Elk Falls Out and Back
ElevationAscent: 1,936' 590 m
Descent: -1,936' -590 m
High: 9,253' 2,820 m
Low: 8,178' 2,493 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 47% (25°)
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“This longer run is well worth the effort as it provides views along the way, ending at a scenic waterfall.”— Mikhaila Redovian
As you continue along, the trail will start to get a bit steeper, but beautiful views will be your reward. At just over three miles into your journey, you'll take a left onto the Marmot Passage Trail. As its name suggests, you might be able to catch sight of a yellow-bellied Marmot on this trail, so keep an eye out! Once you transition to this trail, the going will get a little more difficult, as the grade increases slightly, and there will be more technical aspects on the trail, including roots and rocks. About halfway through this trail, you'll begin a gradual descent, hinting at the fact that you're beginning your initial descent to the falls.
Don't despair, you'll continue to enjoy scenic views of both forests, meadows, and incredible rock formations. Soon enough, runners will make another left onto the Chimney Rock Trail. This route will continue more of the same from the Marmot Passage Trail, but you'll be getting ever closer to your goal, the scenic Elk Falls!
A short continuation will lead to the Elk Falls Trail, which will lead you on a steep descent to North Elk Creek. Though this portion is steep, you'll be able to get up close and personal with Elk Falls as it tumbles 100 feet to meet the creek. Take some time to enjoy the sound of the water and potentially have a snack before returning the way that you came. The first few miles running away from the creek will be a climb, but you'll be able to coast back to the parking area.
Even though you'll be moving along the same trails, you'll enjoy the new perspective on the landscape. By the time you'll return to the parking area, you can congratulate yourself on knocking out a lovely 13 miles!
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Land Manager: Colorado Parks & Wildlife- Staunton State Park