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On Walkabout On: Mt. Herman, Colorado

Basic Information

  • Name: Mt. Herman
  • Where: Monument, Colorado
  • Altitude: 9,063 feet / 2,762 meters
  • Distance: 2.3 miles roundtrip
  • Difficulty: Easy (771 ft elevation gain)
  • Time: 1.5-2.5 hours round trip
  • More Information: SummitPost.org

Note that the map below was generated using the mapmyfitness App for the iPhone.  The app’s distances and elevation are not as accurate as a GPS, but very close:

Narrative

Another hike I completed recently from the book The Best Colorado Springs Hikes (Colorado Mountain Club Pack Guides) was a hike to the summit of Mt. Herman located outside of Monument, Colorado:


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Monument is located about 15 minutes north of Colorado Springs and is considered one of the wealthier suburbs of the city.  Reaching the trailhead for this hike that begins outside of Monument is actually quite easy though it can be confusing.  If traveling from Colorado Springs, take I-25 north and get off at Exit 161 at Monument.  At the exit take a left across the bridge that goes across the interstate and into town.  Keep driving through town until the road stops at a T-intersection at Mitchell Avenue.  From here take a left and look for the Mt. Herman Road sign where a right is then taken.  Throughout the drive Mt. Herman it easily visible.  Since I was traveling to the trailhead early in the morning, the moon was still out above the mountain:

Here is a view looking back towards Monument where the sun was slowly rising to the east:

Once on the Mt. Herman road, stay on it until it changes into gravel:

This is where the confusing part comes into play.  Right before the road turns into gravel there is a large Mt. Herman Trail sign on the left hand side of the road.  This is not the trail you are looking for.  Why a trail that does not lead to the summit of Mt. Herman is called the Mt. Herman Trail seems a bit dumb to me, but maybe this is where the original trail once began?  Anyway once Mt. Herman Road turns to gravel stay on it for about 3 miles. The drive up the road is actually quite scenic with some nice views of Monument to the east:

Here is a nice picture of the suns rays first hitting the eastern face of Mt. Herman early in the morning:

Further up the road there is some nice views of the Rampart Range extending to the south towards Colorado Springs:

After three miles begin looking to the right for a small pull out with the Trail 176 marker pictured below:

The parking lot can probably fit about 10 vehicles at the most if parked side by side, so be considerate when parking so as many people as possible can park in the small lot.  From the trailhead the trail enters into a lush forest along side a creek:

Since I was hiking up the trail in November there wasn’t much water left in the creek:

Also since it was November, there was a few patches of snow left from the snow storm that had hit the area earlier in the week:

After about a half a mile of walking the trail begins its switchback up to the summit of Mt. Herman:

The trail is actually in very good shape the entire way though some of the social trails that break off from the main trail can be confusing.  The key is to just stay on the biggest trail that goes up the mountain on the right.  Taking any trail to the left will take you the wrong way:

After about a half hour of hiking the trail begins to level out some as it reaches the summit ridge:

From this meadow area the trail takes one last ascent up a rocky slope to reach the final summit ridge of the mountain:

In total it took me about 45 minutes walking at a leisurely pace and taking pictures to reach the summit.  So it is not exactly a very difficult hike. On the summit there is a couple of windsocks that were blowing pretty good in the wind the morning I hiked up to the top of Mt. Herman:

Also on the summit someone was nice enough to leave a summit log to register the names of hikers who reached the top of the mountain.  The log book is located inside this cooler:

Something else on the summit of the mountain that can be seen is this sign left by the US Air Force warning against paragliding from the summit of the mountain:

The US Air Force Academy is located just a few miles south of Mt. Herman and small airplanes training cadets to fly are a common sight in this area.  Considering that the Air Force left a sign up here it must mean there must have been a near accident with a paraglider in the past few years.

Though Mt. Herman is not a high mountain at 9,063 feet by Colorado standards, it does offer some nice views of the Pikes Peak region.  Here is the view looking southwest towards the 14,115 foot Pikes Peak:

Here is the view looking west towards a rocky canyon that has a trail that accesses it that I plan to checkout in the future:

Looking to the northwest where I could see the 14,265 foot Mt. Evans:

To the far left of the above picture I thought I could see the twin summits of Grays and Torreys Peaks that I attempted to climb earlier this fall though I could not be sure. Here is the view from the summit of Mt. Herman looking north across an area of the region called Greenland due to the grasslands that support a number of ranches in the area:

Here is the view looking northeast towards Monument:

Looking down at some of the homes outside of Monument, I noticed that some of them had their own mini-Garden of the Gods like rocks in their backyards:

I also spotted the white colored Monument Rock down below which is where the city of Monument got its name:

From Mt. Herman I could see that the trail Mt. Herman Trailhead I had drove past earlier actually leads to Monument Rock.  I decided that I would go check out that trail after I hiked back down Mt. Herman.  Here is the view looking southeast where the rest of the city of Monument can be seen as well as the Black Forest area to the east of Monument:

Finally here is the view looking south towards Colorado Springs where the US Air Force Academy can be seen in the foreground:

Here is a closer look at the US Air Force Academy where I noticed that the Academy has their own impressive white rock formation that I will need to go and check out some time:

Here is a panorama view looking to the east from the summit that I took using the new panorama app that is included with the iOS 6 upgrade with my iPhone 4S:

Here is a panorama view looking to the west where Pikes Peak can be seen on the far left of the photograph:

I spent about 30 minutes hanging out on the summit taking pictures before deciding to head back down the mountain to the trailhead.  Here is the final look at Pikes Peak I had before beginning my descent back down the mountain:

It took me about 30 minutes to walk back down the mountain to the trailhead that is located in the valley pictured below:

Conclusion

In total it took me 45 minutes to hike up the mountain and 30 minutes to get back down for a total of 1 hour and 15 minutes of actual hiking.  Since I spent about 30 minutes on the summit my hike took nearly two hours to complete.  So like I said before this is a pretty easy hike.  However due to the steepness of some of the switchbacks it could be much more difficult if the trail is icy.  Fortunately I didn’t have to worry about that.  As I would find out this hike up Mt. Herman is a nice walk to complete in conjunction with visiting the impressive Monument Rock below the mountain.  So for anyone looking for an easy hike that has some nice views of the region I definitely recommend checking out Mt. Herman.  For those looking for a more challenging hike this is definitely not it, but I still think it is worth checking out.

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