Medano Lake and Mt Herard Peak
In August of 2015 my partner, myself and our dog were camping down in the Sand Dunes hoping for a weather window to climb some peaks. The entire weekend was forecasted to be rainy with thunderstorms that deterred us from our original plans of Blanca and Ellingwood.
Forget technical peaks, so we were casually looking for backup options near the Dunes.
Opting for a more chill camping weekend back in Medano Pass we found our way to Medano Lake to explore. I decided to take the pup on a quick jaunt up Mount Herard. There was a small window to catch it before the storms.
The hike was quite enjoyable and very scenic above Medano Lake and the basin. The trail up to the lake was well maintained and easy to follow at the time. The route to Mount Herard was pretty straightforward and easy to follow up to the saddle. From there no real trail exists and it was a mellow hike on grassy terrain. I saw a recent trip report on 14ers.com labeling this as a class 3 easy hike, but my dog and I avoided anything scrambly on the right of the ridge. Our path never felt like anything above Class 1, maybe Class 2 in a couple spots.
The summit itself is massive and flat but offers stellar views above the Sand Dunes. Highly recommend this obscure little 13er and the Medano Pass area in general. I look forward to returning to Medano Peak and maybe to revisit Herard!
Gas stations and services are somewhat limited in San Luis valley, or rather spread out should I say. We always go to the same convenience store and have a good chat with the owner about hiking in Russia versus Colorado.