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Best Hikes Near Denver and Boulder
by Sandy Heise and Maryann Gaug (Falcon Guides)
Wild Basin is a wonderful and somewhat hidden part of Rocky Mountain National Park. You’ll hike along the sparkling, fast-?owing North Saint Vrain Creek and then pass beautiful Calypso Cascades and thundering Ouzel Falls. Beyond Calypso Cascades, nature is doing an excellent job of regenerating the forest that burned in the 1978 ?re, which started near Ouzel Lake. The trail o?ers beautiful views of Longs Peak, Mount Meeker, and the rugged Continental Divide, especially along a ridge lined with healthy new growth. Pretty Ouzel Lake lies on a bench not far below treeline. Backcountry campsites are located along or near the trail, with one at Ouzel Lake.
The Colorado Year Round Outdoor Guide
by Dave Muller (Colorado Mountain Club Press)
There may not be a better hike along rushing water in Colorado than this one during the annual spring run-off. There may be better hikes along rushing water than this hike to Ouzel Falls, but I don't know of one! With heavy spring run-off, this hike shows a riot of rampaging water. It is an ideal outing for families since it is neither too long nor too steep. Watch for the falls’ namesake, the water ouzel or dipper, an unusual bird that nests behind the falls and hunts its food underwater. Week 23 is a perfect time for this outing, with wildflowers exploding in a colorful display throughout the Ouzel Burn area. Look especially for fireweed, a strong colonizer after a fire. It has now been nearly a quarter century since the lightning-triggered blaze at Ouzel Lake burned for nearly six weeks over a large area of Wild Basin. Out of the destruction have come fascinating lessons in how forests regenerate themselves.
Colorado's Best Wildflower Hikes: The Front Range
by Pamela & David Irwin (Westcliffe Publishers)
Wild Basin is the headwaters for the North St. Vrain River, and water is in abundance along the trail. Wildflowers are prolific as well. A flowery start leads toward a chain of whitewater cascades—from close-in Copeland Falls to shadowy Calypso Cascades and magnificent Ouzel Falls. Roughly 70 kinds of wildflowers represent several ecosystems at peak bloom, typically in July. If you’re looking for the exquisite calypso or fairy slipper orchid, June is your best bet. The uphill trek to Calypso Cascades (1.8 miles) and Ouzel Falls (2.7 miles) should not be missed. Wild Basin’s dirt access road leads to a sizable parking area that fills by mid-morning on weekends. Wildflower alert: Deep shade and forest duff provide ideal habitat for alluring calypso orchids.
Payton and I snowshoed this trail on Valentine's Day. Tons of snow and the falls were breathtaking. We will go back and hike it this summer of fall.
One of the greater hikes in RMNP. This is a great hike for kids. There was so much water rushing and waterfalls it felt like springtime instead of the end of summer. At the top of the falls there were thousands of wild raspberries - we all gorged ourselves on them. If you take the trail to the left of the falls you can bushwack your way up to the top of the falls and the views are stunning. Over to Longs and Meeker Peak. This is a must do hike and would be great for families.
Very nice hike up to Ouzel Falls. Around a 950ft elevation gain in roughly 2.7 miles. The trail is well marked and maintained. You hike along the river most of the way so make sure to stop and look at the numerous falls along the way,we saw a small brook trout trying to go up one while we were taking a short break. I would get an early start however or you may end up hiking farther then you anticipated due to parking.
Great to have the different waterfalls along the way. Not as many flowers as I had hoped, but did learn quite a few new species. Couldn't make it up there until around 11am - of course parking was full, but instead of walk the extra 2 miles each way from the parking lot at the park entrance - we drove down and waited about 1/2 hour. Was fine because we were getting organized anyway. Extra 4 miles would have been brutal - walking along dusty road. Many did it. Too bad park doesn't have a shuttle. Wish we would have had a bigger car to pick up people along the way!
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