|Elevation gain||584 ft|
|My Time||2 hr 05 min|
|Food Nearby||Larkspur Pizzaria|
Spruce Mountain Loop
The Spruce Mountain Loop is a moderately challenging hike in Larkspur that normally has great views in half mountain half forest setting. The elevation gain isn’t too bad so many people should be able to enjoy this hike.
The loop is a bit of a loose figure eight design. To get started I kept straight on Eagles Pass Trail instead of taking the first left. This took me on the north side of the path for .4 miles where I came to the junction for the Oak Shortcut. The sign just mentions the Spruce Mountain loop here and doesn’t name the Oak shortcut.
The Oak Shortcut is a loop itself but it will also take you to the Spruce Mountain trail after .3 miles. This is a really nice area to walk with a bit of a narrower trail but surrounded by trees.
Once you have walked the .3 miles on this portion of the trail you will come to another junction. The junction is a little hard to read as it is more of just an opening in the trees. If you continue to go straight you will loop back and head to the parking lot. To the right (south) coming from this direction will take you up Spruce Mountain.
Spruce Mountain Trail
The Spruce Mountain Trail section consists of a one mile trail followed by a 2.3 mile loop. The first section of the trail before the loop is the hardest. It has several switchbacks and you will gain around 200 feet of elevation in the one mile section. This portion of the trail is also surrounded by tall trees and is a really nice walk.
The Top Loop
The largest section of the trail is the 2.3 mile loop that takes you to Spruce Mountain. Over the first mile you will gain about another 150 feet of elevation and that will be the last of your elevation gain for the hike. The top of the loop culminates at Spruce Mountain and is in the open air with many smaller bushes and a few trees.
This is where all the best views of the hike are supposed to be. Spruce Mountain peaks at 7612 feet and there is an area called windy point there. As you may have been able to notice, the weather was not allowing for views on this day. In fact, it was so thick I couldn’t see past the edge at all!
After windy point it is time to finish the upper loop. Another 2.3 miles will get you back to that beginning clearing where you took the Spruce Mountain Trail. This time you will want to follow the signs for the Oak Shortcut and head to the east. The trail will do a long switchback and connect back to the parking lot.
Obviously from the pictures the conditions were less than ideal for this hike. It did make for some beautiful images of the trees covered in a snow and frost. The wind and snow made visibility difficult and the trail was pretty iced up though. It is important to stay prepared in the winter for weather to change very quickly. Spikes were very important on this hike as were the layers that I wore even though the forecast was for a much nicer day. Here is a bit of video I shot to give you an idea on the weather.
Stay safe out there!
Elevation and Distance
If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 5.49 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 584 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 7,632 feet. I was also moving for a total of 2 hours and 5 minutes.
The actual hike wasn’t that challenging. The elevation gains were spread out over long distances. The January day that I went proved to be more of a challenge due to the weather. The trail was often icy which made everything a little bit slower moving. Here is the step count from my Fitbit.
The trail for the Spruce Mountain loop was in really good shape. It is wide, around 4-6 feet in most places, and is mostly flat. The dirt has enough roots and rocks to keep the cyclists happy but not enough to add much difficulty. It is a popular trail for bikes so keep an eye out for that. I would suggest a good pair of hiking shoes.
When I went in January the trail was mostly covered with ice and I needed to wear spikes.
The Spruce Mountain Open Space is located at 13415 Spruce Mountain Road in Larkspur, Colorado. The trail is open to bikers, hikers, and horseback riders. Parking is available for about 25-30 cars in the dirt lot and there are a couple of port-o-potties at the trailhead.
The weather was really a blessing and a curse on this hike. I would have loved to see the views from the top of the mountain but the frost covering all of the trees and bushes had its own type of beauty.
The hike itself is not the most challenging that I have been on. The elevation gains are spread out pretty over the whole hike with only a few sections that are a challenge. Most of the trail has good shade with only a bit at the end being exposed so this might be a good hike in those warm summer months to keep the sun off.
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