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West Spanish Peak Trail to Summit

Difficult
  4.0 ( 1 ) Favorite

Trail

3.6 mile 5.8 kilometer point to point
77% Runnable
Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 2,399' 731 m
Descent: -105' -32 m
High: 13,572' 4,137 m
Low: 11,260' 3,432 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 13% (8°)
Max Grade: 95% (43°)

Dogs

Unknown
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Trail shared by Gary Smith

2.5 miles of fairly easy running to the base of the peak, then a steep and rocky climb to the summit.

Gary Smith

Features Geological Significance · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

The first 1.6 miles of the run takes you through a beautiful meadow and into the pine forest on a gentle run to where the West Spanish Peak Trail meets the Apishipa Trail. Stay left to follow the West Spanish Peak Trail for another mile along switchbacks offering beautiful views of the Cuchara valley, Sangre de Cristo mountain range, and Sierra Blanca peak.

This section of the trail ends at the tree line with a very steep and rocky climb to the top of the peak. As you climb, more spectacular views can be seen. From the top of the West Spanish Peak, there are 360-degree views of the surrounding valleys and rock dikes that extend from the base of the mountain.

The Spanish Peaks were designated as a national natural landmark in 1976. There is a plaque along the beginning of the trail about this.

Need to Know

There is a parking fee of $7. There is a restroom at the trailhead.

I would not recommend climbing the steep peak if it looks like rain. The rocks would become very slippery and make it difficult to descend the mountain.

Description

This trail starts out through meadows and forest as it gradually climbs to the base of the West Spanish Peak. There are various points to stop along the way and enjoy wonderful views of the landscape surrounding the peak. There are wildflowers along the way. Beware, we did come across a black bear looking at us on the trail. I yelled "hey bear" loudly and it quickly ran away.

The climb up the face of the Spanish Peak is steep and rocky. Be careful when placing your feet; the rocks are unstable and will move and slide under foot. The trail can be hard to find at times. Keep an eye out for the next cairn and head in that direction. The views as you ascend the peak are spectacular, with views of the rock wall "dikes" spreading out like fingers from the base of the peak.

The views from the top of the peak are, again, spectacular. The beauty of the East Spanish Peak can be seen from there. There are views of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range.

Flora & Fauna

There are wildflowers along the lower trail and on the steep rocky climb. There are birds, pica, marmot, and we did see a black bear.

History & Background

Visit spanishpeakshistory.com for more info.

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  4.0 from 1 vote

#3287

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#426

in Colorado

#3,287

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179 Since Jul 22, 2019
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Photos

Looking back down the trail on West Spanish Peak
Aug 1, 2018 near Walsenburg, CO
Running across the ridge.
Jul 20, 2017 near Walsenburg, CO
View of geological dikes radiating from West Spanish Peak
Aug 1, 2018 near Walsenburg, CO
Nearing the top of the ridge. The grade was brutal
Jul 20, 2017 near Walsenburg, CO
Early crossing of meadow. West Spanish Peak is hard to miss
Jul 20, 2017 near Walsenburg, CO
A view of the East Spanish Peak from the top.
Aug 2, 2019 near Walsenburg, CO

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