About 15 miles south and a world away from Castle Rock, Colorado, is Spruce Mountain Open Space, one of my favorite day hikes in Douglas County, and a great place to get away from it all. There are nearly nine miles of trails to explore, whether on foot, horseback or mountain bike. From the parking lot off Spruce Mountain Road just south of the town of Larkspur, there’s a flat half-mile approach until you reach some switchbacks, which make a short, easy ascent to the top of the mesa through a tranquil forest of ponderosa pine and Douglas fir. The trail continues around Spruce Mountain’s circumference and affords fantastic views of the Front Range, Palmer Divide, and Pikes Peak.
Here’s a good resource for the Spruce Mountain Open Space: Douglas County, Colorado – Spruce Mountain Open Space
And here’s a trail map in PDF format: Spruce Mountain Open Space – Trail Map