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Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

Spruce Mountain Trail Loop

Colorado Butte With a Beautiful View

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    This guide contains photos
 (3 votes, 1 review)
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 5.0 miles / 8.0 km
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly • Dog Friendly
 
Overview: Just east of the Rampart Range section of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains the plains limestone buttes rise randomly across the plains. One of the largest of these rocky islands is Spruce Mountain, situated west of I-25 and north of the small town of Palmer Park, CO. Spruce Mtn. provides a delightful opportunity to enjoy views of Pikes Peak, Rampart Range, the Greenland Open Space, and the Palmer Divide.

Douglas County has provided and excellent trailhead which includes a toilet. From the trailhead you can ascend to the top of the butte by a long shallow trail or by a short steep trail. The longer trail adds about a half mile to your hike. On the top of the butte is a shaded loop trail that allows for a tranquil walk among pine and fir groves. Punctuating the stillness, in the spring and summer, is a riot of wildflowers. The trail eventually takes you to Windy Point, where you can look over the edge at the valley 200 ft below, or look out to the south and marvel at Pike’s Peak.


Tips: Directions: From Colorado Springs, take the County Line Rd Exit off I-25. Drive west toward Palmer Park, past the Greenland Open Space parking area, across the railroad track. Turn right (north) on Spruce Mtn. Rd, and drive north about 3 miles to the trailhead (on the left).

From Denver: take the Greenland Exit (167) to the west and travel ¼ mile west and ½ mile south. Bypass the Greenland Trailhead and continue right on the main gravel road (Noe Road) over two sets of railroad tracks and continue another mile to Spruce Mountain Road. Take a left and head south for about one mile to the parking area on your right.

1. Easy walk with kids, but keep and eye on them because the cliffs are steep.
2. Dogs are welcome – on a leash; Rangers patrol this area and will write you a ticket if your animal is off leash

Points of Interest

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Trailhead

This trailhead accommodates cars and trucks only – horse trailers may be parked at the large Spruce Meadows Trailhead along Noe Road to the northeast. Head east from the lot through the gate. Decide whether you want to take the Oak Shortcut (steeper) or the regular ascent to the top of the butte. Even in winter, the longer route is walkable (see pic). Shortly after you reach the top you’ll find a lookout that gives a great view of the Palmer Divide and other buttes to the east. Maybe you’ll be on time to watch the Colorado Springs coal train lumber by.
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Paddock's Point

The trail heads through the middle of the top of the butte for another half mile before it splits into the loop. Along the way, you’ll encounter Paddock’s Point. This marker is dedicated to a gentleman who did much to promote conservation in Douglas County. Here you’ll get a good look at Eagle Mtn. to the northeast. At the trail junction, I’ll direct you to the right, going around the loop counterclockwise.
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Flowers

I’ve noted this one particular point for wildflowers. Actually they’re everywhere in the spring and summer. The pictures you’re seeing here are courtesy of my wife on one our jaunts. You’ll pass a sign for the Forest Service Road on your right. If you were to take this road down, you could turn right at the bottom and return to the trailhead along Eagle Pass Trail.
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Windy Point

As the name suggests, it’s breezy out here. To the south is Pike’s Peak, visible if the clouds aren’t in the way. Below you are several private ranches.
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Upper Loop Lookout

The trail comes close to the edge of the cliffs here. Again the panorama is stunning. You’ll also have a great opportunity to look back along the cliffs of the southern section of the butte. Head back to the trail split and the descent to the trailhead. If you took the long way up, take the Oak Shortcut back to your vehicle, or vice versa.
Pictures in this guide taken by: dougknighton
Reviews
colokeith
This is a really fun trail, and it is easily accessible from Monument or Castle Rock.

It is a great place for a trail run. You can warm up with a 10 minute steep hike, and then run 4 miles on a relatively flat loop.

Visited on May 25, 2011

by colokeith on Jun 20, 2011

Spruce Mountain Trail Loop Trail Map


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About the Author

dougknighton
dougknighton
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Retired Air Force Chaplain who began military life as an Airborne Ranger. Evidently I didn't get enough...

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