Located in South East Estes Park is 1,362 acres of nature and wildlife. Hermit Park Open Space is home to a lush forest of pine and wetland meadows. Up until 1967 the park was once a cattle ranch. After that, it became a private retreat area for a company that bought it out. Eventually Larimer County bought the land and opened it as a public park in 2008. Today the space is used for hiking, camping, horseback riding and more. Which makes it a fun day trip option, not far from Estes Park.
Camping is available in the park. A camping permit is required for each campsite for each night. There is a maximum of 14 nights during a 30-day period anywhere in the Larimer County Natural Resources system. Camper cabins are available and allow for up to 5 people in the cabin and 3 people in one tent. If choosing to camp here, be sure to bring all of your kitchen and bedding needs. Cabins do not provide bedding, pillows, blankets. Water is available depending on what season it is. It is recommended to always bring your own water just in case. Showers are not offered here. Vault toilets are available at each camper cabin and in the campgrounds. If interested you can check availability on their website. Renting a cabin in the forest is a great way to connect with nature for the weekend. While still being so close to downtown Estes Park.
The group pavilion features stone wrapped columns, picnic tables, a gas fire pit, and a large propane and charcoal grill. With catering space for up to 150 people. Electricity is available through a generator upon request, and portable water is offered at the nearby Bobcat Campground. Vault toilet restrooms are located approximately 150 feet away from the pavilion in the parking lot. A sand volleyball court and horseshoe pits are also here. You are able to rent The Pavillion for large gatherings. It is a beautiful spot in the mountains to host a wedding or event.
There are multiple trails for horseback riding. Limber Pine Equestrian Connector Trail, Limber Pine Trail is one of the longer trails for five miles of riding. Homestead Meadows Connector Trail & Moose Meadow Trail are additional trails. Horses are allowed in these areas. Remember to be mindful of the Trail Etiquette Rules. Cyclists and hikers must yield to horses on the trail. This helps not to spook the horse as they continue their ride. With so many hobbies, sharing the trail is common in Colorado. So it’s always recommended to be mindful in those situations.
Kruger Rock Trail is four miles out and back hike located in the park. It includes 977 feet of elevation gain, rating it as moderate. The hike is mostly uphill ending with a scramble that brings you to the top of Kruger Rock. You will start out walking through the meadow surrounded by Aspens. The terrain then becomes rocky and the steepness begins. During your hike, you will be able to see amazing views of Estes Park and the Rocky Mountains. Longs Peak, Twin Sisters Peak Tower and the continental divide are just some of the views. In the winter it can get very snowy so check conditions for departing. The hike can take around 2-4 hours depending on your skillset. The view at the top is said to be incredible.
Another hike in the area is Homestead Meadows and Moose Meadows Loop. A 6.6 mile trail with a 931 foot elevation gain. Rated as moderate. This historic hike takes you down old logging roads. Visiting eight homesteads in the area that were created between 1889 and 1923. Information boards provide a history lesson on each homestead. You will even reach an open meadow where elk are normally seen grazing. A very relaxing and informative hiking option.
Hermit Park also has some hidden spots for bikers. Pierson Park Road Alternate Downhill is a top-rated trail in the park for mountain bikers. A 2,433 ft black diamond singletrack trail. This trail can be used in either direction. The average time it takes to complete this ride is only four minutes. A simpler route for bikers is going to be Limber Pine Trail. 2.5 longs with 198 ft of climbing and -373 feet descending. Rated relatively easily with a few technical sections. When passing through large rock formations, the trail can get tight in spots.
The park does have some regulations you need to follow when visiting. Never leave your food or trash behind. Use the pack in, pack out method. Leftover food could attract bears in the area. If camping, quiet hours are between 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM. No generators are allowed on the campgrounds. Alcohol is allowed at campsites only, not allowed in day use areas. Pet’s do need to be on their leash the whole time you are visiting. There is also a daily entrance fee to get into the park at $9.
Classes are offered throughout the summer. Wildflower & Native Plant Walk is the class in June. Giving you the opportunity to learn about the plants on the Lions Open Space. Get educated on their identity and ecosystems. They even teach you tips on how you can plant your own garden. Recommended to wear comfortable walking or hiking shoes. Bring water and snacks in your pack. For all of the nature lovers out there this class is for you. You can register directly on their website. Classes are updated frequently, check the website for new postings. https://www.larimer.org/naturalresources/parks/hermit-park
Hermit Park is home to green forests and vibrant wildflowers. This spot is heaven for Colorado’s outdoor enthusiasts. You can lace up your boots and indulge in the many hiking options. Rent a tent site and camp under the stars. Reserve a cozy cabin for when the winter nights get too cold. If you want to get out in nature and fully disconnect, then come visit Hermit Park Open Space. A place that has a little something for everyone