Where is Staunton State Park
Park Address: 12102 S. Elk Creek Road, Pine, CO, 80470
Staunton State Park is located in central Colorado, just west of the Rocky Mountains’ Front Range. The park land crosses both Jefferson and Park Counties, which are entry points to Colorado’s gorgeous mountain scenery.
This gorgeous state park is accessible for Coloradans and visitors alike. Staunton State Park is located a mere 40 miles and a 45-minute drive from downtown Denver and only 15 miles from the unincorporated town of Evergreen. Conifer is the nearest municipality (and medical clinic) and is situated just six miles from Staunton’s park entrance.
How Big is Staunton State Park
Staunton State Park packs a big punch for its size. The park property covers 3,828 acres and only 23-miles of hiking trails. Yet, Staunton feels similar to other rural, sprawling state parks in Colorado.
The geography varies throughout the park, from intense cliffs (great for rock climbing) and rocky foothills, to open grasslands. There is even a captivating waterfall, Elk Falls. Staunton’s high elevation plays a crucial role in creating this diverse terrain. The park’s lowest point sits at 8,100 feet above sea level, while the highest point is over 10,000 feet.
Staunton State Park Weather
Staunton US State Park has four distinct seasons that vary drastically in weather and temperature. While very different, each is beautiful and fascinating for various reasons, and weather should rarely be a deterrent to visiting Staunton State Park.
The State of Colorado has over 300 days of sunshine a year, so even when temperatures fall over winter, Staunton State Park is often sunny and enjoyable. The average temperature in Pine, Colorado between December and February is a high of 45°F and low of 11°F.
Spring in Jefferson and Park Counties is still snowy and cold. Visitors to Staunton State Park are likely to find snow on the ground and daytime temperatures in the thirties and forties. Late spring is many locals least favorite time to visit this and other state parks because the trails become icy overnight and muddy in the afternoons. Hiking and biking can be difficult this time of year.
Summer in Staunton is known for warm weather and intense sunshine. July is the hottest month of the year with an average daytime temperature of 81°F.
When did Staunton become a State Park
Staunton is Colorado’s newest State Park. The park first opened to the public on May 18, 2013, after 27 years in the making!
The initial 1,720-acres of Staunton State Park was given to Colorado Parks & Wildlife back in 1986, by Frances Hornbrook Staunton. Ms. Staunton’s family had owned the property since 1905. Without any surviving heirs to take ownership, Frances Staunton donated the property to be used as a natural wilderness park.
It wasn’t until additional funding was secured from Colorado Lottery and a separate non-profit in 1992 and 1998 that Staunton’s future as a Colorado State Park became a reality.
Things to do in Staunton State Park
Wondering what to do during your visit to Staunton State Park? You won’t be short on options. The diverse terrain across this Colorado State Parks means there are countless things to do. Whether you are outdoorsy and adventurous or just starting to explore the great outdoors, Staunton offers something for everyone! Our National Park Visitors Guide highlights activities below:
Staunton State Park offers a trail for any hiker. There are twelve recommended hikes that range in distance from 2 miles to 12 miles. However, a true highlight of Staunton State Park is that many of the hiking trails interconnect and cross one another, allowing hikers to modify their direction, distance, and experience on a whim.
Elk FallsThe crown jewel of Stauton’s incredible scenery is Elk Falls. This stunning waterfall is located in the southwest corner of the park and accessible only by hiking trails. There is no road or four-wheel park access leading to either the base of the falls or overlook.
FishingStaunton State Park is every fisherman’s dream. Fishing is allowed at both Davis Pond and Elk Falls Pond, as well as, in any of the park’s various streams. With enough locations to cast a line, none of these locations become overly crowded and there are plenty of fish biting. The Colorado state hatchery restocks Davis and Elk Falls pond annually with trout.
BikingMountain biking is permitted on most of Stauton’s trail system. These shared-use trails are wide and maintained for easy biking from late spring to early autumn. The more adventurous bikers will venture to Staunton with fat-tire bikes to brave the snowy trails during winter season.
Horseback RidingThere are no public stables on-site at Staunton State Park, but riders are permitted to access most of the park’s hiking trails for day-use. A great activity all year long, horseback riders are asked to respectfully share these trails with hikers and bikers.
Climbers, of various skill level and experience, flock to the park during the warmer months, but some of the state’s popular sends are just as busy from August to November. Over 70 climbing routes are located throughout the park, but annual closures (March to July) can impact a number of the most popular spots.
Junior Ranger Program
Each summer, Staunton State Park provides Colorado youngsters the opportunity to participate in a local Junior Ranger Program. This multi-week program introduces children to the natural beauty and activities of Staunton State Park
The memory and history of the park’s initial benefactor, Frances Hornbrook Staunton, is preserved on the park property. The Staunton Ranch cabins are an easy to find point of interest along the Historic Cabin Trail.
When to go to Staunton State Park
There isn’t a bad time of year to visit Staunton State Park. The park is open and accessible all year, and each season offers different reasons to visit. Plus, unlike many parks across Colorado, Staunton is an easy drive from Denver and its suburbs, making it a reliable destination, regardless of the weather.
Although winter in Staunton State Park provides a glimpse of the incredible snowy landscapes of the Rocky Mountains, summer is definitely the most popular season at this park. The park’s trails entice day-trippers from Denver and Evergreen locals for nature walks, moderate hikes, and even horseback riding. This is also the best time of year for fishing, camping, and mountain biking.
Must-Have things to bring to Staunton State Park
While Staunton State Park is accessible from several towns and downtown Denver, it is still important for visitors to come prepared. The park is situated at higher elevation and susceptible to both very cold and warm weather, depending on the season. List of Parks suggests that even Colorado locals will want to have the following equipment and safety supplies for their visit.
WaterStaunton State Park has a variety of hiking and nature trails that wind throughout the park. Many parts of this interconnected trail system are exposed to Colorado’s intense sunshine. Even people intending to do a short walk should carry one or two liters of water, especially in summer.
There aren’t any restaurants or food options available within this Colorado State Park, so it is important for hikers, climbers, and campers to bring enough food for their visit.
Every visitor to Staunton State Park is offered a physical map at the park entrance. This complimentary map not only details the trail system and points of interest, but is important for finding parking, restrooms, the amphitheater, picnic sites, and other park facilities.
Staunton State Park’s trails are well-maintained and clear of most rocks and obstacles. However, any visitor will want to come prepared for the elements with athletic and reliable footwear. Tennis shoes, hiking boots, or hiking sandals are all good options in the summer
Colorado’s sun shines bright and intense, even in the winter. It is necessary to carry sunscreen any time of year.
Rain Jacket and Winter Wear
Weather can change quickly in Central Colorado and afternoon storms, either rain or snow, are brief, but common. From October to April, visitors should pack multiple layers, including a winter coat.
Where to stay in Staunton State Park
Like many of Colorado’s state parks, Staunton State Park has several campsites for visitors to stay overnight. The 25 tent sites at Staunton State Park must be reserved in advance and vehicle passes are purchased at the park entrance. Visitors that intend to camp multiple nights must purchase a vehicle pass for each day they are in the park.
The Stat Park restricts each campsite to a maximum of six people and two tents per site, and campfires or open flames are prohibited year-round. Campers are required to bring a bear canister, to store food and toothpaste overnight, and all trash must be removed from the park. One restroom is available for overnight visitors, but there is no shower or washing facilities in the park.
Food Nearby Staunton State Park
Stanton State Park is mostly surrounded by the Front Range for the Rocky Mountains, with limited options for food near the park entrance. However, the town of Conifer, located just east of Staunton State Park (roughly six miles away) has plenty of variety.
A few local options for food in Conifer include 3 Margaritas Conifer, Aspen Perk Cafe, and Ebony & Vine. There are also a handful of grocery and convenience stores where visitors to Staunton State Park can pick up sandwiches, snacks, and extra water.
Airports near Staunton State Park
The nearest airport to Staunton State Park is Denver International Airport, also known as DIA. Even though Denver International Airport is undergoing a major $2.2 billion renovation (expected completion 2022) the airport still welcomes 64.5 million passengers each year. This is one of the United States’ busiest airports and a major hub for tourism and travel to the Rocky Mountains.