Staunton State Park: a Jefferson County Gem

From left to right: Sharon and Maddie, Linda and Nico, Mary and Spear

From left to right: Sharon and Maddie, Linda and Nico, Mary and Spear

In 2013, Jefferson County opened Staunton State Park in Pine Colorado. The park ranges in elevation from 8,100 to soaring granite cliffs at 10,000 feet.  I finally got the opportunity to ride there this past Sunday. Wow what a gem! I have to say Boulder City and County Parks and Open Space should be a bit embarrassed for the way they are managing their parks and open spaces for horse riders compared to Jefferson County. There was plenty of staff at hand, great park facilities, along with a wonderful welcome to horse riders and trailers.

The temperatures were in the high 90s in Boulder and my friend Mary and I wanted to get to higher ground to beat the heat and  flies in Boulder. We headed out early and arrived at Staunton around 9:30 AM (it is about 1 1/2 hours from Boulder), where we met another friend, Sharon from Fairplay (a great midpoint meeting for both of us). We rode to the Old Mill Site via the Mason Creek Trail (MG). The site has an old mine, structure, and a towering granite peak above it. Trails merge here the Old Mill trail (OM, pedestrian only) and the Border Line trail (BL). To loop horse riders and bikers would continue on the BL trail to the Scout Line (SL) trail to return to the trailer parking area. For the most part a wonderful stream flows along the trail so there are plenty of opportunities to hydrate your horse. The climb was gentle, but still a climb to the Old Mill Site so it is a great conditioning ride. The trail meanders through lovely grass meadows filled with wildflowers, lush pine forest and granite cliffs. We could trot out a bit and even have a canter or two here and there. We decided to double back instead of completing the loop, time was running out and our horses needed a bit more conditioning at this altitude.

If you have the chance, get out of dodge and try this park out!
Plus, stay tuned for an organized trail ride there this Fall.

Park entrance fee: $7 (includes an awesome trail map)
Parking: plenty, and restroom facilities
Trails: suitable for all visitors by horse, foot or bike, dogs are welcome on leash only
Footing: very nice, some rocks here and there
Water: on trail (none at trailer parking area)
Physical address: 12102 S. Elk Creek Road, Pine, CO, 80470

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