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.
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.
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.
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.