Distance: 2.2 miles (out and back), Elevation Gain 898
Mount Herman Trail is a 2.2 mile
moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Monument, Colorado that is
rated as moderate. It’s pretty much on my way to work so I decided to get in a
quick hike before my team landed from North Carolina and came in this
I didn’t have a map of the area (ok,
I did, but I didn’t look at it) just directions written on paper. I’d take the actual map out at a last
resort. The directions got me to where I
needed to go: Exit 161 head west, make a
left on Mitchell and a right on Mt Herman Rd.
That was all pretty simple, but it didn’t tell me how far to drive on Mt
Herman road. I didn’t know exactly where
the trailhead was (in front of back of the ridge?) There were several places
that could have been the trailhead, but the actual one ended up being about 3.5
miles up a dirt road. The only
indication I was in the right place was this sign indicating it was trial
This was the only sign I’d see all
morning, except for this one telling directly behind it indicating “no shooting”.
Here’s a picture of the “parking lot”
at the base of the trail. Mine was the
only vehicle there (woot! I shouldn’t
run into anyone!)
My directions said after about a
half mile of hiking I’d reach a meadow, and to turn abruptly right to head up
the trail. Well, after a while it became
apparent I wasn’t on the correct trail.
The trial I was on was following a small stream, and wasn’t gaining in
elevation. That couldn’t be right with
the numbers I’d seen (almost 900 feet in a mile means a lot of uphill climbing)
so I turned back. Check out what the
author considered a “meadow”.
To me this isn’t a meadow, but a
campsite/fire pit. In no way would I
call this a meadow, and in fact it was only about 1/8 of a mile from the
trailhead, not the half mile that was indicated, and the turnoff was BEFORE
this meadow, not after it (there was another trail after that led nowhere, as
many do in this area). Who writes these
instructions anyway? In any event, I
found the correct trail (I assumed, as it abruptly climbed uphill) and hiked
on. Here I am taking a picture of where
the turn is while standing on the correct trail.
The trail indeed went straight up
the rest of the way. I was surprised to
see bike tire tracks, as it was a very difficult trail upwards. At several points on the trail there was no
trail, just about 50 feet of rocks in either direction, so I had to guess which
way to go. Luckily it was kind of like a
ski run in that I knew I just had to keep going up and eventually I’d find a
trail again to follow. The bad part
about this is trail maintenance. There
is no easy trail to follow so everyone makes their own trail, stamping down small
plants (etc) as they hike. That gives
way to erosion and is dangerous.
I was pretty proud of myself for
making it to the summit, as there were several times I questioned if I was even
on a trail. I took a few pictures…
And then turned around and gasped. What a BEAUTIFUL view of Pikes Peak! Pictures just don’t do it justice! I was in awe.
This was by far the best view I’ve ever had of the peak from any hike I’ve
taken thus far.
I wanted to stay there forever, but
I did need to make it into work this morning, so I took a selfie
And a summit shadow selfie and made
my way back down.
This time I took a different trail
(indeed, it would have been almost impossible to take the same one as there
wasn’t a clear path) and saw two small cairns I hadn’t seen on the way up. They were a nice gesture but didn’t indicate
much. I’m not sure they were indeed very
helpful either since they were at the very top of the trail.
Just as I reached the campsite/fire
pit from earlier I met up with 4 hikers who all looked like they were in high
school (maybe they’d just graduated?). Two
girls and two guys. I asked them if they
were going to the summit to watch the flyover, and apparently that hadn’t occurred
to them. It would be a wonderful
idea: They’d have the best seat in the
house! I’d have stayed if it weren’t for
the whole work thing. They had taken the
hike before though, so I wished them well and headed back to the truck.
I liked the challenge of this
hike. While it’s no fun not to know
where the trail is, I never felt as if I was actually lost. I was actually pretty proud of myself for
finding my way when I had no idea which mountain I was actually on (I knew
where Mt Herman was, but didn’t know which mountain it actually was, as it’s on
Check out the reflection of Pikes Peak in my camera lens…