Tried out a new hike. We hit the open space today. Actually there are several open spaces between Colorado Springs and Denver. This was the hike up Spruce Mountain--small by our normal standards, but the loop is advertised as being 5.5 miles. My GPS came in at 4.6 miles. This is a pretty easy hike, the trails are wide, the incline is pretty small, maybe 500 feet, then you do a loop on top of the mountain that is pretty level. This is a nice hike if you just want to put in miles and not worry about the elevation. You will run into a lot of people. From the looks of it, bikes are allowed as well as horses.Actually, I would take a horse over a biker any day. Mountain bikers just don't seem to respect anyone else. They think they own the trail. From Spruce mountain you can see Monument hill, Cheyenne Mountain to the south, and North to Castle rock. This was a windy day, but I think it's always windy up there as you can see from the sign that the far west end of Spruce Mountain is called Windy Point. Spruce mountain is a flat top, from the looks of the geology, much older than the Pike National Forest (that is made up of Pikes Peak Granite).
If you like to take along the dogs, note that there are several warnings posted about "Dogs must me on leash at all times---no exception". The fine is $50 if you are caught with your dog off leash. I came across a handfull of dog owners, none of which had their dogs leashed. Only one person (an idiot) had their dog with them (a St Bernard) not on a leash, or even a sign of a leash. I could tell his dog wanted to eat mine for lunch, he could hardly handle his dog.