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I‘ve wanted to climb the Spanish Peaks for years. They‘re quite distinctive, and visible from my house in Colorado Springs on clear days. I was headed down to Questa, NM, and decided this would be a good chance to hit one of them on the way back home.
The driving directions posted on the second page of this link by mtgirl are spot-on.
The profile says it‘s about 6-7 miles roundtrip with 2200 or so elevation gain. That sounds pretty easy. The trouble is that the first mile is flat or downhill, and then it‘s pretty gentle switchbacks. The last 3/4 mile gain 1500‘ or so, pretty steep. It‘s also my least favorite kind of scree: small enough that you can‘t scramble it well, and big enough that it‘s not like gravel. Basically, 1500‘ vert feet on loose, hard-to-find-the-trail, steep terrain.
Since the gain isn‘t all the big it‘s not too difficult physically, it‘s just annoying!
Also, there will billions and billions of tiny little flies (or something) up there. Didn‘t bite so it wasn‘t too bad, but in spots the snow would look like there were piles of dung or something. It was just masses of these bugs crawling over each other. Crazy!
Great views from the top, the radial dikes described in the other link are pretty cool, too. Definitely an interesting hike from a geological perspective since there are sedimentary rocks mixed in with ribs of igneous. Kinda cool.
The Cordova Pass trailhead has a bathroom and parking spots, and costs $5/day to park.
The first 1.5 miles or so are very easy, good trail. After that, look for the cairns and stay on the ridge, and do your best to follow the trail, such as it is.
Nice views, I‘m glad I did it, especially because I look at these on clear days on my drive to work. But the scree slog wore me down and I probably won‘t do it again.
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