Looking for a moderate peak hike with excellent views on the north side of Colorado Springs? Mount Herman delivers. You’ve seen the broad summit on the Front Range ridgeline, clearly visible from I-25. It’s the wide peak standing directly above Monument. Although the hike is steep and rugged in spots, it’s just 1 mile to reach the ridge and take in views of Monument below. And it’s worth it to follow the ridge another quarter-mile to reach the true summit at 9,063 feet for the best views.
Where to Find It: Monument
Distance: approximately 2.5 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: approximately 900 feet
Difficulty: Intermediate / Difficult
Know Before You Go: This route can get busy on weekends, and the parking lot at the trailhead is tiny. Get there early.
From Monument, you’ll gain most of your elevation in the drive to the trailhead. If you Google map your directions, make sure you choose the upper Mount Herman Trailhead. (Yes, you can hike Mount Herman from below if you’re looking for a longer and more difficult challenge.) To get there, go straight through the center of downtown Monument on 2nd Street and turn left when the road dead-ends just past Limbach Park. Follow Mitchell Avenue for 0.6 miles. Then take a right on Mount Herman Road. Follow Mount Herman Road for 5 miles, winding past some neighborhood homes before the road turns to dirt. Road conditions can get rough. A high clearance vehicle comes in handy, but the road is usually passable with two-wheel drive. After ascending and traversing around to the southwest side of Mount Herman, the small trailhead parking lot will be tucked into a curve on your right.
The Mount Herman Trail #716 is marked with a sign in the northeastern corner of the parking lot. Follow it along the small seasonal creek as you ascend gradually. You may spot beautiful wildflowers here in summer.
In 0.1 miles, take a right at the trail junction. You’ll climb through a couple steeper but short sections of trail before reaching a more gradual incline again. Some footing can be gravel-covered and loose as you ascend through the pine forest. And you’ll encounter a long stretch of trail covered with small boulders and roots. The trail is wide here with multiple paths through the rugged jumble. Pay attention to your footing and your directions. The route is not difficult to follow, but it’s not well marked here.
About 0.7 miles into your hike, you’ll encounter another short, steep grade that will take you onto the ridge. From here you can look down and see Monument Lake and the town of Monument below.
Follow the ridge to the north and enjoy the views as you go. You can choose between trails that traverse close to the edge or stay set back in the center of the ridge. The tree coverage thins out as you go past several rock outcroppings. At 1.3 miles, stand on top of the summit and take in 360-views. There’s a wide ledge just below that is used as a launch point by paragliders. You’ll know it by the wind sock. Monument and Palmer Lake are obvious below. The buttes and mesas of Douglas County stand out to the north. And Pikes Peak rises majestically on the southwest horizon.
If you want to leave a record of your presence, look for the trail registry inside an ammunition box. It’s tucked into tree roots along the ridge just north of the summit.
For the adventurous, it is possible to complete a difficult, rugged loop by continuing north down the Mount Herman ridge to the Raspberry Mountain and Mule trails. But for our purposes, return the way you came. Watch for loose footing on the descent. And be sure to savor this relatively short nature escape with its beautiful views overlooking Monument.