Ouzel Falls hike was one of my favorite hikes on our Rocky Mountain National Park camping trip! This 5-mile hike takes you on an amazing adventure past 3 cascade waterfalls, several creeks, beautiful forested trail and ends with an enormous 40-foot waterfall. This was a 5th day trip on our hiking itinerary, right after we hiked the Continental Divide up to Mount Ida. Explore the full Ouzel Falls hike with me along with some tips, pictures and details to help you enjoy this adventure!
Ouzel Falls Hike Information
Ouzel Falls Hike Distance – 5.4 miles Round Trip
Difficulty – Moderate
Duration – 3 – 4 hr Round Trip
Trail Type – Out and Back
Starting Elevation – 8566′
Elevation Gain – Approx +950′
Ouzel Falls Trail Description
This 5.4 mile hike starts at the Wild Basin Trailhead and passes three other cascade waterfalls before arriving at the Ouzel Falls. The first waterfall, Lower Copeland Falls is just 0.4 miles into the hike!
The upper falls are located roughly a little further upstream along the North St. Vrain Creek. There’s a side trail that you can take to see both falls, this trail parallels the main trail, and you can return back to the main trail without having to backtrack. After Copeland Falls, the trail following alongside North Saint Vrain Creek for about 1 mile to where it splits.
At just over 1.3 miles from the trail-head you’ll reach a spur trail that provides access to a series of five back-country campgrounds! At about 1.6 miles you will pass an unnamed waterfall, but don’t confuse it with Calypso Cascades, which is still another two-tenths of a mile further.
You can return the 2.7 miles back they way they came to Ouzel Falls, or can hike further to destinations such as Ouzel Lake (an additional 2.2 miles, one-way).
Fun Fact: Ouzel Falls is named after the Ouzel or Water-Dipper, the only songbird that can dive and walk underwater to catch insects and larvae. Ouzels make globe-shaped nests near waterfalls, lakes, and streams.
Ouzel Falls Tips and Resources
1. Get to the trail head early
This one has a couple of reasons. In the summer, parking at the trail head can fill up, even in the early morning. The shuttle does not go down to the trail head, which will add a couple of mile to your hiking. Also, it often rains in the afternoons and it can be very dangerous to get caught in the rain at such high altitude.
2. You’re in Bear Country
Black Bears live in the area and are active on the months of April through November. Be aware, dispose of your food responsibly and stay in groups.
Socks, mess kit, headlamp and good hiking boots – make sure to have all of the essentials for your next trip to the Rocky Mountain National Park!
4. Check the Road Conditions
Follow this link to check the Rocky Mountain Road Conditions before your hike, especially if you are going in the winter!
5. Read More Tips in my Rocky Mountains Tips
I have a full list of tips that will help you on your upcoming trip to the Rockies! Check them out and add your tips to comment after you get back!