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.