Explore the most popular waterfall trails in Staunton State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

I was in town visiting family and had picked this particular park out for my first Colorado hiking adventure (with RMNP coming up 2 days later.) My cousin went with me and we were at the ranger station along 7:15 in the morning and set off by 7:30am. he weather was chilly at first but within the first hour, I was down to a fleece sweater only. While it was cool, the weather warmed up quickly. The weather was perfect
for hiking and we saw so many deer in the park on the trail while hiking.

We saw many who were out hiking, trail running, and mountain biking. Everyone was polite and keeping to LNT principles.

We started out on Staunton Ranch and did the overlook trail to Bugling Elk and back around to Elk Falls Pond. Suffice to say, the view was amazing and the water so crystal clear. There were a few places where there was still some snow - mostly in the shade
of the trees - but mostly the trail was manageable with no additional gear, provided you were mindful of your steps. If you're on the Staunton Ranch trail and before the overlook, there is a stream for filling bottles, provided it's also filtered.

Considering I only arrived into Denver the afternoon before, the climbs were challenging but also fun (coming from a very low elevation location.)

We took our time and arrived at the pond along around 10am. Elk Pond is a gorgeous place for a break, snack, pictures, and refilling water with a filter.

On our way out there was a group doing service maintenance and clearing out dead wood.

Park Volunteer Jenna lapped us twice and was so helpful out on the trails. We asked some questions and she had an abundance of information for us, too.

If I had more time, I would have tried to do Chimney trail and Lion's Head. Suffice that's what will be saved for next time.

4/29/18 Review from a Carolina Girl on a first time Colorado hike:
This hike peaked my interest for the wealth of things it suggests you will see and the distance was around what I desired. However, Staunton State park is beautifully marked giving you tons of options once you get into it! The deeper you go the greater the reward!!!
My route: Staunton Ranch to Marmot Passage. Relax at elk falls pond. Take chimney rock out to elk falls and back. Finish chimney rock to Elk Falls Lookout but continue to the top on Lions Head and back to EF pond via Lions back. Take the easy route back to Staunton ranch via Bugling elk, pick up Staunton ranch then explore climbers access where it parallels and reach then pop back on Staunton Ranch to the parking lot.
SR > MP > EFP > CR > EF > CR > EFL > LH > LB > BE > SR > CA > SR = 15.5 miles in 6 hrs(moderate)

I took the hike slower than normal given all the super cool views and my fear that the elevation would eventually get to me. Elevation ended up not being a problem at all! The views were stunning! Such variety! Moderate traffic; enough to feel relatively safe but not annoyed. I had a love hate relationship with the wind. The howling was intimidating and a bit scary at the peaks but it didn't batter me. Outside of SR, the trail is very well blocked from the effects of the wind (besides the sound). Enjoy the 'hikers only routes'; this is where the fun terrain is! Otherwise the trails are made for mountain biking. Do not miss the Elk Falls or Lions Head! It's so cool to first see the bottom of a waterfall in all its misty wonder, look out at Lions head in amazement then get to actually climb that mountain and look back down and across at the falls!!!
Tips: take the map! Jot down your route. Wear sunscreen. Chapstick and good hand lotion are a plus. Take a towel in case u want to dip you toes in the water options. Be flexible and enjoy the options! Take something that makes noise just in case u end up on long stretches solo; this is an active wildlife zone.

Great trail! I took the Staunton Ranch Trail all the way to Bugling Elk Trail then to Chimney Rock Trail. It's about 10.2 miles out and back that path instead of the one shown on this trailmap. Even though it snowed a bit two days ago, the trail was clear. There wasn't any ice or snow I had to deal with. The waterfall had some snow/ice in the shade at the base of the falls. I pretty much had the falls all to myself. Beautiful hike! Even though it was pretty windy today, some of the trail was protected from the wind. There's a $7 state park entrance fee if you don't already have a state park pass. Overall great hike and definitely coming back!

My fourth time up and took another new trail. We made it to the waterfall, about 10 miles round trip. A few snowy parts but we were fine with just our hiking poles.

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail. Perfect weather today. However, note this tail leads you to the Elk Falls Overlook and not the actual falls. You can get to the falls by using the Chimney Rock trail, which can be found toward the end of where this trail map leads.

Great views. Easy hike. I wasn’t a fan of the second half being on a service road but overall not bad. I would go again but would hit the other trails in the park instead.

hiking
1 month ago

Grab a trail map (AllTrails app and park trails are not the same)
We hiked in with about 30 of us, oldest around 60 & youngest (that completed on his own) was 8. Nice hike to the pond, beautiful overlook, steep down & back to the waterfall. On the way out storms rolled in so we went back the way we came in. Recommend seeing waterfall when ice has melted!

Great trail. We took a few detours and ended up a little over 14 miles. But pure beauty! Not very busy and those that were out were very friendly.

Extremely well maintained trails, signs, and routes. Pick up a map on the way in (it's a state park so $7/day or $70/yr annual pass). The route here corresponds to: Staunton Ranch Trail, to Scout Line Trail, to Marmot Passage Trail, to Bugling Elk Trail, finishing on Staunton Ranch Trail again. If you have the sunlight, weather, and energy, tack on the Lion's Back Trail to Lion's Head (+3mi). Awesome views!

A couple of people didn’t have their kids on a leash and were flying up behind hikers on mountain bikes without saying anything. If my dog has manners, your kid can too.

But that was at the bottom. Other than that was outstanding. No need for spikes or anything

I went last week and the trail was fantastic... snowpacked at points but no need for extra traction beyond normal hiking boots... only saw 3 other ppl there on a Wednesday... fantastic trail and well maintained... I will definitely be returning!

Agree with reviewer Kevin. There are many trails to follow. Get a map and plan your route. I took the Mason creek trail to old mill to Staunton ranch to do about an 8 mile loop and it was all trees the entire way.Very peaceful with some uphill and a few switchbacks and not many people, but I was hoping for a Mountain View. It was icy in many spots but I didn’t use spikes and I was fine.

First off, Staunton has a number of options for all levels of hikers (or just walkers). This review isn’t specific to the route in the map of this post, and that’s because you can make your hike whatever you want.

A buddy and I ended up doing 17.85 miles at this park including 3 overlook locations and a waterfall. Get the map to the park and make a determination off how far and how difficult you want your hike to be. Just make sure you know how to read contour lines :-)

Almost no wildlife, but we went in March. Parking lot was crowded, but hardly saw anyone while hiking.

We did a version of this that came out to 11.7 miles. Lots of snow on the ground but not ice yet. No need for extra traction but waterproof boots would be helpful. Had trouble finding the falls from the lookout. It was frozen over and snow covered so the views of the falls were not much. This hike gets you through some meadows, forest, a small lake and eventually to the lookout. At this time of year I would recommend skipping the lookout and taking the trail below the falls instead. Not many people once we got past the lake. Staunton Ranch trail can get crowded with people and bikes. Not too strenuous except for the last push to the lookout.

2.1.18 - Insane 360° views! I didn't see a single other person on the trail today. Very well-worn and marked path. Definitely on the easy side of "moderate". Saw three elk packs during the trek. Highly recommend!!

hiking
4 months ago

Didn’t see a single person the entire hike. Used yak tracks intermittently. Only a few slick spots after the lake.

trail running
4 months ago

No snow on the trails. On the no named road, packed snow. Beautiful and no drama.

Small bits of incline but for the most part, more flat and a wide trail. Esth has out for icy patches! The view was great :)

Fall hiking here is beautiful. Not a lot of people and plenty of wild life to see. The hardest part of hiking here is picking which trail to do. They all offer something special, which brings you back over and over again.

Awesome hike. Recommend it to anyone, especially if you have people in town visiting. Great mountain bike trail as well.

hiking
5 months ago

Nice open trail, excellent views

hiking
5 months ago

Still cannot believe I did close to 12 miles in 4.5 hours. The terrain makes it possible when I thought it was not but my feet knew how long it was but worth the pain for sure. Waterfall had me screaming in excitement. Started Trail at 830 and had waterfall all to myself for 25 min and started seeing humans on the way back. Perfect way to get out in nature on a solo hike :).

Very runnable--enough elevation gain to be challenging but fairly mellow and excellent trail conditions. The route is longer than the 12.8 miles noted in the description if you do the overlook and falls spurs, not just the loop to/from the pond; by my calculations closer to 16 miles (leaving from Mason Creek parking lot, adds a mile or so).

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful hike, moderately challenging (mainly long with some short spurts of elevation gain), with a very rewarding endpoint under the waterfall. Bring some food and have a picnic at the waterfall.. it's really peaceful there and worth hauling the extra weight.

Cheers!

Well worth every step.

Lots of colors at the lookout!

hiking
8 months ago

Worth the hike in. The view of the falls was nice but the falls are really beautiful. Not at all crowded while we were there, which is always nice.

8 months ago

Nice trail with a few minor rock challenges.

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