Staunton State Park, nestled within the breathtaking landscapes of Colorado lies a hidden gem awaiting exploration: Encompassing over 3,800 acres of pristine wilderness, this park offers outdoor enthusiasts a haven for hiking, camping, and immersing themselves in the splendor of nature. From towering rock formations to lush forests and cascading waterfalls, Staunton State Park boasts an array of natural wonders that beckon visitors year-round. A Guide to Staunton State Park.

Getting There

Take US Highway 285 south to Shaffers Crossing, about 6 miles west of Conifer. Turn north on Elk Creek Road and follow the signs 1.5 miles to the park entrance.

Hikers at Staunton State Park

Exploring the Trails

Staunton State Park is a favorite place of ours for day hikes because it’s easily accessible from Littleton, offers a variety of trails for different skill levels, and in addition to beautiful views and well-maintained trails, it has a reservoir and a waterfall!  What more could you ask for?

We love the hike to the Elk Falls waterfall. This hike is a 12-mile round-trip hike. The shortest route is Staunton Ranch (SR) to Bugling Elk (BE) to Chimney Rock (CR) to Elk Falls trail (EF).

The average hiker takes between 4-5 hours to complete the entire trip. The elevation change is around 1200 ft total. It is steep and rocky as you hike down to the waterfall. Expect a bit of a scramble.

The list of trails below includes details for the distance, degree of difficulty, elevation change, and unique features of each trail segment.

Bugling Elk Trail

Permitted uses:  hike, mountain bike, horseback

Total distance: 1.1 miles

Degree of difficulty: moderate

Elevation range: 8,820-9,200 feet

ADA accessible: no

Unique features: wildlife viewing, small stream, access to fishing, wildflowers

Border Line Trail

Permitted use: hike, mountain bike, horseback 

Total distance: 2.5 miles

Degree of difficulty: moderate

Elevation range: 9,060-9,420 feet

ADA accessible: no

Unique features: wildlife viewing, close-up views of granite outcroppings, spectacular views from the overlook, historic buildings

Climbing Access Trail

Permitted use: hike only

Total distance: 0.9 miles

Degree of difficulty: difficult

Elevation range: 8,500-8,800 feet

ADA accessible: no

Unique features: close-up views of granite rock formations, access to climbing

Davis Ponds Trail

Hikers at Staunton State Park on The Davis Pond Trail

Permitted use: hike only

Total distance: 2.3 miles

Degree of difficulty: easy

Elevation range: 8,200-8,280 feet

ADA accessible: no

Unique features: wildlife and wildflower viewing, access to fishing.

Elk Falls

Elk Falls at Staunton State Park

Hike Distance: 12 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Elevation Gain: Approximately 1500 feet

Highest Point of Elevation: 8,950 feet

Dogs: Allowed On LeashUnique Features: Waterfall

Lion’s Back ​Trail

Permitted use: hike, bike, horseback

Total distance: 1.0 miles

Degree of difficulty: moderate

Elevation range: 8,800-9,120 feet

ADA accessible: no

Unique features: spectacular views from the overlook **The hike to Elk Falls Overlook is a 10.8-mile round-trip hike. The shortest route is Staunton Ranch to Bugling Elk to Lion’s Back. 

Historic Cabins Trail

Permitted use: hike, bike, horse

Total distance: .7 (loops with Staunton Ranch trail)

Degree of difficulty: Easy

Elevation Range: 8200 feet

ADA accessible: no

Unique Features: Get up close and personal with several of the homestead cabins at Staunton, including the house built by the Stauntons in 1916. This trail loops off the Staunton ranch trail taking you through ponderosa forests, wide open meadows, terraced gardens, and into the homestead.

Camping Amidst Nature’s Splendor

With two designated campgrounds offering a total of 25 sites, visitors can pitch their tents beneath the starlit sky and fall asleep to the tranquil sounds of the wilderness.

Sites & Amenities: Each campsite is equipped with a picnic table, and access to vault toilets. However, there are currently no fires allowed in the park including charcoal and wood fires.  Cookstoves using propane and white gas are allowed.  While there are no showers or RV hookups available, primitive camping enthusiasts will find everything they need to enjoy a rustic outdoor retreat.

Reservations: Campsites at Staunton State Park can be reserved online in advance, ensuring a stress-free camping experience. Be sure to book early, especially during peak seasons, as sites tend to fill up quickly.

Tips for Campers: Remember to practice Leave No Trace principles and respect the park’s natural environment during your stay. Additionally, be prepared for changing weather conditions, as temperatures in the Colorado mountains can vary dramatically throughout the day.

Final Thoughts

Staunton State Park offers a sanctuary for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike, where scenic trails and tranquil camping await. Whether you’re embarking on a solo adventure or creating lasting memories with loved ones, the beauty of Staunton State Park is sure to leave a lasting impression. So pack your hiking boots, pitch your tent, and discover the wonders that await in this hidden gem of Colorado’s wilderness.

Call us if you’d like more information or have any questions!

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