Spruce Mountain Open Space

After driving past this area numerous times and even going to the nearby Colorado Renaissance Festival, this particular hiking spot had always been on my list of places that I wanted to check out for some time. As being no more than five or six miles from Larkspur, I also thought it would be a great choice due to the fact that it is so secluded from neighboring Castle Rock and Colorado Springs and located off a two lane road. And I finally managed to check it out this past December shortly before the holidays.

In regards to the aspect of accessibility, it is located in close proximity to Interstate 25, but still provides you with that unique hiking experience. I say it’s unique because you are hiking through some wooded areas on top of a mesa with surrounding views of mountains and valleys. Additionally, the elevation change is not really too rigorous and the views are still pretty spectacular.

As a part of the Douglas County Open Space trail system, Spruce Mountain is home to 8.5 miles of multi use trails that are used for hiking, mountain biking and also horseback riding. They also allow dogs provided that they are on a leash. Nonetheless, here is some more information about my hike that day:

When: December 15th, 2018

Trails Hiked: Spruce Mountain Trail

Distance: 5.6 Miles

I started this hike a lot later than I would have liked to as I did not arrive until 10:30 that morning. Luckily, I still found ample parking even at that time probably due to it being December. The weather was a little chilly but nothing really out of the ordinary. Towards the beginning of the trail as you ascend the mesa, the trail goes right through the forest and after several switchbacks, you find yourself starting to gain some elevation.

Going up through the forest with ice and snow on the trail.

Certain areas of the trail also had significant amounts of snow and ice on them while other areas that were more exposed to the sun would make you question if it was even December at all.

The trail once you get through some snow covered areas.
One of the first views you see of the surrounding valley.

And before long, the views really start to open up and you are treated with views of the surrounding foothills and mountains. To the south, Palmer Lake and Monument are close by with Pikes Peak being further south.

Looking south with Pikes Peak off in the distance.
A steep cliff by the trail.

Aside from the sweeping views of the surrounding mountains, I also really liked the fact that you can literally walk out to the edge of the steep cliffs and just sit there and even have a snack or lunch out there too.

View from Windy Point looking to the northwest.

Once you get to Windy Point, the views are quite far reaching in that you can see Carpenter Peak in Roxborough State Park and even the large snowcapped peaks just to the west of Denver. And if you were wondering, the name Windy Point really does live up to its name as the wind was really howling that day.

Better view of the scenery off to the north and northwest.

As a loop trail, you are always getting a new and unique view with every turn you take. The trails at Spruce Mountain are both easy to follow and also family friendly. Overall, I would definitely recommend this hike and will probably go back sometime in the spring to sit up on the mesa and write and also take some more pictures.

Author: David Higham

Spending time in nature calms my soul.

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