Elk Falls Hiking Trail near our Zen Treehouse
The trailhead to this amazing hike is only 35 minutes from the Zen Treehouse. Description from the State of Colorado’s Parks and Wildlife site:
Hike Distance: 12 miles
Elevation Gain: Approximately 1500 feet
Highest Point of Elevation: 8,950 feet
Dogs: Allowed On Leash
Nearest Town: Conifer, Colorado (note: our Zen Treehouse is closer to the trailhead than Conifer)
There’s something about waterfalls. Perhaps it’s the sight of a seemingly endless cascade of water. Maybe it’s the repetitive sound of the falls crashing against rock. It could be the slight yet pervasive mist that arises and envelopes the scene. Whatever the reason, waterfalls are hypnotic. It’s undeniable, the draw these majestic features of the land possess.
Our very own Staunton State Park recently finished construction on 1.9 miles of new trails, and when we heard these paths lead hikers right to the base of the formerly inaccessible Elk Falls, we made it a priority to trek them.
The public has been able to admire Elk Falls from a distant overlook since Staunton State Park opened in 2013. Thanks to the newly constructed Chimney Rock and Elk Falls Trails, you can now experience the waterfall in an entirely new way. The 75 feet of falls is a stunning sight from above, but seeing this feature of the landscape up close is a must. The roughly 12-mile round trip hike may sound daunting, but don’t fret. With plenty of time and good planning, the journey to Elk Falls will become a fast favorite.
The new trails begin near Elk Falls Pond, which is accessible by routes of varying difficulty and length. The rangers and volunteers at Staunton are the best resource for ensuring a successful hike. Ask for help in finding the route best suited for your ability and they will kindly point you in the right direction.
Directions to Elk Falls Trailhead from the Zen Treehouse
I wanted to share a little bit about the area near our treehouse and why we picked the area. We picked Bailey as the site of our Zen Treehouse because:
- It’s less than an hour from downtown Denver
- You don’t have to drive up I-70 to get there (I-70 traffic, especially during the weekends, is horrible!)
- It’s in the heart of Pike National Forrest in an area called Platte canyon.
- There is a lot of great outdoor recreation around the area including hunting, fishing, hiking, zip lining, mountain biking, and even features a world-class mountain frisbee golf course nearby.
- It’s in Park County, Colorado, where they don’t have any regulations limiting short-term rentals (Jefferson, Douglas, and Clear Creek counties have very restrictive regulations)
- We love this area so much, that we got married in Pine Valley Ranch Park, just 20 minutes east of our land, in 2010.
Here’s a little history of the area from the Platte Canyon Chamber of Commerce Web site:
The Platte Canyon region is rich in history and tradition. To support the gold mining industry a road was built through the Platte Canyon region in the middle 1800s. Later in the 1800s The Denver South Park and Pacific Railroad was built though the region to support the timber industry.
The town of Bailey was named after William Bailey who settled the area in 1864. After running a profitable business for many years, Mr. Bailey sold his land and moved to California. After the railroad was built, a short economic boom occurred in the area. A widow and mother of two, Mrs. McGraw ran a store and Post Office in Bailey. For a period, she owned most of the town. McGraw Memorial Park located in Bailey is named after the McGraw family and is home to some of Bailey’s historical structures including the Entriken cabin, the only original building left from this era. The Entriken cabin was built by the towns name sake William Bailey.
Lost Creek Wilderness Area near Bailey, CO
Great meeting today at the site with the architect and builder today. The weather was perfect and we decided on the location for the two platforms – one for the main treehouse and the other for the second bedroom/bath/deck treehouse.
We already filed the well permit, which takes 4-6 weeks. We’ve already talked to the septic designer and the surveyors. So, the next step is to hire the surveyors to come out and confirm the lot lines and do a topography and tree/size location in the building site area, which will be about 1/2 an acre (it’s a 2 acre lot). Once we get the survey back, the architect can begin the design process. The septic engineer can also begin his work to get the septic located on the site and designed. Since it’s a steep slope, everything will be more expensive than building on a flat lot. Taking huge trucks down the hill is not easy! Luckly, there is an old 4 x 4 road from the main road that goes to the spot we think the septic will go. Hopefully we can use it instead of building a new one.
Take a look at our views from the building site. The structure should be to the left of the grove of spruce trees approximately 20′ – 25′ off the ground and level with the road. The views are amazing – this picture really don’t do it justice, but for now, will give you some idea.
At the Zen Treehouse lot with the architect and builder determining the site of the treehouse structure.