Monday, August 24, 2009

Mount Herman, Monument Colorado

Saturday, August 21st Josh, Rock and I hiked Mount Herman which is located in Monument Colorado. Monument is just northwest of Colorado Springs off I-25. One of our good friends is moving out of the Springs to California and we went down to visit him and stopped to hike along the way. I had never hiked in Monument before, or anywhere near this area actually, and had a terrible time finding a place to hike in the area. I was googling "hiking in Colorado Springs" and all I really came up with was the website. Which is ok for pinpointing a hike, but that website only gives you a little bit of information before you have to sign up. I checked El Paso County's website, and didn't find much in the way of trails either! I managed to google map some directions to the hike; From I-25 exit 161 and go WEST on Second Street, then you will travel through the town of Monument to Mitchell Ave. (Note* There is a park with bathrooms right BEFORE the train tracks and Mitchell Ave, stop here if you need to go!!). You will go South or Left on Mitchell Ave for a little over .5 of a mile, then you will turn right or west on Mt. Herman Road, you will see this sign ---->
We traveled on Mt. Herman Road for about a mile and a half before we saw the Mount Herman Trailhead sign (Above) on our left. We actually missed the turn, we had thought the trailhead was further up the mountain, we did a U-turn and parked in the trailhead lot.
I noticed right away, there are no trail maps, and there is no bathroom, even at this relatively large and full parking lot. I was very surprised not to see both the maps or port-o-pot, I was also shocked at the amount of trash tossed on the ground as well!
In the little information that I did find about Mt. Herman online, I saw that it was supposed to be 2 miles round trip to the top and back. I felt right away that we were way to far to be 2 miles away. I think that there might be another trailhead farther up Mt. Herman Road, but we decided to hike where we were at, just to check it out. Incidentally, when I went to write this blog, I found another blogger with a post about Mt. Herman. Here is the link. I think that I WAS too far to the east, and there is another trailhead farther up to complete the that's left for another day :)
After about 50 yards into the hike (with no map) we were faced with a choice to either go straight, right or left. We went straight down the mountain, my goal was to keep hiking toward Mt. Herman in the distance and see how close we can get in the time we had!

<---- You can see here, Mount Herman is the round topped peak in the distance. We continued to hike towards the mountain, and were faced with multiple trail choices along the way. We did come across the first dirt road within about 30 minutes of the hike....we walked down the road only a few yards and found the trail again and continued to walk through the beautiful fields full of wildflowers in bloom even this late in August. We noticed right away there are NO trail signs along the way at all, so keep an eye out as to where you are going :) Though it was pretty easy to keep your bearings.
The beautiful trails took us through lush trees and fields full of wildflowers it made me wish that I was closer to the Springs to enjoy these awesomely large mountains and lushness compared to Denver :) In the distance we began to see a huge White Rock sticking out against the mountain. It looked really cool, and all of the trails seemed to head right towards it! I love Colorado's unique rock formations, it shows what unique geology exists in this area.

We hiked up to the rock, which is much bigger than the pics show, and rested in the shade while we ate some lunch. I guessed that it was about 1.75 miles from the trailhead to the white rock formation. It was a very hot day, and we were hiking right about 12 noon, so the sun was pretty unrelenting. I walked around the rock and noticed a fairly large pond of dirty water, at first I thought it was a mirage. haha. It didn't take long before my dog Rock found it, and she was terribly hot and swam in the gross stuff. But she seemed cooler.....
After we past the rock, we continued to head up Mount Herman. It was at this point that the trail gets much steeper, rockier, and you can tell you are starting to hike up a mountain. We were still pretty far from the top at this point, but it felt like we were finally getting somewhere! I could look behind us and see views of the city and even I-25 way out in the distance. There were more trees in this part of the hike and it was cooler in the shade.
As we continued up the mountain for a little over a half mile, we began to hear the road above us. Eventually we came out to a point where we could either go out to the road, or continue hiking south (not west, up the mountain). We walked a little ways south, and it provided us with some great views...but eventually abandoned that route to continue up the mountain, even though we had to deal with the road.
Once up to the road, there was no obvious trail to pick up. We walked in both directions quite a ways, and didnt find any connecting trail. We did see a "pikes peak national forest map" sign, which said the map was 1000 feet ahead. We hiked up the road to the sign, at least along the way were good views to the east, while many noisy dirtbikers drove past us. Unfortunately, when we got to the sign it showed many things, but no hikes in the area?? It was at that point we considered going back. It was a hot day, we had no idea how to hike to the top of Mt. Herman and we still needed to go help our friend in the Springs. We decided to head back and along the way we would take some of the other multiple trails in route to the car.
We had to hike the half mile back to the white rock and then chose to take a trail to the north, which was a raised trail and provided lots of great views!
It was about this time when I noticed a small pond ahead of us (and to think we let Rock swim in a nasty mud pit!) with a cute little bench to sit on and enjoy the views! What a beautiful state we live in! I was so hot, I would have absolutely swam in the pond if I had a bathing suit...but I did not. Josh threw Rock into the water (did I mention she is scared of water) but she was so hot it was good for her!

As we hiked back we continued to take different trails and wound through the forests and fields. I figured that any of the trails we took would lead us back to the car and was glad that proved to be true.
All in all we hiked about 4 miles, and it took us about 2 hours and 15 minutes. Though we did stop along the way quite a bit, so it could have been done in much less time. It was a beautiful hike, but I would have really liked to make it to the top of Mount Herman. I guess it will be left for another day...
Trail maps would have been really helpful for this hike and I would appreciate any comments regarding more information about the hike!! I hope to go back and get better information and update this blog.
Park Quick Facts: (rated 1 - 3) To see the Criteria click here
Difficulty - (2)
dirt trails, some slippery, nothing too terrible
Distance (driving) - (2)
within 1 hour from my house near the Mills Mall
Crowded (2) - This trail was not very crowded even on Saturday, but we did pass several hikers along the way.

Amount of Trails (2)-
There are at least 4 miles of trails, and they probably connect to other trails which are not yet known to me.
Length of time - Our hike was 2 hours 15 minutes, you could hike more or less very easily with the amount of trails in this area.
For the dog lover -I saw lots of dogs offleash and no ranger, with 1 nice pond to swim in :)
Bathrooms? There are NO restrooms and the closes ones that I saw were outside of town near the turn onto Mitchell street, port o johns in a park :( stinky!

(you can click on map, zoom in and out, and get directions to Mt. Herman)

View Larger Map


  1. THANK YOU for actually posting something real! We had much the same experience as you hiking up there. It was beautiful, but I couldn't figure out how to get up the mountain. I was searching online for some sort of map, and have been unable to find anything, but you are the first blog post to actually SAY something with substance. i was stating to think I was slow...

  2. How far into the hiking trail do you have to go before you get to the pond where your dogs can swim? Is the water even clean and safe for dogs to swim in?

  3. If anybody else comes across this, the trail head is about 5 miles up mount herman road. There is the standart sort of trail head sign in the area. It is on a curve and minimal parking because not many people hike the trail due to target shooting in the area, but shooting has since been banned on mt herman and the area cleaned up.

  4. Did this hike just last week, right after the start of october. To get to the trailhead, keep driving up Mt. Herman for a few miles. On the inside corner of one of the hairpin turns, you'll see an area with space for about half a dozen cars in front of a small creek with the trail running up along it. Keep to the right, not the left, and you'll find the trail to the summit. Took me maybe an hour each way, and I took it very slow. The view from the summit and along the way is stupendous. Just be aware that the trail is not very well marked, keep an eye out for cairns to guide your way after you get past the Aspen-filled meadow, which is where it gets a little tough and rocky.

  5. There are lots of horse tracks, so
    this trail must be open to equestrian riding. I think of this trail as being more of a large dog park, because there are many dogs off leash. Most people will leash their dogs when meeting horses, but there are the few that allow their dogs to sniff the heels of horses and take the chance of getting the dog kicked, or the horse becoming frightened if bitten. That could lead to injury to the horse and rider. The park itself is pretty. The trails are narrow and rutty in spots.