Herman Lake, Herman Gulch Trailhead, Summit County - Eagle County - Clear Creek County, Colorado
Herman Lake - 6.5 miles
Herman Gulch Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||6.5 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||10,332' - 11,987' (12,018' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+1,655' net elevation gain (+1,815' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Herman Lake is located north of Bakerville, CO in the Clear Creek Ranger District of the Arapaho National Forest. It lies in the open tundra of a capacious valley just below the Continental Divide.
The Herman Gulch Trail, which is part of the greater Continental Divide Trail, follows Herman Gulch through luxuriant meadows to treeline, where it branches off on a well-defined path to Herman Lake. Visitors will enjoy good trail conditions, open alpine landscapes and a chance to see bighorn sheep and mountain goat in their natural habitat:
Trail Map | Photo Gallery
The Herman Gulch Trail begins in a fir-aspen forest to the Watrous Gulch Trail split and bears north (.17 miles : 10,376'). It steepens on a wide, rocky track to Herman Gulch, where it bends northwest and moderates along the creek and string of slender glades (.5 miles : 10,690').
The trail rises steadily beside the creek into a long meadow in the lower gulch (1.05 miles : 10,940'). Travel moderates with emerging views of the Continental Divide between Pettingell Peak (13,553') and Hagar Mountain (13,195'). Look for moose along the willow-lined creek, and deer and elk on the grassy slopes of Mount Bethel (12,705') to the south.
The trail moves quickly up-valley, gaining only 300' between the first and second mile (2.0 miles : 11,288'). At 2.45 miles (11,464') it edges back into forest and climbs steeply above the gulch, passing treeline just before reaching the CDT - Jones Pass Trail split (2.85 miles : 11,838').
Follow signs west to Herman Lake. The Herman Lake Trail climbs steadily into an expansive alpine landscape, easing across open tundra flats to Herman Lake (3.25 miles : 11,987').
Herman Lake is framed by the steep east wall of Pettingell Peak, but is free of major obstacles and easy to explore. The main trail continues past the lake, eventually fading in the tundra on an informal run up to the Divide. Climb a knoll over the lake's east shore for sensational panoramas across the basin and expansive upper valley, and scan the valley walls for bighorn sheep and mountain goat that inhabit this area.
Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84View Interactive Google Map
- N39 42.151 W105 51.256 — Herman Gulch Trailhead
- N39 42.187 W105 51.064 — .17 miles : Herman Gulch - Watrous Gulch Trail split
- N39 42.372 W105 51.374 — .5 miles : Trail bends northwest beside creek
- N39 42.712 W105 51.622 — 1.0 miles : Travel moderates beside a long meadow
- N39 42.964 W105 52.087 — 1.5 miles : Level travel through an expanding valley
- N39 43.202 W105 52.572 — 2.0 miles : Trail continues on more rugged course
- N39 43.276 W105 53.029 — 2.5 miles : Steep climb above lower gulch thru treeline
- N39 43.370 W105 53.274 — 2.85 miles : Herman Lake - Jones Pass Trail Split
- N39 43.421 W105 53.661 — 3.25 miles : Herman Lake
- Moderate grades and good trail conditions are well-suited for families and winter recreation. Accommodating camping terrain with running water can be found along the first 2.45 miles of the trail.
- Arrive early to secure parking, avoid crowds and afternoon storms. Be mindful of changing weather and aim for treeline before storms develop.
- Look for elk and moose in the lower gulch, and bighorn sheep and mountain goat along ridgelines in the upper valley above Herman Lake.
- Seasonal hunting is permitted in the Arapaho National Forest. Wear bright colors and remain on designated trails to ensure your safety.
Camping and Backpacking Information
- Dispersed backcountry camping is permitted in the Arapaho National Forest. No permit is necessary.
- Camping is prohibited within 100' of any lake or stream. Group size is limited to 15 individuals.
- Campfires are permitted for dispersed camping in the backcountry, with potential seasonal restrictions. Contact the Clear Creek Ranger District for current conditions, use restrictions and fire regulations.
- Fishing is permitted along Herman Gulch and at Herman Lake with a valid Colorado fishing license.
Rules and Regulations
- Dogs, Horses and Bikes are permitted on the Herman Gulch Trail. Dogs must be leashed at all times.
- Mechanized vehicles are not permitted on the Herman Gulch Trail.
Directions to Trailhead
The Herman Gulch Trailhead is located .1 mile north of exit #218 from I-70. It's located between Bakerville, CO and the Eisenhower Tunnel.
From westbound I-70, exit #218 and bear right (east) on the short service road that dead-ends at the Herman Gulch Trailhead.
Clear Creek Ranger District
101 Chicago Creek Road
P.O. Box 3307
Idaho Springs, Colorado 80452
Open daily 8-4:30, open holidays