First, get at LEAST 1/2 mile from the road. After 1/2 mile hunter pressure really thins out. Look for isolated meadow with nearby water during early season, later seasons will require a brushy component above the snow. Not required, but elk don't want to work for their food any more than you do. West facing and south facing slopes are most likely to have a better food component. Learn to read topo maps and look for timbered benches with nearby openings that cannot be seen from a road. Use google earth also, it has great aeiral photos that can be rotated for a 3d effect.
Figure out what of the three main habitat components might be a limiting factor. Water, Food and Cover. If food is abundant, cover might not be, so hunt cover. If cover is abundant, food might be in short supply, so hunt it. If water is in short supply and it is warm, hunt it.
You must always factor hunter pressure and psychology into your plans. Know what roads are the easiest to travel, where people will be camping, what roads will be closed, what terrain features are over the next hill that can't be seen from the road. Lots to think about and keep in mind hunter success is rarely any better than 20%. Successful hunters who take an elk nearly every year make up more than half of that number (In my opinion), that means the average joe takes an elk about 10% of the time. It aint easy! So know your biology, understand your vegetation-know what plants are favored foods in your area, bust your ass to find favored areas and GOOD LUCK
To reiterate the previous posts, don't underestimate the size of elk. I hunt alone quite often and debone elk in the field. The Colorado Division of Wildlife has a decent video that describes the process. This keeps from having to haul out full quarters with the bones, which are a significant part of the overall weight. Just make sure to keep evidence of sex attached. This also saves time in that you don't have to gut the elk, but still allows you to get to the tenderloins. Don't scrimp on the gamebags, but get a good set of heavyweight bags, and get a good packframe. I use a skinning knife to dehide one side, debone the meat with a fillet knife, then use parachute cord (550) to turn the elk over and work on the other side. I used this technique last year on a big cow that I arrowed. She died right up against a blowdown, and there was no way I was going to be able to move that elk by myself. I also keep a small tarp in my pack to keep the meat clean, but you could use the bags as well to save space and weight in your pack. With regards to the hunt itself, don't overcall, stillhunt the north facing slopes during midday, and get back in the woods where others won't go. Also, when stillhunting, don't look for a whole elk, but look for pieces of elk... a white rump, a horizontal line indicating a belly, a leg, etc. These big animals have a way of blending in with the surrounding terrain.
Understanding wind currents and thermals in hilly, broken terrain can often be incredibly frustrating. I've found that collecting and storing milkweed seed pods during the late summer has made me a better hunter in the bluff country that I hunt. These little feather like seed dispersers will float on the lightest of air currents and will show you what the wind is not only doing right at you're location but more importantly down range. I like to use the off season to float them...