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Hiking Ouzel Lake, Colorado – Trail Map, Pictures, Description & More

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Article Categories: Hiking

Ouzel Lake is a beautiful and moderately difficult hike located on the southern end 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 Ouzel Lake.

Distance – 9.7 miles round trip (15.61 km)
Height – 10,031 feet (3057.45 m)
Elevation gain – 2,129 feet (648.92 meters)
Duration –  6-8 hours
Difficulty – Intermediate
Class: Class 1 Hike
Trailhead Location – Wild Basin Trailhead (8,532 feet)

 

Quick Navigation:
Routes | Trail Map | Camping Info | Weather | Directions | Pictures

 

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 – Wild Basin Trail | 9.7 Miles Round Trip (15.61 km) – 2,129 Feet Elevation Gain (648.92 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. Hikers do actually have the ability to continue straight (described below), but the recommended path is turning left here. 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 a couple hundred foot spur that everyone should take. From here, hikers continue to ascend via well maintained trails.

3 miles in, hikers will hit another junction where they need to bear left towards Ouzal and Bluebird Lake. The hike gradually gains elevation before reaching the final spur trail to Ouzel lake. Hikers take this spur, and arrive at the lake. Hikers retrace steps back to the trailhead.

 

Wild Basin Trailhead – Thunder Lake Trail | 9.8 Miles Round Trip (15.77 km) – 1,775 Feet Elevation Gain (541.02 meters) | Class 1

This route follows nearly the same directions as above, but 1.4 miles into the hike, hikers can choose to bear right towards Thunder Lake instead. About 2.25 miles after bearing right, hikers would then turn left on the Wild Basin Trail to connect back up with the Ouzel Lake Trail. This detour adds distance to the hike, but decreases the overall change in elevation. This makes it actually the easiest route to Ouzel lake, however, not the recommended route, as hikers will miss out on Ouzel Falls, and Calypso Falls, which are worth hiking to and seeing.

 

Hiking Ouzel Lake 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.

Trail Map

Ouzel Lake Trail Map - Rocky Mountain National ParkOuzel Lake Elevation Profile Map

 

Camping For Ouzel Lake

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 Lake, Ouzel Creek, 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.

 

Allenspark, CO

Tonight
A slight chance of thunderstorms and rain and snow showers likely. Cloudy, with a low around 26. West southwest wind 12 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

Tuesday
Snow showers likely before noon, then snow showers and a chance of thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy. High near 41, with temperatures falling to around 37 in the afternoon. West wind 14 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

Tuesday Night
Snow showers likely and a chance of thunderstorms. Partly cloudy. Low around 20, with temperatures rising to around 25 overnight. West wind 14 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than half an inch possible.

Wednesday
A chance of snow showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms after noon. Sunny, with a high near 49. West southwest wind 9 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Wednesday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 27. West southwest wind 9 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.

Thursday
A chance of snow showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms between noon and 1pm, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms between 1pm and 5pm, then a chance of snow showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms. Sunny, with a high near 52. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Thursday Night
A chance of snow showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 26. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

 

Directions & Parking

 

Directions to Wild Basin Trailhead:

 

Additional Pictures

Ouzel Falls Ouzel Lake Views

Ouzel Creek just before the lake

Ouzel Creek just before the lake

Ouzel Lake Panorama

Ouzel Lake In Winter

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, backcountry skier, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued climbed all of the Colorado 14ers, is always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about

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