wooded areas with a couple of creek crossings with bridges too.
Bob Falcone
After a little more than 2.5 miles, the trail nears tree line and starts a short, steep, uphill section.
Bob Falcone
Though barely readable, this sign indicates that the Continental Divide Trail goes to the right. The Herman Gulch trail continues straight, on the trail visible in the background.
Bob Falcone
Looking back down the trail from where the Continental Divide Trail turns.
Bob Falcone
A few hundred feet past the CDT turn, the trail passes this small lake. Continue past here a short distance to get to Herman Lake.
Bob Falcone
Panorama of the final approach to Herman Lake. The lake is just a few hundred feet away from here.
Bob Falcone
After a little more than 3.5 miles you'll arrive at Herman Lake, elevation 12,000', fed by run off from the surrounding mountains. There are a number of trails to the lake side, and another that goes around the lake. Keep an eye out for marmots around the lake — though they're often heard, not seen.
Bob Falcone
A topo map of the route for this hike.
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Bob Falcone
Immediately after exiting I-70, look for this sign to the right. The road to the parking lot is in need of repair, but passable with a car.
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