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Lion's Head via Lion's Back Trail

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Staunton State Park

Lion's Head via Lion's Back Trail is a 11.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Conifer, Colorado that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 11.1 mi Elevation gain 1,850 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Backpacking

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Running

Forest

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

Snow

Description
Waypoints (0)

Please note: Lion's Head Trail is subject to seasonal closures between March 15-July 31

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (209)
Photos (699)
Recordings (167)
Completed (1013)
Nicholas Palmer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jul 08 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

Solo hiked this trail (modified) on 7/8/20. I arrived at 6:20 to the parking lot, and was hiking around 6:45. I only saw one other hiker and a mountain biker for the first hour and a half or so. I saw more deer than people during that time actually! However, later in the day, the trail does get pretty busy and hot. Lion's Head upper portion is closed seasonally, so I modified my hike making it a loop and also checking out Elk Falls. Over all, I did about 13 miles (recorded 12) and it took me just under 5 hours of hiking time. The trail is easy to locate from the parking lot, and wide enough to accommodate two passing hikers for the most part. Mountain bikers do frequently use the trail and for the most part make themselves heard, but keep an eye out. I will say the trail turns into a service/ Jeep road about halfway to the lake, and a Jeep did pass me on the road. Water sources are scatted throughout the hike about ever mile and a half or so and filtering shouldn't be a problem. There are also plenty of benches and rest spots along the way, with bathrooms and a porta-potty. Overall, this hike was a lot of fun, and relatively easy/moderate if you stick to the actual planned route. If you go the way I did - which I recommend - it was moderate but gives you a little different terrain on the way back with a beautiful waterfall. For the most part the trail was rolling hills, with slight ups and downs making this a great day hike even if you have kids.

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Kat Cheshire
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jun 29 2020
Hiking

Beautiful trail. I hiked on an overcast Sunday and surprisingly had no issues with parking or crowding. On the way up, I stopped at the overlook because there weren’t great signs on how to summit. Plus I was solo and hadn’t seen another hiker in a mile or so and didn’t want to risk it. But the overlook was great. I’d suggest taking chimney rock trail on the way down so you can see the foot of the falls. It will loop you back to the pond. Also took the alternative route back from the pond on Marmots passage. Beautiful views and added small mileage. Round trip was close to 13 and not too strenuous at all. Enjoy!

Mark Snook
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jun 27 2020
Hiking

Great trail, beautiful view at the end, pretty gradule inclines and generally nice scenery. Would recommend getting up early it got pretty hot. 10/10 Would recommend.

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Ryan Elrod
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Hiking

Parking lots nearly full by 8am on a Sunday morning but it was a beautiful day so no surprise there. The waterfall was the highlight, but lots of nice scenery throughout. Gradual ascents and descents and nothing too step. Lots of mtn bikers on the trails but they were all courteous. We clocked a little over 13 miles total and felt like we saw a majority of the park. All trails clearly marked which was nice.

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Eric Butler
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Apr 25 2020
Hiking

Currently, you can make it as far as the Elk Falls Overlook.

Amanda Jane
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Mar 14 2020
HikingFeeIcyMuddySnow

Note: The top/coolest part of the trail is closed March 15th until August. I made it up on March 14th, phew! However, the trail up there is NOT well marked and, apparently, not frequented much in the winter.

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Clayton P.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jan 28 2020
HikingIcySnow
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Michael Richardson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Nov 29 2019

doggo loved it!

J & P O’Keefe
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Oct 20 2019
Hiking

Hiked today, 10/19/19. No sign of snow and the trails are dry. But it was 20 degrees at the trailhead at 7:30 this morning. Bring layers. Staunton is a beautiful state park, with well-marked trails and spectacular views. Loved it!

Annell Hodges
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Oct 13 2019
HikingMuddyRocky
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Alan Cole
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSun Aug 18 2019
Hiking

Always a good hike to Elk Falls. Not very crowded, especially at the falls. The leg from the lake to the falls is great but parts of the trail is narrow with steep drop offs. Too narrow for a mountain biker to pass. Today we saw a young female biker freaking out to get by 5 people and nowhere for everyone to get.

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Bree Walker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jun 29 2019
Hiking

What an incredible hike! 13 mile loop with so much to see! The water fall is huge from the run off and the view from lions head is stunning! The pond is a great place for your pup to cool off! This hike is so well maintained and a must hike for this summer! There is a lot of shade and the difficulty is average not too tough to you really get to enough all the cool things to see! Lots of wildlife like deer and foxes. It’s truly an incredible hike!

Marla User
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jun 19 2019
Hiking

FANTASTIC! Did falls and overlook, over 12 miles. Wonderful hike, great trails.

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Amelia Rode
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jun 13 2019
Hiking

Hiked on a Sunday morning early June. Started before 8am and only passed a few groups in the beginning and were on our own for the last few miles. Trail was dry and fairly level. Gets more steep at the end when you are going to the overlook for Elk Falls. We did not continue all the way up Lions Head as that portion of the trail is closed in the summer. Round trip was 10 miles though it does not feel that long.

Lou Jacob
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed Jun 12 2019
Hiking

Decent trail. Note that Lion's Head trail (the last mile) is closed until July 31st due to nesting Raptors.

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Stefanie Klapper
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun May 12 2019
Hiking

5/12 Mariah

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Maria Marino
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon Feb 04 2019
Hiking

Unfortunately couldn't use snowshoes today. Had to return to the car and switch them for YakTrax. You definitely need them for traction over ice and remaining snow, although parts of the trail have melted back to dirt. Took SR (Staunton Ranch trail) from the parking lot to Elk Falls pond. I would rate that portion as easy, particularly because the bikes have packed the snow down. There is a nice little bench overlooking the pond if you head up the MP trail just a few feet. I then took MP (Marmot Passage) and SL (Scout Line) trails back for better view and wind cover! Up and down but nothing very hard. Amazing views on the way back. About 9 miles total, 4.5 hrs. with a lunch break.

Stephanie Zayatz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Feb 02 2019
HikingSnow

This was a great trail. Pretty level and not much elevation gain until the last mile from the pond up to the falls overlook. Today (2/2) the trail was snow packed and quite icy in some spots but with a pair of yaktrax I did just fine. Last mile from the pond to the falls was total powder though and extremely difficult. Snowshoes would have helped. Can’t wait to do this trail again in the spring.

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k B.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon Jan 07 2019
Hiking

Pretty and very quiet hike after getting off the Staunton ranch portion of the trail. Didn’t need spikes, trail was quite easy and marked clearly. Some nice views and beautiful trees throughout. The best views, in my opinion, were on the return route on Scout line trail. Saw several good sized bucks on SR, about half a mile from the trailhead. Did 11 miles total in 4 hrs + a few minutes. Route I took out was trailhead to SR - BE - CR - EF then on the return route: EF - CR - MP - SL (most scenic view portion) - SR to trailhead. Not too bad of a hike.

Theresa Costa
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Sep 27 2018
Hiking
Saadrick Lamar
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Sep 22 2018

Breathtaking scenery along the way and at the end. Took me 5 hours with 2 twenty minute stops to enjoy the views. At Elk Pond you can take either Elk Falls Trail or Elk Falls Overview. Both are 1.1 miles from the pond. Elk Falls Trails leads you to the fall itself while Elk Falls Overview takes you to an overview that lets you see the Falls but also the entirety of Staunton State Park in all of its glory. The Overview Trail also passes through many Aspens which were stunning. Enjoy folks!

Julie Baggett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Sep 22 2018

Did the 10.8 mile RT to Elk Falls. Beautiful hike. Bonus, there are port-a-potties along the trail and they DONT stink!!!

Betsy Larson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Sep 03 2018
Hiking

We have hiked at Staunton many times, but this was our first time going to Elk Falls. The trail was amazing. It is a little steep going down to the base of the falls, but totally worth it. The beginning of the trail was a bit crowded, but once you got to the BE trail we only saw a few groups of people. The pond has some brook trout and my husband wished he would have brought his fly pole. We will definitely do this trail again!

Kiersten Justin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Aug 12 2018

This was such a beautiful hike! The park rangers were all so friendly and very helpful especially at the beginning when you get to the trailhead. You get a map of the park when you pull in and pay $7 for a day pass. We took the SR trail to the BE trail then went up the LB trail to get to the overlook of Elk Falls, that view alone is incredible!! Then we came back down LB to the CR trail, kind of a difficult switchback but the view of Chimney Rock is stunning! Halfway down the CR you can walk down to Elk Falls. That trail is difficult but once you get to the Falls, every step is worth it! We were super ambitious yesterday (8/11/18) so when we came back up from the falls we continued on CR then got onto the MP trail until we got to the SL trail (a little difficult towards the end of this 1.5 mile trail) then got back onto SR to get to our car. We covered about half of the state park & can’t wait to go back and explore the other half!

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