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.
Out here in Colorado, and in the units that I haunt, it is a tricky game to figure out how far to pack in on a rifle hunt. You want to get away from the masses that have moved game away from the roads but might want to stay close enough that you are taking advantage of the animals forced movements. There is no universal distance but I like the 1.5 to 4 mile range for day hunts where I am not planning on bivying out. This keeps you in that productive buffer zone where the animals are really...