Backcountry Snowshoe and Ski Paradise

Colorado Herman Gulch

Added by Amy Kesic

  • Get amazing views of Mount Sniktau and Pettingell Peak
  • This hike is about 7 miles roundtrip with an elevation gain of about 1700 feet
  • The last third of the climb to the lake will really test your fitness
  • Duration: Half Day

A popular wildflower hike in summer, Herman Gulch is arguably even prettier covered in snow. The north-south trail offers views of the impressive Mount Sniktau to the south and Pettingell Peak to the north--with much to see along the way. Officially, the trail weaves in and out of the forest and ends at the alpine Herman Lake.

In winter, however, the trail is soon obscured and you will likely make your way along the frozen and snow-covered creek bed, which offers unimpeded, stunning views at all times, making this a personal favorite of mine.

The trail is just under 3.5 miles to the lake. It starts at 10,280 feet and ends at 12,000 feet for an altitude gain of over 1700 feet. It starts out with a challenging climb and levels out a little in the second mile. The final 1/3 of the climb is quite steep, and will really test your fitness.

This area, like anyplace in the backcountry, is at risk for avalanches; I had seen evidence of one which crossed the trail on my hike.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Plenty of food
  • Sunscreen
  • Snow pants
  • Hand/Toe warmers
  • Gaiters
  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Face covering (bandana or snood)
  • Sunglasses or Goggles
Read More



Photography, Skiing, Snowshoeing

Skill Level:



Spring, Autumn, Winter

Trail Type:



7 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1700 Feet



Dog Friendly
Easy Parking

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

3 months ago

Beautiful and best hikes in colorado

I did this hike on July-4 2016. i went to this hike without any expectations but to my surprise , this is the best hike i did in Colorado so far. Each and every turn is scenic with waterfalls, streams , and Beautiful Wild flowers .it reminded me few of Hikes that i did in Himalayas India . I still surprise why i couldn't find this trail in when i searched for hikes around Idaho springs . i did this hike on first week of July and i'm going to do this hike again .

3 months ago

Added by Amy Kesic

A mom who decided to get fit a few years ago, I took up running and hiking to keep myself moving. Since moving to the Front Range foothills a year ago, I've spent my free time discovering all the trails I possibly can. I'm in love with Colorado and the Rocky Mountains; I also like to take pictures, and I share my adventures here on The Outbound and on Instagram at @run2themountains.

More Adventures Nearby

Hike Mt. Elbert via Black Cloud Trail

Colorado / Black Cloud Trailhead

Directions:  Heading south from Leadville from U.S. 24: West on CO 82 for 10.5 miles to a hidden right turn that leads to a trail head. If you make it to the Mt.

Mike Stevens
2 Saves

Backpack to Dragon's Back via Horsethief Trail

Colorado / Horsethief Trailhead

The Uncompahgre Wilderness stretches out through the mountains and forests of southwestern Colorado, with worn trails lingering beside abandoned 19th-century mines and crossing old alpine sheep pastu.

Jonathon Reed
13 Saves

Hike to Nymph Lake

Colorado / Bear Lake Trailhead

While not as popular as Dream Lake, Nymph Lake is just as beautiful. The hike to Nymph Lake is an easy hike just over 1 mile.

Nick Souvall
11 Saves