Dark timber can be part of the game up at that elevation. This year my brother out his bull at 9500 elevation, in a canyon in the aspens and dark timber. It can be fun and frustrating. I did a little more research and it seems like the Sarvis Wilderness areas around Green Creek and Silver Creek are decent spots. Good areas for where the start moving with all the hunt pressure.
Also looking at that terrain seems to be some decent parks you could still hunt if you know how the animals move and feed. In my experience the only way your going to catch an elk in a park is early at just shooting light, and almost at dark.
Ide say get a high vantage point. Somewhere you can see a good distance. That area has several creeks and streams so think about where they would water. Years like this where it gets warm they will bed down durring the day.
Luckily your willing to hike so you can get into those places with less traffic and get to where you can see to spot them.
Found some pictures you might want to take a look at. Kinda show some terrain that might be worth getting to know.
Red Dirt Road from I-40 near Rabbit Ears Pass, Colorado