Trail Snapshot: Elk Falls Overlook Hike at Staunton State Park
- Hike Distance: 10.8 Mile Round Trip
- Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
- Duration: Approx 4-6 hr
- Trail Type: Out & Back
- Starting Elevation: Approx. 8200′
- Elevation Gain: +900′
- Seasons: All Year
- Dogs: Allowed On Leash
- Hike Trail Map: Click for a Map of Staunton State Park
- Denver Drive Time: 45 min
- Driving Directions to Staunton State Park: Click for Google Map
- Town Nearest Hike: Conifer, Colorado
- Beauty: Waterfall, Rock Formations, Meadows, Pine Forest, Ponds, Hummingbirds, and Deer
- Activities: Hiking, Photography, Mountain Biking (on many trails)
- Fee: Entrance Fee or State Parks Pass Required
Parking & Trailhead Information for Elk Falls in Staunton State Park
The Hike: Elk Falls in Staunton State Park
The Staunton Ranch Trail leads hikers into the heart of Staunton State Park, through stands of ponderosa pine and past the Staunton Rocks climbing area. After 3.3 miles, the trail ends at a trail intersection with three new trails. The most direct route to the Elk Falls overlook is to choose the Bugling Elk trail which follows a small creek for 1.1 miles until it arrives at Elk Falls Pond, a good place to stop and Fish.
At Elk Falls Pond, a third trail, the Lion’s Back Trail, leads another 1 mile up to the Elk Falls Overlook. Atop a highpoint, hikers will gain great views down to where Elk Falls drops from the cliff face into a beautiful mult-tiered waterfall. Out and Back, its a total of 10.8 miles.
Colorado State Parks is working on an Elk Falls Trail project that will eventually open access to the base of Elk Falls. This is projected to be completed and opened to the public in the Fall of 2016.
If you’d like to add a more challenging return segment to your hike and see new areas of the park, hikers can pick up the Marmot Passage trail until it meets with the hiker-only Scout Line trail, which eventually leads back to the main Staunton Ranch trail. This return route will add additional mileage, difficulty, and time to the hike back. Consult the trail map and topo lines to get a feel for the demanding nature of this option.
Tips & Resources for Hiking To Elk Falls Overlook :
- TIP: Getting into the park can be slow at times, so be prepared to wait at the entrance on busy weekends.
- Trekking Poles & Traction Devices are Recommended in Spring and Winter: During this time of year, there can be patches and even longer segments of snow and ice on the trail. Because of this, we recommend Trekking Poles and/or Traction Devices for this trail.
- Trail Map for Staunton State Park: Trail Map Link
- Packing List: Always pack the 10 Essentials. Download our Hiking Guide to get list and dayhiking packing checklist.
- Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
- After the Hike: Crow Hill Cafe in Bailey
- We would like to express our gratitude to Bill Chopp for sharing such an amazing photograph of Elk Falls.
Map & Driving Directions
Click for Driving Directions