A great day to get out of the city with temperatures reaching the mid 90s and head up to the high country to hopefully cooler temps. Take Hwy 7 towards Lyons and just outside of Allenspark to the Wild Basin trail head.
This time back to the Wild Basin trail head within Rocky Mountain National Park for another attempt at Ouzel Lake. My last time on this trail was in June 2014 and a combination of a missed alternate trail, a washed out bridge from the flooding in late 2013 and injuring my knee along the trail, I never made it to the lake.
A look back
Very exciting and lucky to capture this shot of a bull moose today
The final approach to Ouzel Lake
Overall it was a great day to be on the trail, as you may or may not know traffic is also heavy mostly due to Ouzel Falls and and the Cascades along the way. Getting there as early as possible is a great idea to find a decent parking space. The highlight of the day for myself of course was spotting a bull moose on the descent from Ouzel Lake.
Distance covered this hike was 9.9 miles, taking an alternate trail part of the way up and back down the normal trail coming back down.
It’s been awhile since my last time on a trail and this hike and I wasnt at my best being a bit under the weather in New Mexico. This day’s hike was to Ouzel Lake, a 9.9 mile hike, but being that I work in the accounting field let’s just round up and say 10 miles. Just a warning, the direct way to Ouzel Lake isnt the way to go, we learned this the hard way along with several other hikers who had the same destination in mind. The bridge at Ouzel Falls is out from the flooding last September. Following the Wild Basin Trailhead, you can get as far as Ouzel Falls and if you’re adventurous enough, you can go around and up over the falls and try to pick up the trail from there. What we should have done was taken the trails leading to the camping sites earlier on the trail and we would’ve reached Ouzel Lake no problem. I was disappointed we didnt reach the lake, but I took a fall and injured my knee pretty bad, so coming back down the trail was probably the best idea. Here are just a few pics from that day using my camera phone. I still have others to upload from my Fuji camera. Hopefully I can do this soon. Enjoy!
Bridge is out…
In front of Ouzel Falls
Standing atop Ouzel Falls
Saturday was a great day for a hike, honestly any day is a great day for a hike. But yesterday was a special day even before getting on the trail. If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, then you know I am always on the lookout for wildlife when hiking. From a cautious perspective, but also from the perspective of witnessing animals in their natural habitats.
While driving to the Wild Basin trailhead and we’re almost there and suddenly out of nowhere two moose, both bulls, ran from the woods and onto the dirt road. That was the good news, the one animal that I’ve always wanted to see in it’s element I’m now seeing and not just one but two! Now for the bad news. For the next 15-20 secs one of the bulls stood there with a full rack posing like he was waiting for me to take his photo. All the while I’m fumbling around in my backpack reaching for my camera to get a shot. By the time I did get the camera, he ran back off up into the woods. Needless to say, seeing the moose more than made my day, on the other hand, not getting a picture I wasnt too happy about. Oh well, next time.
Anyway, the hike to Ouzel Falls is 2.7 miles one way with an elevation gain of over 800 feet, starting at 8500 and ending at 9366. The trail runs along side the North St. Vrain Creek, crosses over the Calypso Cascades 1.8 miles in. The trail doesn’t end at the falls, you can continue on to Ouzel Lake which is another 2.2 miles past the falls. Along the trail where it opens up you can get a good look at Mt Massive and Longs Peak off in the distance as well as a number of burn areas from past wildfires, where trees and vegetation are showing signs of coming back. I’ve done this hike 2 or 3 times before once on snowshoes and this hike never gets old.
On the way up or down the trail you can take a look at Copeland Falls, theres a short trail off to the side of the main trail and connects back to it.