West Spanish Peak Trail

HARD 56 reviews
#16 of 114 trails in

West Spanish Peak Trail is a 7.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Aguilar, Colorado that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and trail running and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
7.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,624 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

hiking

trail running

forest

views

wildlife

rocky

Directions from La Veta: Travel 20 miles south of La Veta on Highway 12. Turn east on Forest Road 46 and take it 6 miles to the summit of Cordova Pass. There is a trailhead sign here.

hiking
7 days ago

The trail is fairly easy to the tree line. The climbing starts above the tree line. We made it to 13,000 feet by about 11:30am. We had to turn back because of a sudden thunderstorm. We will have try again sometime. The views were amazing even though we didn’t get to the summit.

hiking
11 days ago

I hiked this trail this morning. Started at 11am completed the roundtrip (including a 30-minute pause at treeline for lunch) at 2:30pm. Made it only to the 12,000 ft spot at treeline. That last mile was going to be too steep for my knees. I brought my trekking poles and was grateful that I did. As mentioned before, much of the trail is easy to hike, much of which is in shade, although lots of loose shale and rock. The view at 12,000 feet was stunning, lots of aspens already turning golden yellow along the way, and the entire trail was amazingly empty of people, which was lovely. Definitely helpful if you're already comfortable with high altitude, as I was. Current parking fee: $7. Important note: Cordova Pass should be driven slowly and carefully if you're not driving a high-profile vehicle - truck or SUV with a higher undercarriage. Lots of divets, lots of weaving along the roadway to make sure the rocks and road didn't scrape the undercarriage elements of my car.

hiking
17 days ago

My fiancée and I hiked this peak on July 9th. We started at around 8am and it took us a total of 5.5hrs (not including the hour we just hung out on the peak itself). This is definitely a moderate+ trail. The first three miles up are beautiful, shaded, and a pretty easy trek, but the last mile or so hiking past the tree line was not. It’s very steep, and the loose shale and rocks make it a pretty tough climb. Definitely worth the absolute gorgeous view from the top, though! Trekking poles are highly recommended, as is some oxygen if you struggle with the altitude. Can’t wait to climb her sister mountain (East Spanish Peak) next!

hiking
18 days ago

My husband and I hiked West Spanish Peak with our dog on Sunday, 9/2/18. We started around 8:30 AM. The road to the trailhead is pretty rough in places; I would recommend taking a vehicle with sufficient ground clearance. Plenty of parking at the trailhead. I would describe the trail as moderately trafficked the day we did it. Many people had dogs (which according to the sign just have to be under control, not necessarily on a leash). As previous reviews note, it is fairly level for the first ~2.5 miles, then you begin gaining elevation quickly. It is a solid class 2 above treeline. We were about 600 vertical feet from the summit when a storm blew in out of nowhere (around 10:30 AM). My husband summited, but I turned around. He said the top was completely socked in with no visibility. I used trekking poles for the first time on this hike and was so glad I had them coming down given the steep trail and slick rocks from the rain/sleet/snow. I would put this hike in the "hard" category given the elevation gain and route-finding necessary in the last mile. Husband clocked it at 7.3 miles roundtrip. We will have to come back again when the weather is better!

hiking
1 month ago

My husband climbed West Spanish Peak July 28; he started at 6am and reached the summit by 9am. Approx the first 3 miles (which took us ~90 min) were a nice, gradual climb on a good, often wide trail alternating between woods and meadows with views of the West Spanish Peak. Once reaching the rocky base of the climb at treeline, the trail immediately got down to business, climbing nearly 2,000 feet in elevation in the last 1 - 1 1/2 miles. While the first part could be rated easy, the rocky and steep climb was definitely moderate+ for an average hiker. From this point, it was another 90 min to the summit. The trail is rocky and hard to follow in spots, but aim upward and look for the many cairns. At the summit, there are great views of the natural dikes below and nearby East Spanish Peak. Spent 90 min at the summit and was back to the TH by 1pm (this included lots of stops to chat with folks). There is a nice campground with a clean restroom at the TH if you want to spend the night before there.

hiking
2 months ago

What a unique and beautiful 13er. Trailhead to treeline is easy, but then it's a gnarly slog through steep, loose rock from treeline to summit. 14er comparison: it's like the Bierstadt first 2 miles followed by two of the Quandary final ascents back to back [standard routes]. In fact, I found the difficulty level comparable to Bierstadt or Quandary. The views are incredible. The igneous dikes are such a unique geological feature. Full summer conditions, absolutely no snow.

3 months ago

This hike was super enjoyable. It's pretty tough because of the elevation but I found the trail to be easy to follow and the views are outstanding. The trail is a lot of loose rock especially at the top. I usually hike in trail runners but was glad I wore a more substantial hiking shoe with deeper lugs and support. Hiking poles also make coming down much easier. I did the whole thing in 5.5 hours.

3 months ago

great hike until you reach the tree line. then your in for a great incline spike

3 months ago

Fairly easy hike to the top of a mountain with spectacular views! bring water, and watch for afternoon thunderstorms. We've also got mushrooms in the late summer.

hiking
3 months ago

Got to trailhead in small sedan from Aguilar, a little rough going but definitely doable. It is steep after treeline but hard to lose the path if you're following the cairns. Saw 6 pika! Lovely view of East Spanish Peak from the top.

hiking
3 months ago

Awesome hike!! Beautiful trail, gorgeous views and not crowded!! Definitely steep challenging on the rocks towards the summit, but SO worth it!! This is a very underrated and under appreciated peak, a must-do for any hiker, yes even 14er climbers.

hiking
4 months ago

Moderate my $%#@!!!! While the first 2-3 miles are a lovely stroll in the woods, once you hit treeline for the hike to the summit, the trail can best be described as somewhat vertical; more of an eroding set of social trails than most 14ers I've been on; relentingly steep with patches of loose talus and challenging footing; and a risk to the ankles. If you're going to do it, I might suggest hiking poles. I never use them but I think they would have been worthwhile. It's one of the worst "trails" I've been on in over 25 years of hiking and backpacking in Colorado. Nice view though!

hiking
6 months ago

My all time favorite mountain (despite it being a few hundred feet short of being a fourteener)! I absolutely love the Spanish Peaks Wilderness in general and West Spanish Peak is the pinnacle of this region's beauty. The first part of the hike is quite easy and gradually ascends through the forest until you reach treeline. After treeline, the hike gets abundantly more difficult. The trail is mostly easy to decipher on your way up but at times you may have to look for cairns. You pretty much trudge straight up through the talus and scree with the occasional switchback here and there. I would definitely recommend poles for balance and security on some of the trickier, steeper parts of which there are quite a few. Traction devices may be necessary if you're hiking before April/May or after October. The 360 view from the top is incredibly beautiful- particularly looking toward the Sangre de Cristo Range immediately to the southwest. East Spanish Peak is also gorgeous to view from this summit and you really get an expansive perspective on this wonderful area of southern Colorado, my favorite part of our state!

7 months ago

This was a nice hike. I had long wanted to summit this peak, having often admired it while going over La Veta Pass. On the mountain proper, it gets pretty steep and the footing can be a little loose and wobbly in places. Be careful! Trekking poles add stability.

backpacking
8 months ago

Beautiful trail that gets challenging above the tree line. It was cold and VERY windy, but very little snow or ice.

hiking
9 months ago

A really beautiful trail in a really pretty part of Colorado. Easy trail til the tree line then pretty much straight up. Snow on the trail but not too bad. Above treeline no snow at all. Really windy as a storm front was pushing in from the west.

10 months ago

Great hike.

hiking
11 months ago

The hike is an easy trail to the tree line with some gradual climbs before breaking out. Lots of birds but not much other wildlife in mid-October. From the tree line, up it is hard. The day I hiked it was windy and noisy and about 40F at the tree line. The hike is just on the edge of a break in the terrain, and I could stay out of the wind. If I wanted to move over to see to the NW I could barely stand up due to the wind. The trail is well marked with rock cairns nearly every 50’ (they had a lot of rocks to choose from!). Solid sole shoes/boots are a must as it is entirely rock. I was thankful to have a walking stick on the way down. I missed the sheep, but saw a pika. With the wind, the birds would fly by at rocket speed. At about 13120 the trail ventures closer to the edge and steepens. I was about blown down by a gust so I decided to call it a day.
I am not a power hiker, just persistent. I would allow 6 hours round trip. If you are in great shape and acclimated to the altitude I’m sure it can be done much faster, but why? The views are fantastic. A success in my book anytime!

hiking
Thursday, August 24, 2017

Great hike!! We did not make it to the top but just to the tree line. Dark was fast approaching and I suffered from some altitude sickness. We will return!! Lots of big mushrooms and we found some wild berries. We even got to watch the storm role in over the mountains.

hiking
Thursday, August 24, 2017

Awesome hike! Bring plenty of water and a snack for the summit and tree line as well. Boots are a must! My 12 and 13 year olds made it to the top but dealt with altitude sickness. This is tough but do able. Take baby steps and enjoy the summit. Beautiful!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

So easy. But nice views.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Fun climb, pay attention as you arrive at the large cairn at tree line, the trial appears to travel around the south side of the mountain, but it does not, head up the ridge line and you will find the next cairn.

hiking
Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Hiked at sunrise and made it to the summit in 2 1/2 hours. The trail is easy to moderate until you see a big cairn above tree line. From there it is a hard climb to the top, the last 1/2 mile was steep bouldering until the summit. The grind to the top is well worth it. The views are truly humbling. I was able to summit with no gear and tennis shoes, but hiking boots would have been nice. Even if you don't plan on making it to the top, there is a very nice look out view just above treeline. We also saw a pack of 15 big horned sheep halfway up the peak. So cool!!

hiking
Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Nice hike to tree line. Path gets obscured as you go up. Look for cairns to guide you to the path. Made it to the top. View is worth it. Path down is visible and considerably easier.

hiking
Saturday, July 01, 2017

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Easy trail until timberline. Due to cloud cover was hard funding the trail from timberline until, we reached an outcrop of rocks. Noticed some hiked the snow, but wasn't necessary today.

hiking
Thursday, June 22, 2017

Beautiful view at the top. Part of the trail is still covered in snow that is very slick so be prepared to take it slow.

hiking
Monday, June 19, 2017

(Disclaimer: Probably would give it 4.5 stars.) This trail offers amazing views of the spanish peak wilderness and Sangre de cristo mountains all the way up. Once you get to the tree line the route is obscured. Don't get faked out by game trail across the scree to the right. I was was hiking solo and did get faked out. Once I saw some guys above I realized I was going the wrong direction. There is a huge pyramid of rocks that serves as a marker. Basically, with the rocks behind you looking up, you have to start climbing there (until the snow melts). It was a scramble up to the top while occasionally finding bits of trail. Saturday weather was absolutely perfect. No jacket required at summit and you could see the San Juan range in the distant west!

hiking
Friday, October 07, 2016

Great hike! While it is rated moderate, keep in mind that the first half is an easy hike through the forest and the second half is a significantly more difficult ascension up the mountain. The view at the end is incredible though and well worth it. I strongly recommend this hike in the early fall when the aspen are changing colors.

Friday, August 19, 2016

I would call this trail moderate to hard. The trail to tree line is pretty easy. Tree line the path becomes harder to find and if your afraid of heights that trail is not for you. I made it 12012 and my nerves and adrenaline got the best of me. So much for facing my fears but the rest of my group summit the mountain. Amazing views!

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