Near Pine Colorado
We recently discovered this beautiful park which is part of the Colorado Park and Wildlife system. Staunton State Park is 3,918 acres of land which was donated to the state by the Staunton family in 1989 and opened to the public in May of 2013.
The trail system is extensive and open to all levels of hiking, biking, and horseback riding along with a number of climbing areas if you are a fan of rock climbing. There are a few trails that are only open to hikers, but most are open to all.
The park also offers a wonderful opportunity for anyone who is physically disabled. The Track-chair Program opens the door to everyone and takes visitors along three trails with water features, open meadows, forest, and views! Visit CPW’s website for more information and reservations.
The weekends are quite busy so I recommend visiting the park during the week if you can. We have been three times (Sunday and two Fridays) and were treated to some solo hiking for a few long stretches on the Fridays we were there.
There is one drawback I found to this park. Not enough trails are hiker only. The bikers are, for the most part, polite and yield to hikers, but there are the few that go too fast and have the manners of a banana peel on the ground.
The park does have a bell system so bikers will jungle as they ride, but after three visits to the park, only one biker used it. Why? There are no bells available in the bell box at the trail head. I assume they have all been taken by visitors and not returned. The park is heavily used by bikers so be sure to get off the bike trails if you are hiking. I personally would like to see more trails dedicated to hiking only.
I will write more on the individual trails we hiked later, but I will say, this is a gorgeous place to hike. There is a great mix of pine forest, aspen groves, and open meadows. The trails are well maintained and clearly marked. The staff is friendly and greet you with a smile and have extensive knowledge of the area.
To get to Staunton State Park take Hwy 285 south to Shaffers crossing (it’s about 6 miles west of Conifer). There is a sign right on the highway so you can’t miss it. You turn right onto Elk Creek Road and go about 1.5 miles to the entrance of the park. There is an entry fee of $9.00, but if you visit Colorado’s state parks with any frequency, their annual pass is the best choice.
Until next time.