On Friday, Ben and I went on our annual drop-Soren-off-at-school-and-go-hiking date. We hiked the Herman Gulch trail, which is an out-and-back trail that ends at Herman Lake. This hike couldn’t have been nicer, seriously. It’s just hard enough to be a good hike but not so hard as to be annoying, and it’s rocky in parts but not overly rocky. Plus it’s dog-friendly and free.
From Denver, take 70 west to exit 218. Turn right and then immediately turn right again and you’re at the trailhead (which is the only thing at exit 218). There’s lots of parking and your usual stinky claustrophobic vault toilets.
I agree with everyone on the internet who says the trail is 3.5 miles to the lake. It took us about 1:50 to get up and 1:40 to get down, including stops for snacks and poncho application or removal (it rained for about half of our hike down, which isn’t my favorite because tree roots and rocks get slippery when wet).
If you’re looking for a super-awesome day hike near Denver, I highly recommend this trail. It might be my favorite hike we’ve done so far. Note: Bring a sweatshirt! It gets cold up there.