Ouzel Falls is a beautiful and easy to intermediate hike located on the southeastern part of Rocky Mountain National Park. This hike features stunning views, waterfalls, streams, fishing opportunities, and the ability for hikers to continue hiking to other awesome destinations. Here is everything you need to know about hiking to Ouzel Falls. Ouzel Falls is often combined with hiking to Ouzel Lake and/or Bluebird Lake.
Distance – 5.32 miles round trip (8.56 km)
Height – 9,472 feet (2887.07 m)
Elevation gain – 1,216 feet (370.64 meters)
Duration – 4-5 hours
Difficulty – Intermediate
Class: Class 1 Hike
Trailhead Location – Wild Basin Trailhead (8,532 feet)
Need To Know Information
- This hike lies within Rocky Mountain National Park, so a national park permit is required. The entrance is the Wild Basin Entrance station which can have up to date information here: https://www.nps.gov/romo/entrance_stations.htm
- Permits may be required depending upon the time of year. This information can be found here: https://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/timed-entry-permit-system.htm
- Winter season has parking lot closures, which would mean hikers need to park at the Wild Basin Winter Parking trailhead. (More information below)
- Dogs are not allowed in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Hiking Route Options
The most common hiking option is from the Wild Basin Trailhead, however some hikers may leave from the Allenspark Trailhead. This makes it a longer hike, but still quite simple. We recommend the Wild Basin Trailhead due to the ability for hikers to enjoy upper and lower Copeland falls along the way.
Wild Basin Trailhead | 5.32 Miles Round Trip (8.56 km) – 1,216 Feet Elevation Gain (370.64 meters) | Class 1
Hikers begin at the Wild Basin Trailhead where the trail is very well marked and well traveled. The trailhead has bathrooms, a trail map, a large parking lot, and quickly takes hikers to the trail right next to the gorgeous river.
0.4 miles into the hike, hikers can take a couple hundred foot detour to view upper and lower Copeland Falls.
About 1.4 miles in hikers, should turn left to stay on the Wild Basin Trail towards Ouzel Falls. It is after this, that the hike starts to have some more serious elevation gain, however the entire hike contains relatively gradual gaines.
Hikers will then hike towards Calypso Cascades, where they will cross a gorgeous bridge just after turning right towards Ouzel Falls.
2.6 Miles into the hike, hikers will reach the spur to Ouzel Falls. This is the couple hundred foot spur that everyone should take to the base of the falls. The falls are visible from the bridge, but it is this spur trail that gives the best views.
Hiking Ouzel Falls In Winter
This hike is accessible in winter, but traction should be brought due to icy conditions. It should also be noted that in winter, the road to Wild Basin Trailhead closes, which means that hikers need to park at the Wild Basin Winter Trailhead. It is about 1 mile from the winter trailhead to the summer trailhead and about 150 feet of elevation. So in winter, hikers need to be prepared to hike an additional 2 miles round trip.
Camping For Ouzel Falls
Because this hike is located in RMNP, camping in this area requires a wilderness backpacking permit. There are several camping areas, including a tentsite at Ouzel lake that can be reserved. Information on how to reserve is here: https://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/wild_guide.htm#permit
Ouzel Lake Tentsite
Upper Ouzel Creek
Pine Ridge Tentsite
Aspen Knoll Tentsite
Tahosa Tent Site
Thunder Lake Campsite (not very close, but great for Thunder Lake!)
For each of the above, see this link: https://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/site_details.htm
This includes information about each of the tent sites.
Fishing Ouzel Creek, Ouzel Lake, and North St. Vrain Creek
Ouzel Lake is known for fantastic fly fishing. All of the waters around the lake, including the creeks and the other lakes have fantastic fishing. All catch and release waters for anglers. This is a fantastic hiking destination to bring the fly rod to. These are artificial lure, catch and release only waters.
Current Weather Conditions:
Here is the detailed weather forecast for the next few days. We highly recommend you check out the mountain forecast for this area the morning of your hike.
Snow likely. Mostly cloudy. Low around 8, with temperatures rising to around 12 overnight. Wind chill values as low as -7. West wind around 23 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than half an inch possible.
Snow. Cloudy. High near 21, with temperatures falling to around 18 in the afternoon. Wind chill values as low as -8. North northwest wind 8 to 21 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 4 to 6 inches possible.
Snow likely before 2am. Mostly cloudy. Low around 4, with temperatures rising to around 9 overnight. Wind chill values as low as -14. South wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
Sunny, with a high near 25. Wind chill values as low as -8. West wind 15 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph.
Mostly clear, with a low around 9. West wind 17 to 22 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.
Sunny, with a high near 29.
Mostly clear, with a low around 14.
Directions & Parking
Directions to Wild Basin Trailhead:
Max DesMarais is the founder of Hiking & Fishing. He has a passion for the outdoors and sharing experiences with others. Max is a published author for various outdoor websites and digital marketing websites. You can read more about him here: hikingandfishing/about