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Staunton State Park Hiking Davis Pond Trail Review By In The Great Wide Travel Blog

Beautiful hiking trails, fresh air, and wonderful vistas all add up to an amazing experience at Staunton State Park, just outside of Denver, Colorado!


History and Trails at Staunton State Park

Staunton State Park a 3,908 acre park that opened in 2013 after being listed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 2012. The land was donated from Frances H. Staunton who donated the original 1,720 acres to the State of Colorado and required that the land "be preserved in perpetuity, for public benefit, as a natural wilderness-type park... typifying Colorado's most beautiful mountain forest and meadow region."

There are a number of trails in the park, ranging from less than a mile to more than 12 miles. The longest trail will take you to a waterfall called Elk Falls. Be aware: some trails are for hikers only while others allow for mountain bikes and/or horses. Dogs are allowed, but must be leashed and must be picked up after, to maintain the natural beauty of the park.

Where is Staunton State Park?

Staunton State Park is located 40 miles southwest of Downtown Denver, near Conifer, Colorado. There are several parking lots available, but we used the Upper Parking Lot on the western side to hike the Davis Pond trail.

How to Get to Staunton State Park

You will definitely need a car to get to Staunton State Park, as it’s a 45-minute drive from downtown Denver in good traffic and there is no public transportation. If you’re visiting Denver, we highly recommend renting a car for the day so you can get out and enjoy the gorgeous Rocky Mountains. We usually rent inexpensive cars through Turo instead of a traditional car rental agency because it saves us a ton of money! The Denver area has a pretty good public transportation system, so a car isn’t necessary while staying in the city, but you should absolutely take the time to make a day trip out into the wilds of Colorado.

Staunton State Park Near Denver Colorado Golden Aspen Tree Late September Autumn Hiking In The Great Wide Travel Blog

Entry Fee

A day pass for a vehicle to enter Staunton State Park is $10. A day pass for an individual is $4, which applies to any park visitor, aged 16 or older, entering the park by any means other than a vehicle with a valid pass. This includes bicycles, walking, riding a horse, etc. They offer annual passes as well: $80 for an affixed pass or $120 for a hang tag (they offer a senior discount too).

Camping is also available here, with an additional fee of $28 per day for a basic campsite on top of your daily pass. See the Staunton State Park website for the most up-to-date fees and permits.

Round Mountain Peak with Pink Sunset Hike at Staunton State Park in September Near Denver Colorado In The Great Wide Travel Blog

Our Experience on Davis Pond Trail

We stopped in Denver to visit friends while we were on our month-long train trip across America using the Amtrak USA Rail Passes. Friends in the area insisted we come to Staunton State Park (with them and their pups!) for the beautiful views and a casual hike.

The park is beautiful. It typifies this area of Colorado with craggy mountains in the distance, gorgeous golden trees adorned across grassy plains in autumn, and the undercurrent of wildlife that could pop up anywhere. The trail we hiked, Davis Pond Trail Loop, totaled 2.3 miles, but it didn’t feel that long. It was relatively flat, but every new vista was a wonderful surprise, especially with the autumn colors of late September!

The hiking trails in the park are very well-maintained, making it easy for us casual hikers. (We love a good long walk with awesome views but we wouldn’t necessarily call ourselves “hikers”.) Our friends’ dogs obviously loved being out in nature, with the youngest one so eager, she jumped straight into Davis Pond when we came upon it. It happened too fast for any of us to stop her!

Davis Pond Hiking Trail Staunton State Park in Fall Near Denver Colorado In The Great Wide Travel Blog

One of the best things about our hike in Staunton State Park: we didn’t see anyone else on the trail! We saw two people fishing from across Davis Pond when we arrived, but that was it. We happened upon a number of deer in the park, though! They were curious about us, constantly watching as we passed by, but they didn’t run away. We were never close enough to them to cause them any concern, but make sure you keep your dogs leashed, so they don’t go chasing after any wildlife. Also, please pick up after your pups, not only to ensure the park stays as pristine as it can be, but also to help protect the wildlife.

And yes, fishing is allowed at Davis Pond, but since it doesn’t naturally have fish in it, it is restocked with rainbow trout once a month in the summertime, so if you enjoy fishing, this would be an easy place to go for it (see permit and limitation rules here).

As we hiked, the sun slowly sank below the mountains, and the temperature fell considerably. Even though it was quite a warm afternoon that we spent at the Denver Zoo, it got drastically colder during golden hour after the sunset, so make sure to bring layers if you’re going to hike or camp in late summer or early fall. Speaking of, camping is available at Staunton State Park, but be warned: there is no immediate parking next to the campsites, meaning you’ll have to carry all your equipment the 150 - 200 yards to the campsites.

Warning: the average elevation at Staunton State Park is 8,100 feet, which is much higher than the 660 feet of elevation that we’re used to in Los Angeles, so the air is noticeably thinner. It didn’t necessarily make the hike harder, but I was huffing and puffing more than I was expecting, given how easy the trail was to navigate. On the upside, the air was so immaculately clean and refreshing, every lungful was like breathing fresh air for the first time. And for how much we're used to smog, the air smells better in Colorado too! Just make sure you drink extra water and take it easy, especially if you start feeling woozy. If you can, plan any hiking towards the end of your visit in Colorado to give your body more time to get acclimated to the higher elevation.

Autumn Trees in Staunton State Park Near Denver Colorado Late September Hiking In The Great Wide Travel Blog

Our Verdict

Staunton State Park is absolutely gorgeous, especially in the early fall, with the leaves changing to the beautiful gold that Colorado is famous for. The Davis Pond Trail was perfect for us because we’re not big “hikers” but we still enjoy being out in nature. It may be a pain to drive out there, especially if you have to rent a car while you’re visiting, but the Rocky Mountains are well worth it! We’ll certainly be back to the Park when we make our way back to Denver.

Wildlife In Staunton State Park Davis Pond Trail Loop Deer Sighting Review In The Great Wide Travel Blog

Quick Reference Guide



40 miles Southwest of Downtown Denver

12102 S Elk Creek Rd, Pine, CO 80470

How to Get There

Only accessible by driving

For the Davis Pond Trail, park at the western upper parking lot

Trail Info

Davis Pond Trail is a relatively flat 2.3 mile loop with several interconnecting trails. It’s an easy starter hike!

Time Commitment

Davis Pond Trail took us around 1 hour to complete

The park is open year round and day use hours are 6am - 10pm


$10 daily vehicle pass and $4 daily individual pass for those entering the park without a vehicle

Camping fees are an additional $28/day

Reservation Info

No reservations necessary for day use

For camping, please visit the Staunton State Park website

Our Verdict

Colorado is one of the most beautiful places on Earth and Staunton State Park is a fantastic example of how amazing the area can be. If visiting Denver, we highly recommend renting a car for a day trip so you can get out into the mountains!

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In The Great Wide Travel Blog Writer Adam Neubauer


In The Great Wide Travel Lifestyle Blog Phoebe and Adam at the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh, Scotland

We’re Phoebe & Adam
the couple behind
In The Great Wide!

This is our travel lifestyle blog where we not only share stories from our adventures while traveling the world, but also our thorough research of the places we visit & practical advice on how to save money so you can travel more too!

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