Directions: From Estes Park, head south on Route 36 towards Lyons. Before long you'll see the sign for Hermit Park on the right. Turn into the park and pass through the entrance fee station. Continue on the good dirt road to the Pavilion and Trail Parking area. There is a small trail from the parking area to the actual trailhead, there is no parking at the trailhead.
Kruger Rock is a beautiful, wonderful trail. It is not easy, but it is not all that hard either. The trail climbs through aspen and pine with tremendous views over Estes Park and the towering peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park. The final segment scrambles up to the top of Kruger Rock for 360 degree views. The fact that the trail is not within Rocky Mountain National Park makes this a good option if you want to hike near Estes Park without the overwhelming summer crowds that you tend to find on the easier trails in the National Park.
From the parking lot find the trail next to the wooden information kiosk (that doesn't actually have any information). The trail leads to the pavilion and crosses the street to the actual trailhead.
The trail starts off by skirting a beautiful meadow with Aspen groves and a good view of Kruger Rock up on the hill. As you gain elevation the trail gets a bit rockier and more wooded. You'll be hiking to the north for the first leg and after a sharp switchback, the trail turns back to the south. After the switchback, you'll start to get the amazing views that make this hike so special. There are various rock outcrops that you can walk out on to enjoy the westerly views.
As you continue the trail gets a bit steeper. Soon you'll gain a false summit and the trail evens out for a little while. At about the 1.5 mile point you'll see another view of Kruger Rock, it looks further than it is. Descend for a few minutes and then begin the final climb up to the rock. There are incredible views of Longs Peak before you reach the actual Kruger Rock. The final part of the hike squeezes through a crack in the rock. You'll need to use your hands to get up this segment but it really is not hard and there is no exposure.
When you pop out on top of Kruger Rock, the views are incredible. Longs Peak and the Twin Sisters Peaks tower to the south and the Continental Divide stretches out to the west (including great views of Hallett & Flattop Peaks). To the north you get views of the Mummy Range's Mount Chapin and the 13'ers: Ypsilon Mountain, Mount Chaquita, and Fairchild Mountain. Simply, stunning. Return the same way you came.
Hermit Park is an often overlooked and underappreciated hiking area. This park is at lower elevation then Rocky Mt. National Park (similar to the Lumpy Ridge area of Rocky) and dries out earlier in the season, making this a great spring hiking destination. It also has wonder aspen groves so it should be colorful in the fall. But really, it is the views of Rocky Mt. National Park and Estes Park that make this hike extra special.
HIKES BY REGION
NATIONAL PARK HIKES
- BENT'S OLD FORT NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK
- COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT
- CURECANTI NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
- DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT
- FLORISSANT FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT
- MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK
- ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
- GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK
- HOVENWEEP NATIONAL MONUMENT
- SAND CREEK MASSACRE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- YUCCA HOUSE NATIONAL MONUMENT
- HIKES BY CATEGORY
- $UPPORT GHC
- INTERACTIVE MAP
Hermit Park Open Space
Date Hiked: June 19, 2016
Distance: 3.7 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 1,137 ft
Elevation Min/Max:8,383 to 9,257 ft
Trailhead Lat/Long:40º 20' 27" N; 105º 28' 23" W
Managing Agency: :Larimer County Open Space
Fee: Yes ($6)