Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
2,500.00 ft (762.00 m)
Trail type
12.60 mi (20.28 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

This hike begins from the Wild Basin Trailhead, which is located south of Estes Park and about 15 miles from the main entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. The roads are well-paved until the final 2.2 miles, which is on a gravel road. While the main attraction is the final destination of Bluebird Lake, you will also pass many attractions, including Copeland Falls, Calypso Cascades, Ouzel Falls and Ouzel Lake. Ouzel Lake is the only one that you will have to divert from the main trail in order to see, and the route is clearly marked with signage.

It is a busy trail in the beginning stages of the hike, but once you pass Ouzel Falls, the crowds begin to thin. As you approach Bluebird Lake, there are still some large and somewhat treacherous snow fields as late as July. You'll be fine crossing them with good hiking shoes, but if you do this hike in the spring, you may want to speak with a ranger regarding the snow levels. 

The first attraction you will reach comes quickly in Copeland Falls, which has an upper and lower section. From that point, its onto Calypso Cascades, though the trail does take you over a bridge to get across an unnamed waterfall as well. Though unnamed, it's worth a pause to take in the view. From Calypso Cascades, it is another mile to reach Ouzel Falls. While you're able to see a beautiful view of the falls from the trail and the bridge that overpasses Ouzel Creek, you will want to veer off the trail a short distance to get a view of the top of the falls. The trail starts right before the bridge and continues up the side of the waterfall until reaching the viewpoint for the top of the falls.

About a quarter-mile after the falls, the trail splits, with Bluebird Lake to the left and Thunder Lake to the right. You gain serious elevation from this point until you reach the lake, and a lot of this territory is still recovering from the Ouzel Fire, which occurred in the late 1970s. After approaching the spur for the trail to Ouzel Lake, the trail changes from predominately a forest hike into a more rugged and rocky path. It's roughly 1.5 miles more in this terrain until you reach Bluebird Lake. Once at the lake, you will enjoy the stunning views in solitude. 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

National Park Pass


Great views. Solitude. Various waterfalls. Wildflowers.


Strenuous hike.

Trailhead Elevation

8,500.00 ft (2,590.80 m)


Backcountry camping
Big vistas


Nearby Adventures


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