A beautiful, low-traffic winter hike with no entrance fees in Rocky Mountain National Park!

While most people go snowshoeing near the Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge area in RMNP, Wild Basin is a much less trafficked option. The entrance station isn't manned in the winter, so you'll get in for free, as well! You can put the Wild Basin Trailhead into your GPS, but you'll have to park at the winter parking area. The road is closed about 1 mile from the summer trailhead, so the beginning and end of your hike will take place on the road. 

Once you make it to the actual trailhead, there are two bathrooms for a quick pit stop before starting the 1.6 miles to the cascades. Shortly after starting the hike you'll reach Copeland Falls. They're generally completely covered in snow and ice, but still worth the short detour to check them out.

The trail will be mostly flat, but the last 0.6 miles or so the hills steepen and the wind blown snow becomes more powdery - this is a good place to put on your snowshoes or traction devices. You'll know you reached the cascades when you get to a series of bridges and you can hear the faint rumble of water beneath the snow. 

From here, you can continue onwards to Ozuel Falls or several different lakes, or take off your pack and enjoy a quick bite before heading back down the trail. 

Be on the lookout for moose and elk while on this trail! Both frequent the area and like to hang out close to the path.  

Pack List

  • Water
  • Winter layers (pay attention to the weather to know what is appropriate)
  • Snowshoes or traction devices
  • Sunscreen
  • Snacks
  • Camera
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RT Distance 6.25 Miles
Elevation Gain 580 Feet
Activities Skiing, Snowshoeing, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Winter
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Forest
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildlife

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