• Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    13.5 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    2500 Feet

Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
River
Scenic
Waterfall

This hike features beautiful fall colors, mountain views, multiple waterfalls and lakes, and is relatively quiet and less-trafficked.

With about 13 miles round trip and a 2500 ft. gain, Ouzel and Bluebird Lakes are the perfect destination for moderate to serious hikers, looking for a good day hike with diverse terrain and views including rivers, waterfalls, mountains, and lakes.

Park at the Wild Basin Trailhead about 30 minutes drive from Lyons. The trail begins through thicker and shaded woods with many smaller, yet beautiful, waterfalls along the side including Copeland Falls, Calypso Cascades, and finally Ouzel Falls. After the bridge below Ouzel Falls, a brief and moderate climb leads to an elevated desert atmosphere, with sandy ground, cactus, and small, weather worn trees. Look up and you’ll witness beautiful views of Longs Peak and Mount Meeker as you begin to near the Ouzel Lake area.

Around the 4 mile mark there’s a split, with Ouzel lake being about .5 miles to the left and Bluebird Lake another 2.5 to the right. It’s worth heading in to Ouzel for a quick break as the toughest part of the hike is just ahead, and the views are beautiful; you can also catch some shade in the trees near the lake and river which can be very needed after a few hours if the sun is high.

Head back to the split and begin the final stretch to Bluebird lake. Observe the cairns which lead up through various little gullies and switchbacks as the trail becomes less visible through rock and shale. You’ll know the second you arrive, as coming over the final ridge will immediately display breathtaking views of snowy peaks above and stunning emerald green water below.

To descend, take the same path back, perhaps saving some of the waterfalls for the return trip as, with the altitude and dryness along the top, you’ll welcome a few short snack and water breaks. An entire trip, including Ouzel and Bluebird Lakes is about 13.5 miles round trip and can be completed as a day trip, in about 6-7 hours with steady pace.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Hiking Boots
  • Extra Socks
  • Layers
  • Sunblock
  • Windbreaker
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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