Sandy and I took a nice training hike into Colorado’s brand new state park on Saturday. Staunton State Park is Colorado’s 43rd and it is stunning.
We hiked up Mason Creek Trail (4.5 miles) along side a beautiful small creek complete with small relaxing waterfalls. These falls are not to be confused with the park’s amazing Elk Falls (100′ drop) but were really nice to see especially when working our way up the 1,500′ elevation gain.
As we neared the high point of the hike the clouds rolled in and the winds picked up. It became a bit chilly, but we picked up the pace and our body temperatures compensated for the cold. The trail terminates at the historic Old Lumber Mill site which is located at the base of some amazing rock formations. Back in the early 1900’s this was an active lumber operation. Lumberjacks harvested timber from adjoining mountains and used an intricate cable system to move the cut product over a mile from one mountain to the mountain above the mill. Next, the lumber was sent down a flume to the mill.
The mill facility is in ruins as it was reportedly damaged by drunken mill workers when their employment was terminated. Although their saws cut down the structures timber supports, you can still see the saw tables, saws and water systems. The workers did no damage to their large two story bunkhouse, which stands in relatively good shape next to the towering cliffs.
After looking at the mill, we traveled down Old Mill Trail (.9 miles) to its junction with Staunton Ranch Trail. We walked along this trail (2 miles) through a nice meadow, just above the historic Staunton Homestead Cabin. You are able to drop down off the trail to get a closer look at these neat old cabins.
Total trail distance for Saturday’s training hike was 7.5 miles.