The 12 mile round trip hike is only an hour away from Denver. It’s on the north side of 285 in Parker, CO and is pretty easy to miss. Staunton State Park opened only a couple years ago and the paths are all very well graded gravel. There seems to be lots of mountain biking and one could ride all the way to Elk Falls Overlook without too much trouble. There are some sections that would be hilly but nothing very technical.
Elk Falls Pond is about 1 mile from the overlook and is stocked with fish. I ended up fishing with a small brown nymph for about 40 minutes or so. I got a few nibbles and pulled in one fish out of the water but it was only a little guy. The stream that feeds the pond may also have some good fishing once the water isn’t running so fast. For now the flow is so high that I couldn’t find a good place to put a fly in the water.
The 12 mile round trip could have been just over 10, but on the recommendation of one of the rangers I decided to take the Scout Line Trail back, which adds about 1.5 miles. This trail forbids mountain bikes, but barring that if I was doing it again I’d take the trail both ways as it provides some great views and a much more pleasant hiking experience. Much of the lower area of the park has been thinned, presumably to reduce the risk of forest fires.
I’d like to get back in there with a mountain bike some time. I’d also like to find out what borders the park on the northernmost portion of Bugling Elk Trail. I suspect it’s a National Park at that point and there was a road that led off in that direction. Based on what small parts I could see from elevated parts of the trail it might be worth getting in there for some camping if it’s possible.