2 - 3
FATMAP difficulty grade
Starting from the lesser-traveled Wild Basin trailhead of Rocky Mountain National Park, the hike to Ouzel Falls goes gradually uphill, through conifer and aspen forest, beside a cascading creek.
The first notable waterfall is Lower Copeland Falls, less than half a mile into the hike, followed shortly by Upper Copeland Falls.
Beyond there, the trail steepens somewhat and becomes rockier, leading higher into the valley.
Though the trail is well shaded by the trees, it can get hot in summer.
Luckily, the creek is there for refreshment.
Some pools are large and calm enough for wading, but you should always beware of slick rocks and strong currents. After passing a cluster of backcountry campsites (permit required for camping), the trail comes to Calypso Cascades, in a particularly dramatic part of the creek.
A pair of footbridges cross a miniature gorge, connecting a boulder island in the middle, granting a view up and down the rocky stream, to waterfalls above and below.
But the best waterfall is yet to come, about one mile farther, up the steepest section of trail.
At Ouzel Falls, a creek plummets over a 40-foot cliff, spraying onto jumbled boulders below.
The flow is strongest in late spring and early summer, and slows down by autumn, but you can always count on flowing water. Ouzel Falls is the turnaround point for most hikers, but the trail continues higher into the mountains, eventually reaching lakes in an alpine basin.
You may wish to press on to Ouzel Lake, or even higher if you like, and if good weather holds. Sources: https://www.nps.gov/thingstodo/romo_ouzelfalls.htm https://traveleatblog.com/destinations/usa/rocky-mountains/ouzel-falls-hike-rocky-mountains-colorado/