2903 m / 9524 ft
Nov 9, 2015
Oct 16, 2016 with N0TA
Spinney Mountain is a prominent, fun summit in South Park.
• Spinney Mountain State Park
• No marked trail
• Some route finding and navigation
• Excellent HF site
• Incredible views of South Park
• No access in winter
• ~ 8700 feet trailhead elevation
• ~ 825 vertical feet to the summit
• ~ 1.8 miles round trip
Spinney Mountain State Park is in South Park, about 15 miles west of Lake George, and about 10 miles southeast of Hartsel. The main feature of the Park is the large reservoir, which stores water from the South Platte River, and offers high-quality fishing.
• Drive to South Park
• From Colorado Springs via Highway 24, or from Denver via Highway 285
• Continue to the junction of Highway 24 and CR 23, about 4.4 miles west of Wilkerson Pass, and 10.5 miles east of Hartsel
• Drive south on CR 23 for 2.8 miles
• Turn right on Road 59, and drive 1.1 miles northwest
• Turn left, south, into the State Park
• Buy a pass at the entrance – a State Park pass is required to use this park.
• Follow the gravel road 2.2 miles south along the east side of the lake.
It’s important to park at the last small parking spot near the lake, just north of the large parking area at the southern boat ramp. Some repeat driving on the one-way roads may be needed to figure out which parking spot is correct – please read the next part carefully:
A large fence runs along the base of Spinney Mountain, about 100 to 200 yards east of the road. This fence is posted only with signs that prohibit hunting. However, just in the area near the dam, near the southeast corner of the lake, there’s additional posting, with no access to the land east of the road. If you go down there and then head back north, along the exit road toward the entrance area, look carefully at the fence to spot a stile. This stile allows passage through the fence for some game animals, so they’re not prevented from migrating. The stile is located in a draw about 200 yards east of the road. It’s important to locate this stile; then park in the parking area near the lake and west of this stile. Note that parking is prohibited along the roads!
A game trail leads east from the parking area and most of the way to the stile. In 2015 the stile was not posted with any signs, but there was a game camera pointing east, positioned to photograph animals crossing the stile. In 2016 there were still no signs, but the camera was not there. Cross through the fence at the stile, and hike east and up toward the summit. Please don’t try to cross the fence anywhere except at the stile.
There are several ways to ascend Spinney Mountain – I chose to hike up the ridge northwest of the summit; the ridges seem easier than the gullies. Several good game trails are available.
From the summit ridge, climb to the barren top of the north summit. Remains of a survey station lie near a large pile of rocks. There’s a jar with climbers’ names on a paper pad. Spinney Mountain has awesome views of South Park and numerous alpine peaks around this high basin.
The activation zone along the ridge has few trees, so plan on putting up a pole and guying it to the rocks. It can be windy, but it’s easy to find shelter behind the summit. Be careful of the cactus plants growing on the ground, as well as the wires used to guy the old survey station.
Spinney Mountain is very prominent in all directions; activating it is like being on an 800 foot tower! Little development is nearby, and the HF noise level is low; this is a fine HF site. VHF/UHF coverage is limited mostly to South Park. My HF activations up there were fun:
On Nov 9, 2015, I logged 42 CW contacts on 7, 10, 14, 18, and 21 MHz.
On Oct 16, 2016, I logged 42 CW contacts on 10 and 14 MHz, including a summit-to-summit contact with K6HPX/P on W7A/CS-038, and a DX contact with EA2IF in Spain.
Note that the State Park closes for the winter – usually this occurs in early November. Check to be sure it’s open before heading out there. In the fall be cautious of possible hunters in the land east of the Park. I saw no evidence of hunting when I was there on Nov 9, but I saw many deer. Please read and follow the park rules.
It’s possible to combine an activation of Spinney Mountain with nearby Sulphur Mountain W0C/SP-121 about three miles to the north, as well as with many other SOTA summits in South Park.
Spinney Mountain Photo Gallery:
!! WARNING !! There are old mountaineers, and bold mountaineers... there are no old-bold mountaineers. Hiking and mountain climbing are potentially hazardous activities particularly in Colorado with its extreme elevations. I am not accepting responsibility for any death or injury resulting from activations based on my trip reports. Proper training, experience, and personal capability assessment is required - enjoy!