Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
1,336.00 ft (407.21 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
5.50 mi (8.85 km)
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The Wild Basin entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park is far from the hustle and bustle of Estes Park, and it offers some marvelous hiking. Most of the hikes in this southeastern corner of the park require a fair bit of climbing, but the hike to Ouzel Falls is moderate and extremely rewarding, especially for lovers of cascades and waterfalls.

The Wild Basin Trailhead is a short drive from the Wild Basin entrance of the park. This is a popular spot for families to hike the third of a mile to Copeland Falls, and this part of the trail is busy. Copeland Falls is a small complex of cascades that are not much more than the numerous similar little falls that are common the entire route of this trail. In fact, the trail follows St. Vrain, Cony, and Ouzel Creeks for the entire route, and the steep grade makes for a continuous and delightful chorus of water tumbling over the rocks.

After Copeland Falls it is about 1.5 miles of gentle climbing to the Calypso Cascades. This marvelous run of falling water is a significant step up from Copeland Falls, and some large, flat boulders make this a great place to stop and admire the falling water. The last leg up to Ouzel Falls is a bit steeper. The trail opens up a bit to give nice views of the surrounding hills and mountains. Ouzel Falls can be heard for the last quarter mile, and the falls are not disappointing. There is a faint trail up the left side of the creek to the base of the falls and above. Photographers will love all the different perspectives to shoot these beautiful little falls. It is another 2.2 miles and 600 vertical feet to reach Ouzel Lake for those who want a longer hike.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Wonderful waterfalls and cascades. Easy grade.

Cons

None.

Trailhead Elevation

8,438.00 ft (2,571.90 m)

Features

Backcountry camping
Waterfalls
Wildflowers
Fishing

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Horseback

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Adventures

Comments

06/16/2018
Did this hike today, accidentally racked up 11.5 miles and here's what I learned:

1) Go early to get a good parking spot. Due to family circumstances, I didn't get there until 10am and the lots near the ranger station were closed. This added 4 extra miles round trip that I had to walk (it was great exercise though).

2) If a ranger tells you that the lots are full, ask if you can drive down there and check. By the time I got there, 4 spaces freed up from people leaving. That would have been great to be that close after the hike.

3) At the first major bridge, it is easy to continue on the wrong trail on the return. I ended up hiking an additional 2 miles with lots of elevation gain toward the trail to Finch Lake. However, I recommend getting lost too because the views of Mount Orton and Lookout Mountain were incredible! I will post a picture here of the view.

4) I learned from some fellow hikers that Ouzel is pronounced "Oozel"

Hope you can get outside this weekend and enjoy Ouzel Falls. So soothing. Aahh!
08/14/2016
This is a great hike! We saw 2 HUGE moose on the way back from Bluebird lake a bit farther up from Ouzel Lake.
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