“A mellow run through the woods followed by the abruptly steep climb up West Spanish Peak.”
— David Regan
Cordova Pass has a daily $5 fee and $10 camping fee.
The Spanish Peaks separate themselves from the rest of the Colorado Rockies in that they were formed by igneous intrusions. The cause of their existence has led to their extreme prominence, visible for a long stretch of I-25 from New Mexico. This led Native Americans of old to name them the "Breasts of the Earth." West Spanish Peak is the larger of the two sitting at 13,625 ft.
West Spanish Peak Trail starts at Cordova Pass, which lies at 11,243 ft.The first mile and a half of this trail are a dream. Mostly flat, the trail rolls through the forest with frequent views. The next half mile through the trees, the trail gradually climbs to timberline. Here, the trail decreases to cairns on a long and steep slope scree for the final stretch a little over a mile. This last bit covers around 1,800 feet of elevation gain. It bombs straight up the southwest ridge... not for the faint of heart. Once approaching the top to the ridge, take a right to reach the nearby summit.
The views from the summit are spectacular, featuring ancient dikes that appear as rock walls rising above the trees below. The east features plains as far as the eye can see and the west, the mountainous terrain of the Sangres and more.