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Spruce Mountain Trail, Larkspur CO (Repeater) 9/26/13

10 Oct
View at the top

View at the top

A couple of weeks ago I had the best visitor in town….my sister!  While we were planning her visit, she let me know she wanted to see more of Colorado and to see it the way I have been seeing it, by hiking.   We only had 5 days to visit and hike, so like a crazy person I planned aggressively, 4 hikes in those 5 days.  The day she landed I picked her up fed her and drove her right to the trailhead here for a quick acclimatizing hike.

Spruce Mountain Trail (hike details here) is one of those good an easy hikes to take flatlanders to first.  A solid 5.5 miles with a little bit of elevation gain with amazing views all up and down the front range.

When we pulled up and started getting ready to hike I noticed these 2 school buses slowing down at the entrance to the parking lot, for a second I thought maybe it was just dropping off kids after school but it was noon on a Thursday.  Sure enough both buses unloaded at the parking lot entrance for a hike….our hike …….. right then.  And then they were moving right up the trail ahead of us.  Hiking with 100-ish kids seemed like it would be…..crowded.

It was actually not that bad, we needed to move more slowly at first anyway plus we got to talk to some of the teachers.  The kids were finishing up their week of outdoor education and this hike was like their graduation.  It made me wish I had grown up in Colorado just so I could have outdoor education as part of my school curriculum.  Eventually they stopped and had lunch, when we walked past them they all cheered ….. it was kinda cool, cute and encouraging.  What a great way to start our week of hiking, with our own cheering section helping us ring in our first hike.

It. Was. Awesome!!!!!

Outside of our fabulous hiking buddies, the day was beautiful and with some wind – perfect.  We could see a lot of trail  damage from all the flooding the week before, I mean the trail was still in good shape but there were huge crevices all over the place.   We had great views of Pikes Peak and the front range but Long’s peak was hard to see because of the brown cloud that tends to sit over the front range.  We could sort of see it but not capture it in a picture.

Mary did awesome and we kicked the trail’s butt, finishing in just 2 hours, an hour less than I had planned.   Better yet, she loved the trail,  the whole time oooohhhiiiinnnngggg and aaaahhhhiiiinnnngggg.  It made the hike even more special for me!  There is something about getting to share my love of Colorado with the most important people in my life this way.  Hiking Rocks!



Spruce Mountain Trail (open space), Larkspur Colorado 5/26/13

30 May
The view at the top of Spruce Mountain and the South end of the front range

The view at the top of Spruce Mountain and the South end of the front range

Spruce Mountain Trail> Spruce Mountain Loop> Access Road> Spruce Mountain Trailhead

Starting Elevation: 7127Ft.

Highest Elevation: 7568, for 550 feet elevation gain, but there is some up and down to if you do the loop I think you get closer to 650 ft

Trip Length: Officially 5.5 miles and that is about what my fitbit said too

Trail Uses: Multiuse; hiker, biker and horses

Pets: Dogs allowed on Leash and we did see a sheriff come by at least once to check.

Fees: None

Degree of Difficulty:  Easy to slightly moderate

Bathrooms:  One well used port-o-potty, keep your own Tp handy it was already out at 11:30AM on a Sunday.

View of the North part of the Front Range from the top

View of the North part of the Front Range from the top

The best part of a long weekend is being able to get in 2 hikes.  We were introduced to this hike by my good friend Karin and her husband Doug a few years ago, we went in early spring which was good because there was no one there but not so good in that it was insanely windy and so we avoided the top loop.  What a shame that we did because it was spectacular in its almost complete view of the front range and amazing on Sunday.

Let’s talk trail, it is pretty easy to find this trail head and the parking lot has a big beautiful  entry sign into the parking lot which is decent size but busy!

Parking Lot

Parking Lot

Trail map at the start

Trail map at the start

Trail sign 1

The trail signage is really good here, we did the Spruce Mountain trail which is the route to the left and up from this first marker.   It is s nice short climb to the first trial break and there are a bunch scenic views with benches to enjoy them on.  It is also a nice place to catch your breath.

to the mountain top

to the mountain top

The walk up was mostly covered in pine and spruce with this nice sandy trail consistency with solidness beneath it.  It smelled great and was lovely just in general.

Trail Conditions on the way up.

Trail Conditions on the way up.

When we got to the top  there is was the trail continuing to the right and this huge viewing area to the left and it looked like it made a loop in and out of rocks and trees with benches and lots of opportunities to enjoy the views of the South Front range with some sense of privacy.  This place must get pretty busy and there was a nice crowd here on Sunday but not too bad.

view in this outcropping

view in this outcropping. Thats Pikes Peak with snow.

Cool Tree

Cool Tree

Somehow we got back on the trail with missing how we did it so I will make the guess it is pretty easy to do. We came around to another view-point on the opposite side of the Mountain top so our views were all of the north Front Range and then we got to the next trail break which gave the option of the Mountain top loop or the service road.  We opted for the Loop on such a beautiful day with enough wind to keep us comfortable.  Here are a series of pictures showing the transition to the loop.

after the Northern viewpoint

after the Northern viewpoint

Mt top loop 2mountain top loop

After we went around this corner it was like a museum walking past view points with one spectacular view after the next.  It was also being enjoyed by lots of people so we kept going.

Pikes Peak

We got this view of directly west from lower down but it was essentially the same:

along the plains

At the end of the loop we took the service road down, which is not a popular choice so we had it almost to ourselves.  The service road is ROUGH and steep with huge crevices and I am not really sure how they get any vehicle up there but I know they do…

IMG_2105service roadIMG_2107

From the bottom of the service road we went right and through a gate and then it was exposed and relatively flat the rest of the way back to the parking lot.  It was a warm day and we were slathered in sun block, which was almost not enough.  Bring lots of water  and wear sunscreen, it took us about 2 hours to complete the whole trail and we were moving at a nice clip.  We did stop and take a lot of pictures in that 2 hours too so it is a great relaxing hike, lots of families and lots of all ages, tons of flowers.  I haven’t stopped talking about this hike all week and I know my friends are like enough already, but if you find yourself near Larkspur CO hit this trail!  After the directions will be some of our favorite pictures.


13415 Spruce Mountain Road, Larkspur, CO
From I-25, take the Greenland Exit (167) to the west and travel ¼ mile west on Greenland Road and ½ mile south. Bypass the Greenland Trailhead and continue right on the main gravel road (Noe Road) over two sets of railroad tracks.  (If you have a horse trailer or very large vehicle, park at the Spruce meadows parking lot on your left and take the 2-mile trail to Spruce Mountain.)  Cars can continue another mile west to Spruce Mountain Road. Take a left and head south for about one mile to the parking area on your right. Remember, cars and light trucks only may park here.

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