Elk Falls Pond, Staunton State Park, Boulder - Denver - Golden - Fort Collins - Lyons, Colorado

Elk Falls Pond - 8.4 miles

Staunton State Park

Aspen and flower-ringed meadows along the Staunton Ranch Trail

Aspen and flower-ringed meadows along the Staunton Ranch Trail

Round-Trip Length: 8.4 miles
Start-End Elevation: 8,310' - 8,846' (9,035' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +536' net elevation gain (+902' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Easy-Moderate
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: Yes
Horses Allowed: Yes
Related Trails:

Elk Falls Pond - 8.4 Miles Round-Trip

Elk Falls Pond (8,890') is located 4.2 miles from the Ranch Hand Picnic Area in Staunton State Park. This small montane pond has an open grassy shore with ample room for fishing, and an interesting rock formation on the south side with scrambling access. Grades and terrain are well suited for families, runners and winter travel.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

The Staunton Ranch Trail winds through a mixed forest to a gravel road (.48 miles : 8,471’), and continues straight toward steep granite cliffs with several spurs for climbing access. 

This multi-use artery can be busy with mountain bikes, runners, hikers and horses. The trail climbs steadily through a large aspen grove with emerging views of the Lion’s Head (.5 miles : 8,481’).

Keep straight past the Chase Meadow Trail (.95 miles : 8,582’), where the landscape opens with expansive views of cliffs to the north.

Travel steadies to an unnamed road; keep right on the Staunton Ranch Trail (1.75 miles : 8,611’), which becomes rockier up to the Old Mill Trail split.

Stay left on Staunton Ranch and pass climbing access spurs at 2.0 and 2.5 miles. Look for climbers as you pass under rocky outcrops. Keep straight through a grassy valley set between pine-covered hills and steep cliffs to another unnamed gravel road (2.85 miles : 8,875’).

Turn right on the road through a large aspen stand to a junction with the Bugling Elk, Marmot Passage and Borderline trails (3.14 miles : 8,972’).

Continue straight on the Bugling Elk Trail, a wide road that climbs through dense timber before titling down into a wide valley. It crosses the valley, re-enters the forest and continues downhill beside a small stream to Elk Falls Pond (4.19 miles : 8,890’).

The open grassy shore is ideal for relaxing or a lunch break before heading back. Fishing is permitted with a valid Colorado fishing license. Travel continues one mile on the Lions Back, Chimney Rock and Elk Falls Trail to Elk Falls.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N39 30 00 W105 22 44 — 0.0 miles : Staunton Ranch Trailhead
  • N39 30 22 W105 24 53 — 4.19 miles : Elk Pond

Worth Noting

  • The trail can be busy, especially along the first few miles where bikers, hikers, runners, climbers and horseback riders all share the trail.
  • The trail to Elk Falls Pond is perfect for viewing falls colors, as it passes through several large aspen groves. 
  • Staunton State Park opened to the public on May 18, 2013.

Camping and Backpacking Information

  • There is no backcountry camping at Staunton State Park.

Fishing Information

  • Fishing is permitted at Elk Falls Pond with a valid Colorado fishing license. 

Rules and Regulations

  • There's a $7 entrance fee to Staunton State Park. Colorado State Parks passes are accepted.
  • Park Hours: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Dogs are permitted at Staunton State Park, but must be on a six-foot leash.
  • Rock climbing is allowed. Seasonal raptor closures are clearly posted and strictly enforced.
  • Mountain biking is allowed on multi-use trails. 

Directions to Trailhead

Staunton State Park is located 40 miles SW of downtown Denver in Pine, CO. The park is approximately 6 miles west of Conifer on the north side of US Highway 285.

From the junction of US 285 and C470 near Denver, travel 18.4 miles on 285 South towards Fairplay. Turn right (north) on Elk Creek Road. Travel on Elk Creek Road for 1.2 miles, then turn right into the park. The Ranch Hand picnic shelter and trailhead is .5 miles from this entrance.

Staunton State Park Map

Contact Information

Staunton State Park
12012 S. Elk Creek Road
Pine, CO 80470

Trip Reports

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