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On Walkabout On: The Spruce Mountain Trail, Colorado

Basic Information

  • Name: Spruce Mountain Trail
  • Where: North of Colorado Springs
  • Elevation: 7,500 feet (400 feet elevation gain)
  • Distance: 2.5 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • More Information: Douglas County website

Topographic Map of the Hike

Spruce Mountain Map

Narrative

This past fall I took my 3-year old on another short hike in order to help build up her endurance as well as hopefully her love for the outdoors.  The hike I decided to take her on was at the Spruce Mountain Open Space just north of Colorado Springs.  Spruce Mountain is a large rock escarpment located just off of I-25 in an area known as Greenland:

Picture from Spruce Mountain, Colorado

Since it was fall time the scenery was no longer green, but instead brown, but regardless this area between the Springs and Denver is nice to visit any time of the year.  To reach the trailhead for Spruce Mountain we took Highway 105 from Monument north towards Palmer Lake.  After Palmer Lake we turned off of Highway 105 on to Spruce Mountain Road which leads to the trailhead for the Open Space:


View Larger Map

The trailhead is really easy to spot from the road due to the amount of cars parked there as well as this large sign:

Picture from Spruce Mountain, Colorado

At the trailhead there is a large map that shows all the various trails that can be accessed around the Open Space:

Picture from Spruce Mountain, Colorado

I decided to take my daughter up to the Greenland Overlook that is located on the top of the rock escarpment and then do a loop back to the trailhead.  This came out to a manageable 2.5 mile hike for my 3-year old, but for those looking for a more challenging hike the Open Space features plenty of trails that can be combined into about an 8 mile loop hike around the park.  From the trailhead we proceeded to follow a trail to the left that began an ascent through scrub bushes towards the treeline surrounding the mountain:

Picture from Spruce Mountain, Colorado

The trail was a little bit slippery due to the small pebbles on the ground for my 3-year old so I had to hold her hand to help her with the ascent.  Soon enough we were entering into the treeline:

Picture from Spruce Mountain, Colorado

Once we entered into the treeline we can to an intersection where there was a sign that directed us to take a left up to the Greenland Lookout:

Picture from Spruce Mountain, Colorado

From the intersection the trail switchbacks up the side of the mountain up towards the summit of the rock escarpment that can be seen looming above:

Picture from Spruce Mountain, Colorado

As we hiked up the trail my daughter was excited to see cowboys riding horses in the meadow below; she loves horses and cowboys:

Picture from Spruce Mountain, Colorado

The trail through the trees was in great shape and easy to follow; my three year old had no issues going up this trail:

Picture from Spruce Mountain, Colorado

After about 45 minutes my daughter and I reached the top of the rock escarpment:

Picture from Spruce Mountain, Colorado

We had some really nice views looking across the meadows below as well as spotting Mt. Herman in the near distance to the Southwest and the massive bulk of the 14,115 foot snowcapped Pikes Peak in the far distance:

Picture from Spruce Mountain, Colorado

You can read more about my prior hikes up Mt. Herman and Pikes Peak at the below links:

Far to the Northwest I was even able to spot the 14,264 foot snowcapped Mt. Evans:

Picture from Spruce Mountain, Colorado

You can read more about my previous hike up Mt. Evans at the below link:

We then walked to the eastern end of the rock escarpment and had some more nice views of the meadows below:

Picture from Spruce Mountain, Colorado

Greenland has a number of buttes and plateaus which were also easily spotted from Spruce Mountain:

Picture from Spruce Mountain, Colorado

After spending about an hour hanging out on the summit and watching my daughter play on the rocks, we proceeded to head back to the trailhead.  Along the way we once again enjoyed a few views of the surrounding plateaus, buttes, and meadows:

Picture from Spruce Mountain, Colorado

We also enjoyed what was left of the autumn scenery:

Picture from Spruce Mountain, Colorado

We quickly found ourselves at the base of Spruce Mountain walking across a meadow back towards the trailhead.  During the walk back we had a really nice view of the escarpment called Eagle Mountain:

Picture from Spruce Mountain, Colorado

After passing through some scrub bushes we then found ourselves back at the trailhead:

Picture from Spruce Mountain, Colorado

Conclusion

My daughter and I spent about 3-hours of good quality time together hiking up Spruce Mountain.  The Open Space really is a great family location with various trails that should please anyone visiting the park.  The approximately 400 feet of elevation gain to the top of the escarpment was a perfect challenge for my three-year old.  I look forward to pushing her on longer and tougher hikes in the future, but for now this hike was enough that she was asleep in her car seat within 5 minutes after leaving the park.  However, the hike was too much for her to where she did not want to go hiking again.  She still asks me when is the next time she can go hiking with me again which is music to my ears.

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