So I’ve had an idea in mind for a different workout and finally gave it a try on Thursday, July 19. Monument Preserve has long been a favorite place to run. It offers varied terrain, some up and down but certainly not killer hills and scenic trails that weave in aall over U.S. Forest Service land. There is a main parking lot for the preserve, right along Mt. Herman Road but I usually park at a pull-off area another half-mile or less up the road, almost directly across from a Forest Service Road. If you keep driving up Mt. Herman you can find a trailhead that makes for a relatively short hike to the top of Mt. Herman which has an elevation of approximately 9,000 feet. The workout I had in mind was to park where I normally do when I run in the preserve and then run the 3.4 miles to the trailhead instead of driving to it. This made for a steady uphill climb along a very wide dirt road and at that hour on a weekday there was very little traffic which was nice because it can get dusty. Foolishly, I didn’t get started until a little after 11 a.m.
Fortunately there was a steady breeze and enough shade, especially on the trail, to make the heat more bearable.
Once you get to the Mt. Herman Trail you have just under a mile to the summit, with an elevation gain of about one thousand feet. Early on, maybe a tenth of a mile or less into the trail, you start to climb and the steepest section is pretty much out of the way after the first 8-10 minutes. I fumbled around with the clinometer app on my phone and finally conceded befuddlement. I never like to exaggerate so I’d guesstimate that the slope is probably somewhere around 35-40% grade...it’s pretty darn steep for several hundred yards but very wide and not dangerous, although a little slippery on the down climb. I didn’t run it much at all on the way up but tried to walk briskly. Made it to the top in about 23 minutes to find a stronger, rejuvenating breeze up there. Great views always from the top of Herman. On a clear day you can see Denver and of course Pikes looks great from up there and naturally you have a bird’s eye view of the thriving metropolis of Monument. If you’re not familiar with it, Mt. Herman is the broad peak just west of Monument, north of the Air Force Academy. This was similar to the Summer Roundup course in that it was all uphill for the first half. Coming down I picked my way through the rockiest sections then jogged the trail where I considered it a little safer. Back on Mt. Herman road it was all downhill except for one short section up a little incline. However it was now about 1 p.m. as I neared my car and the last mile, with no shade, was a warm one. I wouldn’t have wanted to go much further. Silly to start so late in these kinds of temperatures. All in all an 8.5 mile roundtrip and a workout I would definitely do again and one I would recommend if you’re looking for something different and a workout with rewarding views at the half-way point on the summit of Mt. Herman. Take the Monument Exit 161, head west on 105 but go straight after crossing the interstate and take this road until it ends at a T -intersection, make a left there and about a mile down the road you’ll come to Mt. Herman Road where you can only make a right. From there you’ll need to go a couple of miles or so...with the option of parking in the main lot or the pull off which will be obvious, just up the road. If you were coming down I-25 from the north you would take the Monument exit and make a left at the end of the ramp and follow the directions above. Come visit and as they say in Wisconsin, “Give ‘er!”
Looking up at Mt. Herman and looking down on the road from the summit.