Herman Gulch Trail- Arapahoe National Forest
Location: Right outside of Idaho Springs, Colorado. The hike is about a 1.5 hour drive from Denver, with all paved roads so no special vehicle needed.
Elevation/distance: Your elevation gain is going to be 1,814 feet, with a roundtrip mileage of about 6.5 miles.
Description: When we first arrived, there were tons of cars piled up in the parking lot along the side of the road. I inwardly groaned when I saw this because I hate crowded hikes. It almost ruins the experience for me. I was pleasantly surprised when I found that we didn't see many people along the trail. The hike ended at a sparkling mountain lake that was absolutely breathtaking. There were people at the lake, but it was pretty easy to find a secluded spot to eat our lunches and breathe in the beauty. The entire hike was pretty open. A lot of the hike is trekking through meadows, with a scattering of woods.
Who I would recommend it to: Anyone looking for a trail that is somewhat challenging, but no where near 14er challenging. There is some elevation incline. Cal and I didn't notice as much, but we hiked this one with my mom and sister who weren't used to the altitude to begin with, and they said they felt it. This one is definietly do-able for people who aren't used to Colorado's altitude, but just be aware that you may notice that the air is thinner. As always, drinking A LOT of water will be doing yourself a HUGE favor. I personally think this hike is a hidden gem for people visiting, and because of that, I would absolutely recommend.