12/3/21 Staunton State Park is the newest state park in Colorado and has miles of nice meadow trails. And a recently constructed trail to the base of Elk Falls makes for a great day hike destination.
1 Starting out from the Chase Meadows trailhead. This is a popular mountain biking area, so most of the trails are wide and smooth. The dirt sidewalk style is a little too tame for my taste, but the meadow views are fantastic.
2 The land for the park was donated in 1989 by the Staunton family who had a large ranch here since the early 1900s. Many of the original structures still remain and are being renovated as historic sites.
3 Staunton is also a populate rock climbing area with access trails in several places.
4 Further into the park, the trail enters some nice forested areas.
5 The Scout Line trail is one of the few 'hiker only' sections and has some great singletrack.
6 Looking out across the park towards the Staunton Rocks.
7 The Lion's Back ridgeline with Lion's Head Peak to the left. There's a trail that goes out to the tip of the lion's head, definitely one to try another time.
8 Approaching Elk Falls Pond. It looks entirely frozen over despite temps in the 40s today.
9 Down at pond level now, it's a great spot for lunch.
10 Panorama of Elk Falls Pond.
11 Heading away from the pond on the Chimney Rock trail towards Elk Falls.
12 There's some amazing rock formations here. I'm assuming this is Chimney Rock!
13 The last leg of the trail out to the falls was just recently constructed. It's narrow, rugged, and steep. But it's clearly worth it as I catch the first glimpse of Elk Falls.
14 The water is still flowing, but it's frozen all around.
15 It's a fascinating effect as the stream flows over the waterfall, into a hole in the ice, and then continues downhill under the ice.
16 Short video of Elk Falls.
17 Heading back from the falls now. This section of trail must have been a lot of work!
18 Back down to Elk Falls Pond.
19 The partially frozen stream flowing into the pond.
20 Heading back a different route now via the Bugling Elk trail.
21 Gorgeous meadow views everywhere. I would love to see this in the Spring!
22 The milky white stream flowing through the meadow. The water color is definitely a little Patagonia-esque.
23 Access to a huge rock climbing wall.
24 Before heading out, I took a quick detour to the Davis Ponds. End to another great day in the Rockies!