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Looking down on Herman Lake while hiking to the summit of 13er Pettingell Peak back in early September

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I’ve always found comfort in visiting Staunton State Park. Their is just something about this place I can’t get enough of. The large rock formations, the stunning vistas, coupled with the hiking trails make for a remarkable experience at any time of the year that you visit.

With it being awhile since I’ve been here, I decided to make the trip on a recent early Saturday morning. With it being a mix of sun and occasional snow throughout the day, it turned out to be yet another enjoyable hike.

Here are some more details:

Date of Hike: April 13th, 2019

Miles Hiked: 15.5 Miles

Trail Conditions: Muddy at lower elevations and still snow covered higher up over 9000 feet

To start out, I parked at the Mason Creek trailhead and began my journey into the woods. The night before left a fresh new coating of snow on the trees that made it seem quite welcoming. With very few people around, I spent most of this hike in complete solitude.

Heading up the Mason Creek trail.
Shortly before the end of the Mason Creek trail.

Once you get to the end of this 4.5 mile one way trail, you reach the junction of the Border Line trail as well as the Old Mill trail. In addition to that, some old outbuildings can still be found here today. From this point, I proceeded onto the Border Line trail in order to reach the Staunton Rocks Overlook.

A look at the old bunkhouse.
Some nearby debris.

Once I reached the Staunton Rocks Overlook a mile later, it looked as if some light snow was moving in which significantly limited the visibility. On a clear day though, the view is quite splendid.

View from the Staunton Rocks Overlook.

Once I got done taking a quick break, I continued on with my hike and headed down the rest of the Border Line trail to meet up with the Bugling Elk trail. At this point, I was determined to reach the Elk Falls Overlook no matter what. The sun was also beginning to peek through from time to time through the clouds.

Looking back up the Border Line trail.

From the beginning of the Bugling Elk trail, it’s only a short 1.1 mile hike to Elk Falls pond. This portion was all downhill until you reach the pond and was extremely icy.

Ice covered downhill stretch of Bugling Elk trail.
Frozen over Elk Falls Pond with snow quickly approaching.

Upon reaching the pond, I continued onto the Elk Falls Overlook. With every step that I took, the snow was beginning to fall more and more rapidly. With that being said, it was impossible to see the waterfall from the overlook that day. Aside from that, both the views and the solitude were absolutely remarkable.

Elk Falls Overlook area.
Another view from the overlook area.

After a short time, I retraced my steps and made it back to the junction of the Border Line and the Bugling Elk trails. From here, I decided to take the more direct Staunton Ranch trail to eventually get back to my car. But not before admiring the amazing scenery of course.

One of the small switchbacks on the Staunton Ranch trail.
Snow finally stopped!

If you’ve never visited this park, I highly recommend that you do! The scenery does not disappoint and it’s absolutely worth paying the state park fee to visit.

Cheers!

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