While Staunton State Park may have lots of long trails, there’s one hike that’s perfect for families and seniors — Davis Ponds.
Davis Ponds are two ponds near the main parking lot. The trail to the ponds is a pleasant, double loop of two miles with about 200 feet of elevation gain.
I recommend starting the hike in the parking lot by the entrance station (directions below). After paying the entrance fee, turn left in the parking lot and park on the southwest corner of the parking lot. Looking west, you should see a sign that says Davis Ponds Trailhead.
At the sign, there are two options. I suggest starting your hike on the upper trail to your right. It’s a bit of a climb, but it’s short and ends quickly. And don’t worry if you have to stop as you climb this hill, the trail is in the trees and quite pleasant.
At the top of the hill, follow the path as it turns left. A sign here points visitors toward “Davis Ponds 1 mile.”
Now the trail winds through the forest and meadows. In the meadows, you’ll get a nice view of the mountains in the distance. In the trees, look for one of the herds of deer and elk who live in the state park.
About .75 miles from the parking lot, you’ll come to the second loop. Turn here and continue following the mostly flat dirt path as it passes the creek following into the ponds and the two ponds.
The ponds and dam were reconstructed in 2014-2015 to withstand a major flooding event.
Davis Ponds is a great place to skip rocks, have a picnic lunch or just enjoy the peace and quiet. Fishing is allowed here, if you have a Colorado fishing license. However, no swimming is allowed, so don’t let the kids in the water.
We walked across the dam for a view of the surrounding area, then walked back to the trail and continued on the loop.
About .2 miles from the pond, the loop ended in a different place that where we started. If you look at the map, you’ll see there is a full second loop, but unless you want to do a figure 8 hike, just turn right here and walk the last 0.4 miles to the main parking lot where you started.
The sign in the parking lot says the loops have names. The loop by the parking lot is the Pookah Loop. The loop by the lakes is the Waterhole Loop.
I don’t know the meaning of those names, but I can tell you the ponds are named for the Davis family, who owned this part of the park. The 1,000-acre Davis Ranch was purchased in 1999 with a Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Legacy Grant to become part of the park, according to the Staunton State Park history page.
Details: The hike around the Davis Ponds loops is two miles with about 200 feet of elevation gain.
Learn more about the park, get the latest entrance fee price and get a trail map on the park’s website. Find more hikes in Colorado State Parks and more Colorado hiking trails in this list of 400+ hikes in Colorado. Don’t miss any of my trip reports, sign up for an email alert by clicking on subscribe at the top of this page and follow me on Facebook.
Directions: From C470, take US Highway 285 south to Shaffers Crossing, about 6 miles west of Conifer. Turn north on Elk Creek Road and follow the signs 1.5 miles to the park entrance.