Originally, when we set out to ride Mt Herman, we had plotted a lollipop route. Unfortunately on the day we did this ride, rain clouds rolled in and we had to bail on our original plans. We still really loved the out and back version of this ride, so we decide to go ahead and post the route as is. We hope to get back there soon to be able to explore a little further! You can see the original route HERE, but just know we haven’t vetted past the first 12 miles up (yet)!
Mt Herman is a really amazing 11-12 mile climb that has beautiful views. The road twists and turns through pine trees and past lots of amazing rock formations (including Monument Rock a little ways off in the distance).
We loved how quickly you get into the mountains and start rolling on dirt from the town of Monument!
Way-finding is a breeze since you basically get on Mt Herman road and stick to it for 12 miles up and back. (This ride can easily be done without a bike computer or other fancy navigation tools.)
The forest road going up Mt Herman is “unmaintained” so things were always interesting. Expect to bob and weave a bit around potholes, rocks and some sandy areas, but you don’t have to worry about things being too technical or scary. We did this comfortably on our 700x35cm Panaracer Gravelking SK+ Tires (set up tubeless and pumped to 40 psi).
Having rain on the descent made the experience a cold one even though we had rain jackets and long fingered gloves.
Descending was slow. We had to take a lot of care since you end up on the outside close to the drop-off edge and cars tended to take wide turns through the tight switchbacks.
There were some pretty nasty washboards the last mile before you hit the pavement.
Do this ride if you want a long sustained gravel climb on a forest road with a simple out-and-back route. The grade is most often between 2%-7% so it is challenging but not excruciating.
Since it was raining, we just turned around at the nice round number 12. If you like to have a destination for your turn-around point, go a few more miles till you hit Rampart Range road.
Hit the bathrooms, fill up your water bottles and pack enough food while in the town of Monument at the beginning. The bathrooms at Limbach Park where we parked were locked and we didn’t see any other bathrooms along the route.
There is public parking both at Limbach Park and on the west side of the railroad tracks, right where the route begins.