Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Colorado Hike: Back to Staunton State Park

If I haven't mentioned it often enough, Colorado is a pretty spectacular place to live if you like to play outdoors. To take advantage of the warm, early-fall like weather, Matt and I headed back to a park we visited our first fall in Colorado, not long after it opened - Staunton State Park.

Early Morning Run - Staunton State Park trail

Early Morning Run - Staunton State Park view

With nearly 4,000 acres and seemingly endless miles of trails, we could go back many more times to explore different areas of the park. The first time we went we hiked to the falls overlook and the trail to Elk Falls wasn't quite finished. This time, we wanted to get up close and person with the waterfall. And we did. The waterfall is quite beautiful but I'm sure at some points in the year it's just roaring!

This was our half-way point, so we took a break and enjoyed a snack and the view before starting back to the trailhead. We saw a good number of people along the trail, but we had this spot to ourselves.

Early Morning Run - Lisa standing in front of the Elk Falls

Early Morning Run - Staunton State Park selfie

Finishing out at 12 miles, the hike was a bit more strenuous and longer than we anticipated when we set out, but we were enjoyed every minute of it. The varied topography kept things interesting. The trailhead starts in a grassy meadow, you pass by and climb granite cliffs, hike along a stream and of course, sit next to a beautiful waterfall in a canyon.

It was a really nice day that we finished with a picnic lunch in the pavilion at the trailhead before heading back to Denver and collapsing on the couch.

Early Morning Run - Staunton State Park landscape

What to know if you go:

  • The park is only about 45 minutes from Denver.
  • There's a $7.00 daily fee if you don't have an annual pass.
  • The trailhead facilities are great and well taken care of, including port-a-potties, a great pavilion (available for rent) and plenty of picnic tables and grills.
  • While most of the trails are multi-use - available for runners, hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians - there are several trails that are for hikers/runners only. 
  • Here's the map you'll want; the gate keeper can also provide one when you arrive.
  • Spring 2017, the park will begin offering the use of specialized all-terrain motorized trail that will allow disabled visitors the ability to enjoy the park. It's pretty incredible, read about it here.
If the weather's still warm where you live, how are you taking advantage of it? * What are your favorite snacks to take with you on a hike?

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