Herman Gulch Trail, part of the Continental Divide Trail, is sure to test your legs and lungs. It starts at 10,332' -- and goes up from there. The highest point on the hike is over 12,000', so be prepared to take it a little easier than normal if you're used to lower elevations.
What Makes It Great
The trail starts in the woods, but passes through the tree line by the time you reach your destination of Herman Lake. Keep your eyes peeled for bighorn sheep and mountain goats; the high tundra is their preferred stomping grounds. Herman Gulch Trail is 3.25 miles one way, and most climbs are moderate -- though there are some steep pitches and rocky sections that could find you shedding a layer. Speaking of layers: Pack them! Weather conditions can change rapidly at this elevation, and what starts as a calm, sunny day could finish off with nasty windburn or cold rain. Horses and bikes are allowed on this trail, as are dogs. And if you want an overnighter, backpacking is allowed -- no permit necessary.
Who is Going to Love It
It's a well-established tail with great views, so hikers of all stripes will enjoy hitting the trail here. The views once the basin opens up are remarkable.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Herman Gulch is accessed by Exit 218 off I-70; the parking area is the dirt lot on the northeast side of the exit.