Wild Basin in Rocky Mountain National Park is a delight, abundant with scenery, wildlife, thundering waterfalls, and beautiful alpine lakes beneath rugged peaks. It is a gem!


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We started heading to Ouzel Falls and Ouzel Lake via Copeland Falls and Calypso Cascades; however, the bridge to Calypso Cascades was under repair, and our day became an adventure!


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Copeland Falls is just a short distance from the trailhead and rushes intense in early fall. So pretty in the early morning hours. I am enjoying my chilled cheeks, the brisk air, and the surrounding beginnings of fall colors. 


The trail was well-marked and nicely groomed until we came upon a sign stating the bridge to Calypso Falls is temporarily closed ahead, and a 1.3-mile detour is in place. So now, our new route is a steep incline in rocky terrain that is not well-used.

I made the mistake of not downloading a trail map from the AllTrails app or taking a photo of the map at the trailhead. I’ve been here before and had not expected a detour! Just a tip, always bring a map!

We missed the turn to Ouzel Lake Trail (not marked) at 1.3 miles and kept going for another mile before returning. If we had gone on ahead, we would have reached Thunder Lake.

Owning proper clothing keeps you hiking year-round!

In Fall & Winter, a Nano Puff Vest, a Nano Puff Jacket, Smartwool Socks, a Midweight Base Layer Top, and Fleece Leggings.

I have owned these items for years of hiking.

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Our goal was Ouzel Lake; we returned and turned to Ouzel Falls, which had a turn to Ouzel Lake before reaching the falls. Unfortunately, we missed that turn. Not spotting the signpost which takes you to Ouzel Lake tucked in the trees.

Missing the turn was a stroke of luck! It is a beautiful trail, with dense forests, colorful rock faces, and sensational views. Thinking we would be turning to Ouzel Lake we ended up at Ouzel Falls. Totally confused but loved the hike.



As we crossed a bridge, we wandered deep into the canyon to find Ouzel Falls – lots of hikers about, a popular destination. The falls tumbling over the rock ledge are loud and glorious. But, by this time, we are ready for a break.

Ultralight Inflatable Seat – Perfect for sitting on rocks and taking in views and having lunch or snacks when hiking. I love mine!

Smartwool Womens Hiking Socks – I own several pairs and love these socks. Last long, keep feet dry, comfortable.

Six Moon Hiking Umbrella – I use mine all the time for sun protection and for rainy days hiking.

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After a snack and water took off to hike past the falls, downhill rapidly, a sweet aspen forest graced our path; we returned the way we came after a mile.

A map of the hiking trails within Wild Basin > CLICK HERE


After hiking 10+ miles, it’s time to go back. Slightly disappointed that we never made it to Ouzel Lake. I wrote this mixed-up hike to show that not reaching your destination does not mean the day is a dud! We loved our day and got to be in areas we probably would never have seen.

We still need to hike the trail to all 3 Falls and onto Ouzel Lake.


Wild Basin Area

Rocky Mountain National Park

Timed Entry Permit System- late May to middle Oct 

Wild Basin Trails> download the trail map

Dogs not allowed on trails

Be weather aware before you go > Weather RMNP

> Must have Essentials – when hiking in Colorado

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HIKING WILD BASIN in the snow is gorgeous!

Calypso Cascades & Copeland Falls in winter! Located in the Wild Basin region southeast corner of Rocky Mountain National Park, an area that sometimes gets missed.

Grab your micro spikes, bring snowshoes and get outside in winter and spring snow! On many trails, the snow has been packed down from previous hikers, and using micro spikes makes hiking on snow easy. 


Note: Many of the links are affiliate links which means I receive a very small commission (at no added cost to you).


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Can't wait to see you on the trail!

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