Staunton State park remains one of my most frequently forgotten, yet also favorite places to hike near Denver. The crowds aren’t too bad considering how close the park is to Denver. Late September, my girlfriend and I decided to go mountain biking up to Bear Paw Loop. The new trail is very similar to the existing trails in terms of the maintenance of the trail. It cuts off Mason Creek trail and overlooks several beautiful views of the entire park and the areas beyond. Overall, there’s about 1000′ of vertical but it occurs over the entirety of the trail so it’s not too bad. There were several hikers and we also ran across quite a few mountain bikers while we did the loop.
Mason Creek trail runs along a small stream that provides lots of nice quiet spots you can rest on the way up and down. It is a bit loose and rocky so it may require a bit of mountain biking skill and respectable tires if you want an enjoyable ride, but there’s no big rock hopping or anything like that. There weren’t any parts of the trail where I felt the need to hop off and walk the bike, though some may want to do that in spots. The full loop was an enjoyable 10 miles round trip. It’s important to be cautious, especially on the lower parts of the trail, as there are many hikers with kids who aren’t always easy to pass safely.