Known for wildflowers in summer, the Herman Gulch Trail also allows you to snowshoe in winter. The trail is located in Arapaho National Forest near Silver Plume, Colorado. It’s an 11.4-kilometer round trip that gets a total elevation gain of 539 m.
The trail is rated as moderate, but it is fairly tough, so be properly prepared. Dogs are allowed as well as horses. The trail features wildflowers, a lake, wildlife, mountain goats, and more. It offers many activities including hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and photography.
The hike begins from the Herman Gulch Trailhead, located 18 miles west of Idaho Springs. There are restrooms, and on their left, the trail is located. The initial segment of the hike is steep. But, don’t be discouraged, as, after the first part, the trail becomes more gradual and gives you stunning valley views. If you are hiking in summer, you are very likely to see wildflowers. Keep an eye out for moose as well.
Soon, you will reach the trail intersection. The trail to the left will take you to Herman Gulch, where the trail to the right will lead to Waterous Gulch. Continue on this trail and you will pass through trees to get to the meadows. The slightly flat part will come to an end, and the trail would begin to ascend again. Hiking this part could be very tough. There are switchbacks that can take you to the first lake.
From there, it’s just a matter of time till you reach Herman Lake. The lake is certainly worth the effort of getting there. You can get stunning views of Pettingell Peak.
If you are hiking in winter or early summer, be prepared for the snow that gets deeper as you progress. You may also need snowshoes and trekking poles. It’s recommended that you hike during the first part of the day, as it’s safer, and you can avoid crowds. Hiking during summer is easy, but whether it’s winter or summer, you need to keep an eye on the weather. You should check Colorado road conditions as well.