Herman Gulch Trail #98 to Herman Lake, Bakerville CO hiked 6/28/14 & 7/4/14

4 Jul

1

Starting Elevation: 10,340

Highest Elevation:  12,000 is where the Lake is at.  We had a total elevation gain of  around 1800ft

Trail Length:  8 miles officially, we made it about 7 miles on 6/28 and the full 8 today.

Trail Uses: Hiker, Biker & Horses

Degree of Difficulty:  Moderate to difficult Mostly because of elevation.

Fees: None

Bathroom: Yes in the parking lot

Pets:  Yes

2

Being in that meadow behind Torrey’s(hike details here) last weekend made me want to keep seeing more amazing views.  I have had my eye on Herman Lake for a while, like 2 and half years kind of a while.  At first I was too nervous I couldn’t do it and then I was so focused on getting to a certain elevation each week that I kept skipping it.  I also know it is a really popular trail.  It is not overly long with a reasonable climb and astonishing views from almost every part of the hike.  Even starting at 7 AM, the parking lot was filling up fast and it is a big parking lot.   There are signs and a bathroom where the trail starts.

Parking lot Map Strating out

The first quarter-mile is a gentle climb to the T-section with a sign listing the trail options with an arrow.  Take the trail on the left.

Trail Sign

The next mile was much steeper and rockier, the best part was when the stream came up along side the trail because it totally drowned out the noise from I 70.  This is one of the steepest parts of the hike.

Nice and steep

Nice and steep

The stream is just to the left and it is high

The stream is just to the left

After this initial climb, you come out into this meadow and really if we made it no further than this point it would have been enough.

Looking ahead

Looking ahead

Looking behind

Looking behind

The next 1-2 miles is through sections of pine and then beautiful meadows.  It was pretty muddy from this point forward with much of the trail an actual stream itself.   Last Saturday the snow was quite the obstacle, this morning more like scenery.

Good and muddy

Good and muddy

second meadow

second meadow on 6/28

Views behind

Views behind

The sides were even amazing

The sides were even amazing

Not one bad spot

Not one bad spot

Trail is a stream

Trail is a stream

I loved breaking out of the pines to see views like this

I loved breaking out of the pines to see views like this

There were a couple of water crossings, some clearly are there normally some are only there when the snow is still crazy deep at the end of June.

water crossing

When we got to the last set of pines we started the final climb up to the lake, it gets steep here, actually the most steep section of the whole hike plus it close 12,000 feet above sea level so just breathing is a work out. Last Saturday the snow was to our knees but hard packed because so many people had gone before us.  We met up with a gentleman who had been to the lake and he said the snow around the lake was hit or miss, some places to your knees some places chest high.  We lost the trail in here but just kept following other footprints until we saw the trail again.  This morning a lot of that snow had melted. We still lost the trail but it was much easier to find again after some obstacles.

Thru the last set of pines Thats snow

The lake is supposed just half a mile from the last set of pines.  Unfortunately we didn’t make it on Saturday.  It turns out Aaron was working on a  decent inner ear infection and his head was to the about to explode point.  We had to turn around.

The lake is just up there

The lake is just up there

Views ahead when we turned around

Views ahead when we turned around

We could tell as we drove towards the hike Saturday morning that is had snowed in the mountains the night before.   Which is kind of surprising, but it made the hike extra muddy while also making everything in sight beautiful, like frosting.  I knew the trail would be crowded but I had no idea how popular it truly was, the nice thing is the path itself is mostly wide enough to pass easily so lots of people was no problem.

It turns out, I could not wait to get back and we went back this morning.  We cruised up and in, the trial was completely different that last weekend with probably a third of the snow and like a bazillion more flowers.  What a difference 6 days makes.  We were maybe a quarter of a mile from the final trail break before lake when we turned around last Saturday. This time we went left, it is not long to the lake and there was a super small pond on the way… it is not the lake.  Continue on Herman Lake is just ahead.

SIgn to the lake Trail to the lake

When we got to the lake, it was so rewarding. everywhere we looked it was spectacular.  There were still snow fields all over the place but getting around them were easy.  I kinda wish I we had seen it last weekend to have a good comparison.

Herman Lake

Herman Lake

fav1

We could have been done in 3 hours both times but we actually hung around taking pictures at every turn, spending 5 hours on the trail last Saturday and just over 4 hours today.  It was’t enough, there so much to see.   If you are ever in this area and you can only do one hike, do this hike there is not one boring part.  The whole thing was a series of ohhhhinng and ahhhing.

After the directions will be a few of my favorite pictures.

Directions:  Take I70 West and just before the Eisenhower tunnel, exit at the un-named exit #218.  Turn right at the end of the ramp, you will see the sign for Herman Gulch.

 

me with a view me in meadow fav5 fav6 rapids On the way down fav 2 fav4 fav1 Views ahead fav3

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13 Responses to “Herman Gulch Trail #98 to Herman Lake, Bakerville CO hiked 6/28/14 & 7/4/14”

  1. Sandra 07/04/2014 at 10:23 pm #

    Glad to hear you are still hiking. I took my visitors from England on the Castlewood Canyon long hike. Haven’t done it in a while and loved it. The day you did this hike I was at the Della Terra Mountain Chateau in Estes Park watching my one and only daughter get married. Keep Hiking.

    • hikingtohealthy 07/07/2014 at 3:51 pm #

      Congratulations Sandra! I bet it was a beautiful day for a wedding!

  2. John M 07/05/2014 at 7:02 pm #

    Beautiful!

  3. NancyTex 07/06/2014 at 2:22 pm #

    Yay Kathy! This is the one and only hike I’ve done in CO! Last September when we were driving thru and staying with my bestie, this is the hike she picked for us. I blogged about it here: http://myyearofsweat.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/eye-candy-part-iii-herman-lake-co/ Looks like September was the nicer time of year to tackle this one! No snow!

    • hikingtohealthy 07/07/2014 at 3:56 pm #

      Nancy I was totally thinking of you as we hiked it! Mostly because your bestie took you to the perfect place if you only get to do one hike! I know I read your post when you first did it, I had to look back at it again and seeing your pictures after having just been there makes me want to back again in a few months.

      • NancyTex 07/07/2014 at 6:08 pm #

        Yay! I’m so happy we’ve both been on the same trail! I feel even more connected to you now! 🙂

  4. Campbell 07/07/2014 at 9:01 pm #

    Looks like an amazing hike! 🙂

  5. Janet 07/12/2014 at 4:56 pm #

    Great photos. Loved this area.

  6. Gregory Wood 07/21/2014 at 8:29 pm #

    Missing Colorado this year…decided to do something different this year.

    • hikingtohealthy 07/22/2014 at 4:03 pm #

      Well Variety is important, although the wild flowers have been amazing this summer! I hope different is good!

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