The Hermosa Creek Trail is one of the best and most popular trails in the Durango area. The trail starts in the alpine setting of Hermosa Park but quickly joins the creek, which it closely follows for the first 6.5 miles.
This first 6.5 miles is gently descending doubletrack that is generally smooth, with some rocky sections. There are several trail junctions along the trail, most of which are well marked. The first junction is with Corral Draw Trail at 3 miles. At 4.8 miles, you'll cross a bridge, and the junction with the Elbert Creek Trail, shortly after you'll pass Big Bend Creek Trail. At 5.7 miles, you'll cross another bridge back over Hermosa Creek, and at 6.5 miles you'll reach a small meadow and the junction with the Salt Creek Trail. The trail becomes singletrack at this point and becomes more rugged. Expect some loose, rocky and rooted conditions.
This the end of your pure descent. After a short, rocky descent you'll reach the junction with the South Fork Hermosa Creek Trail at about 10.5 miles. What feels to be the first significant climb comes at mile 12.5, it only gains ~150 ft of vertical but gives you a taste of what is coming. After the top of this climb, you'll descend steeply to the junction with the Clear Creek Trail at ~13.7 miles. This brings you to the most significant climb of the hike, which gains about 500 ft in a mile.
The junction with Dutch Creek
Trail will signal an end of the climbing and from here the trail mostly descends. The last 2-3 mi of trail are wider and obviously see more use.