Spruce Mountain (7,605′) | Colorado | 11/15/19


Spruce Mountain (7,605′) | Douglas County Open Space

Larkspur, CO | 11/15/19 | 5.54 miles | 565′ gain | Class 1


Last Friday I met up with Diana for a hike. Diana and I actually met on WordPress, but this was our first time meeting in person. (And if you don’t follow Diana’s blog, you should definitely do so here!) We’d both heard good things about Spruce Mountain, so it was an easy choice for our first hike together.

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Through a Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir forest

The trailhead was nearly empty when we arrived and we enjoyed almost complete solitude for the entire hike. Spruce Mountain is a mesa, so it has a broad, flat top and steep, cliffy sides. We followed an easy trail up a few hundred feet to the top of the mesa, where we intersected the summit loop trail. The loop trail wraps around the edge of the summit area. Much of the trail was forested but we’d often come to open areas with awesome views.

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Through a scrub oak opening

At one point we stopped to admire the spruce trees and then Diana pointed out that they were fir, not spruce. We looked around and saw nothing but fir and pine. In fact, we never saw a single spruce the entire hike. Any guesses to why this one is called Spruce Mountain?

Distracted from the search for a spruce, we continued along the summit loop trail, stopping at every overlook for a picture.

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Me and Toby with Pikes Peak (14,115′) in the background (left)
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A coal train chugs by, probably coming from the coal mines of Wyoming or Montana
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Nearby Eagle Mountain
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Mushroom rocks with Pikes Peak (14,115′) in the distance
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Cliffs along the side of Spruce Mountain

Before we knew it, we’d finished the summit loop trail and began to head back towards the parking lot. In order to see something slightly different, we took the Oak Shortcut trail back to the car. This shaved off nearly half a mile but was a bit steeper than the standard route. However, I did enjoy walking through the tallest scrub oak (Gambel oak, Quercus gambellii) that I had ever seen.

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Tall scrub oak along the Oak Shortcut trail

Chelsea


 

12 thoughts on “Spruce Mountain (7,605′) | Colorado | 11/15/19

    1. Thank you for letting me know! The site I use (14ers.com) lists an elevation of 14,110′ for Pikes Peak (but most everything on Google states 14,115′). I looked into it to figure out where the discrepancy comes from, and it looks like some sites like 14ers.com, peakbagger.com, etc. use the 1929 survey elevations since those are the ones used by most topo maps, BUT the elevations were re-surveyed in 1988, and Pikes is actually 14,115′. So interesting! I’d never come across this before.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I actually meant to pull up 14ers.com last night to reference this height, but the site was down. I did not realize that they had not updated the official height. Since we live right at the foot of Pikes Peak, we have been indoctrinated. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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