DOUGLAS COUNTY — In our exclusive series Adventures with Alan, we'll travel across Southern Colorado week-by-week to show you thrills and chills, hidden gems and well-known spots.
This week, our adventure takes us to Douglas County for a second time this year to visit a popular open space known to attract hikers and bikers from near and far.
With 8.5 miles of trails to explore, the Spruce Mountain Open Space can be found just miles from Palmer Lake.
We start out our adventure on the Spruce Mountain Loop.
Moderate in difficulty, the trail begins by crossing a wide-open meadow.
Mostly flat sections straight out of the gate give us an opportunity to soak in the spectacular views of Eagle Mountain in front of us.
From the meadow to the mountain, it's time to start climbing.
Spruce Mountain is heavily forested, with more shade than sun.
This time of the year, north facing slopes along the side of the mountain present us with a new challenge.
They receive much less direct sunlight than warmer south facing slopes. However, that will change over the next several weeks now that spring has arrived.
With all that shade, we encounter a good amount of snow, ice and mud along this part of the trail, and that makes the vertical ascent harder than it should be.
But, it's not long before we reach the top, with gorgeous views in nearly every direction.
From wide open spaces to Eagle Mountain to Pikes Peak, we take it all.
We can also see I-25 off in the distance as it snakes through the Gap.
Everyone here is super friendly, and we make new friends along the way, including some adorable four-legged friends.
Instead of finishing the Upper Loop, we take the hikable service road down to the valley to avoid the challenging section of ice and mud that we just hiked through.
From the bottom of the service road, we connect with Eagle Pass Trail and work our way back to the trail head.
The idea for our hike at the Spruce Mountain Open Space came from a News 5 viewer.
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