There is a QEMU image with Debian GNU/Hurd pre-installed available as http://people.debian.org/~sthibault/hurd-i386/debian-hurd.img.tar.gz.

Usage:

$ wget http://people.debian.org/~sthibault/hurd-i386/debian-hurd.img.tar.gz
$ tar -xz < debian-hurd.img.tar.gz
$ qemu -m 512 -net nic,model=rtl8139 -net user -drive cache=writeback,index=0,media=disk,file=$(echo debian-hurd-*.img)

If you have troubles extracting the image, you can use the gz version http://people.debian.org/~sthibault/hurd-i386/debian-hurd.img.gz, the zip version http://people.debian.org/~sthibault/hurd-i386/debian-hurd.img.zip, or even the plain version http://people.debian.org/~sthibault/hurd-i386/debian-hurd.img (3GiB!)

See the discussion about writeback caching.

Just in case you were wondering: the root password is empty.

For more detailed instructions, please see the QEMU page.

IRC, freenode, #hurd, 2014-03-10

<mcsim> scp doesn't work either
<braunr> what ?
<braunr> why wouldn't it ?
<mcsim> scp -P5555 -r ./hurd/ root@localhost:/root/src/
<mcsim> root@localhost's password: 
<mcsim> The Hurd is not Linux. Make sure to read
<braunr> that shouldn't happen ...
<braunr> use tar maybe ?
<mcsim> the same with tar archive
<braunr> :/
<braunr> i don't know what to tell you
<braunr> i don't have that problem

IRC, freenode, #hurd, 2014-03-11

<teythoon> braunr: mcsims scp problem is b/c youpis images echo stuff from
  the .bashrc or something
<teythoon> i wish he'd change that, as it is a reoccuring problem
<teythoon> youpi: ^
<teythoon> (didn't realize you are around >,<)
<teythoon> now that /etc/issue is displayed, you can put the welcome text
  there
<braunr> teythoon: i see
<teythoon> mcsim: your ssh trouble are rooted in the .bashrc printing some
  stuff to stdout
<mcsim> teythoon: thank you. It works now
<teythoon> :)