7 - 8
FATMAP difficulty grade
The Hermosa Creek Trail is a classic forest service singletrack that traverses the length of a beautiful, isolated mountain valley.
Aside from the road access on either end, the only way into the heart of this valley is via singletrack! The route mapped here is an out-and-back along just a portion of the trail, but it can be truncated to make for a shorter day or lengthened to make for a more epic backpacking trip.
Connecting trails also provide backpacking loop options. The hike begins at the southern end, quickly leaving the trailhead behind and achieving isolation deep in the mountain valley.
The bench cut singletrack undulates up and down the mountainside above Hermosa Creek.
At times you're hiking along the very banks of the creek, and at others, you'll have climbed high above the valley below, enjoying gorgeous views of the San Juans in the distance. While a few rocks and worn-out sections of trail can prove challenging, the vast majority of the track is smooth and eminently hikeable.
The climbs are all moderate and easy to conquer, allowing you to focus on absorbing the stunning views around you! Most of the worn-out sections of trails are due either to the dirt bikes that share the trail or the cattle that graze this area.
You'll also share the trail with mountain bikers, trail runners, horseback riders, and quads on the very northern stretch of the trail.
Much of the Hermosa Creek Valley burned in a fire in 2018, leaving hundreds of scorched trees lining the trails.
However, even at the time of this writing in 2020, the undergrowth is coming back quickly, with aspen saplings springing up all along the trail.
Soon, the singletrack will be shrouded in a beautiful aspen grove, leaves whispering in the wind.
But until the aspens have reached maturity, expect to spend some time busting through saplings and underbrush.
You'll also have to cross the occasional downed tree as burned trunks continue to fall.
Regardless, nature is prevailing and reclaiming what is hers.