Ouzel Falls Hike, Memorial Day 2015

After far too many weekends spent inside, Hubs and I decided to spend Memorial Day weekend stomping around the Estes Park area. We were hoping to avoid the crazy holiday crowds at Rocky Mountain National Park, so after asking for trail suggestions at one of the local hiking stores, we headed to the Wild Basin ranger station to begin our hike.

Side note-when hiking in the mountains, the weather is unpredictable to say the least, and you must pack accordingly. A comfy cotton sweatshirt tied around your waist will not cut it. Bring layers, bring rain gear, or you might suffer.

Estes Park hotel pic hiking rocky mountain national park rmnc
Note the gorgeous, clear blue skies

For example, this is what it looked like when we left the hotel for our hike.

Here’s evidence of the brief hail storm we just missed:hiking rmnp hail in rocky mountain national park

After a brief chat with the rangers at the Wild Basin station, we headed off onto the trail, regardless of the cold rain. Thanks to the downpour, the trail was blissfully free of traffic. After about a mile, we were rewarded with a lovely view of Copeland Falls.

Copeland Falls rocky mountain national park rmnp

Followed quickly by Calypso Cascades.

Cascade falls rocky mountain national park rmnp Ouzel Falls Hike - calypso falls rocky mountain national park rmnp

Soon after passing the Cascades, the rain turned into a heavy, wet snow accompanied by loud, raucous thunder.

hiking rocky mountain national park rmnp - Ouzel Falls sign

Unfortunately, the bridge after Ouzel Falls was washed out by the 2013 flooding, so we turned back and headed to the trailhead.Lawses in the snow

Stage one in convincing Hubs to try winter camping, complete!

All in all, the hike from Wild Basin to Ouzel Falls is a fairly easy and rewarding hike, and a great alternative to the amusement park crowds at Bear Lake.

Trail lessons:

1. All those warnings about the temperamental nature of the weather in the Rockies? They’re legit. Ignore them to your peril!

2. Even if you are planning on staying in hotels and don’t have to take ALL your gear, pack carefully. Otherwise, you might end up thinking you have left your rain gear behind and only finding them after you have purchased new gear. Oh well, it never hurts to have a spare, right?