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Staunton State Park - Full Clockwise Loop

 4.3 (149)

19.9 Miles 32.0 Kilometers


90%

Singletrack

2,692' 821 m

Ascent

-2,692' -821 m

Descent

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

28%

Max Grade (16°)

9,510' 2,899 m

High

8,186' 2,495 m

Low

Shared By Ian Eldridge

Conditions


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Snowy - Fat Bike Season!! History

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A very fun, reasonable tour with beautiful scenery and perfect mix of cross-country and downhill.

Ian Eldridge

Dogs Leashed

Features eMTB allowed

In a state park, so $7 daily pass or annual pass required.

Overview

This is a great trail for someone who wants to experience a longer ride for the first time. The downhill sections are very fun and doable, and the climbs are reasonable. The trails a clearly marked, making it nearly impossible to get lost or turned around. It is mostly singletrack and loose gravel in sections, much like Buffalo Creek. Some highlights of the trail are Bear Paw Trail, Marmot Passage Trail, Elk Falls, and the various lookout points. The best of these is the short hike to Eagle Cliffs Overlook - best view in the park!

The southern section of the park (Staunton Ranch Trail and Mason Creek Trail) can get rather crowded with hikers, however the trails are pretty wide at these parts. Once up in the northern sections, the trails are less crowded, but have gotten busier now that the park has gained a little more popularity.

This route had been updated as of October 2017 to include all the new multi-use trails in the park. This ride can take anywhere from 3-5 hours total for a solid intermediate rider in good shape, depending on how much time you want to spend taking in the sights - which are highly recommended! With the combination of rock formations, waterfalls, and mountain views, Staunton offers a very uncharacteristic adventure this close to the front range.

Need to Know

Bring cash or credit card for access to this state park. $7 for day pass.

Description

Start from the southernmost parking area in the park (Parking Area #1), and follow signs for Staunton Ranch Trail behind the restrooms on the east side of the lot. Alternatively, the trail can be accessed from the 2 north parking areas if you want to make it a slightly smaller loop. This part can be heavy with hiker and equestrian traffic. It's a fairly steady climb for most of the time and eventually dumps you onto the service road close to the 4 way intersection of Marmot Passage Trail, Border Line Trail, and Bugling Elk Trail. Take a left onto Marmot Passage Trail which will eventually dump you out at Elk Falls Pond. From here, you pass the entrance to Bugling Elk Trail and make a right onto West Meadow Trail.

West Meadow Trail is a new moderate multi-use trail that is a fantastic alternative to the Lion's Back Trail which is essentially just a dirt road. Continue counterclockwise around this trail through pine forests and a meadow to end up back on Lion's Back Trail. From here, make a right, and continue to the Elk Falls Overlook. This overlook is hiker only. Come back down Lion's Back Trail the same way you came up, and make a right onto Chimney Rock Trail.

Chimney Rock Trail is another one of the new multi-use trails in the park. There are some great man-made rock benches on this trail to cross over scree fields. About .9 miles into this trail, there is a hitching rail for horses, and an optional hikers only trail to the base of Elk Falls. Continue counterclockwise down Chimney Rock Trail back to Elk Falls Pond.

From Elk Falls Pond, you have the option to climb back over Marmot Passage Trail from west to east which would provide an additional 1.3 miles and 300' of climbing to the tour, with some added fun downhill as a reward. If you want to truly see every trail in the park and have no repeats or out-and-backs, then head north onto Bugling Elk Trail from Elk Falls Pond. This is a very short section of the tour, and a great chance to give your legs a break before the steepest climb. It climbs and progresses from a meadow, and through the woods on a rutted road back down to the 4-way intersection of Marmot Passage Trail, Staunton Ranch Trail and Border Line Trail.

From here, make a left onto Border Line Trail which is the hardest and steepest climb on the tour. A quick up and down cruises along the side of the mountain, and then the switchbacks and big climb begins. The trail peaks at about 1.2 miles, at Staunton Rocks Overlook. The descent starts and ends at the Old Mill site, a turn-of-the-20th century sawmill that has some cool abandoned buildings and equipment. This is a 3-way intersection of Mason Creek Trail and Old Mill Trail, which is a hiking-only trail.

From here, go left onto Mason Creek Trail, which you'll climb for about a mile first through pines then through an aspen grove and small meadow before you come to the turn off for the newly opened Bear Paw Trail.

Bear Paw Trail is a very fun, at times technical segment. There are always moderate options around the technical features. At about .4 miles in, there is yet another hiker only option for Eagle Cliffs Overlook, which is easily the best view in the park and a chance to see a few 14ers. Another .8 miles from here brings you to Pikes Peak Overlook, and the highest bike-able point of the tour. From here, you get over 1300' of descent back to the parking lot! Continue another 1.5 miles on Bear Paw Trail back to the intersection of Mason Creek Trail and make a right.

About 2 miles from the end of Bear Paw Trail on Mason Creek Trail, some rocks and obstacles present themselves, but nothing too advanced. There are a few very small creek crossings along the way as well. Once out of the woods at about mile 3.5 (of Mason Creek Trail), the trail opens up into a sprawling meadow and makes its way back to the Parking Area. Be on the lookout for hikers in this area as you make your way back to the parking lot for a well deserved cold beverage.

History & Background

Staunton State Park is one of Colorado's newest parks thanks to a donation by in 1986 by Frances Hornbrook Staunton. It hosts some beautiful hills and rock formations, along with a waterfall that you can hike down to, beautiful lookouts and 14er views, and a turn-of-the-20th century saw mill.

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Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Oct 27, 2018
Mike Palamara
Bruised ribs 80%. 17.9mi
Oct 21, 2018
Caleb McNutt
Amazing summer trail 20.2mi
Oct 20, 2018
Sarah Lewis
Oct 20, 2018
nrj5011
made it about halfway
Oct 3, 2018
Sheri Vernier
Stunning trail through Aspen trees. Nice trails throughout. Did a big loop SR to MP to BE to BL to MC to DM.
Oct 2, 2018
Bernhard Weilbach
Sep 30, 2018
Nolan Green
Sep 25, 2018
Joshua Bebee

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Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 149 votes

#30

Overall
  4.3 from 149 votes
5 Star
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4 Star
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11%
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3%
1 Star
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Rankings

#11

in Colorado

#30

Overall
461 Views Last Month
52,233 Since Oct 2, 2014
Intermediate Intermediate

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Richard Thurau
Denver, CO
Richard Thurau   Denver, CO
This is a fitness ride with lots of scenic beauty. I've only done it clockwise and there isn't much fun to be had until Mason Creek (MC down is a blast). Lots of climbing with short decents that are littered with tight, loose, unburmed switchbacks. Good loose hairpin practice, if you're looking for that. I guess some of the trail is similar to Buffalo Creek, except these are hiking trails, a bit crowded on the weekends, and feels far less remote. The scenery is great, especially at the well-placed look outs. If you want an easy, but somewhat physically strenous ride with great views of nature and people from Denver, this is your place. If you want to ride a variety of trails all day long, drive the extra 30 minutes to Buf Creek. Sep 5, 2016
Ride the big loop on Sun Oct 26th. Very few people, especially after noon. Totally dry trails. Extremely nice place to ride. Nov 27, 2017
Chuck McQuade
Golden, CO
Chuck McQuade   Golden, CO
There is a segment of Mason Creek trail that is now closed (now marked on the map) Its the short segment between the start and end of Bear Paw trail. Bear Paw really should only be ridden counter clockwise (north to south). So that be said I would suggest against riding mason creek counterclockwise from the trailhead. Thus treat Mason creek almost like a 1 way downhill only trail. The climb up Borderline trail is so much better and has a great downhill section before arriving at Bear Paw! Jun 8, 2018

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