Explore paddle backpacking - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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hiking
13 minutes ago

I love this trail. My favorite in the Rocky Mountain National Park thus far. Going at a slower pace (really taking in the views and having a bummed knee) it took my friend and I 8-9 hours total. We went during peak fall foliage at that altitude, which is around early to mid September, HIGHLY SUGGESTED. It made the trail even more beautiful. A good part of the trail is surrounded by smaller beautiful trees that change color for fall, while surrounded by mountain peaks. The trail passes by the Ouzel Falls and overlooks Ouzel Lake. The end is a scramble up some steep sloped rocks, where you should follow the little rock piles people made to mark the trail (I added to these as well). It's a beautiful lake and if you look in the opposite direction it's a beautiful view of the valley you just climbed up. If you get up there quickly and feel like you want to keep going, there are two more lakes you can scramble up to past Bluebird Lake. I don't think there is any paths leading up there though

Gorgeous country and great hike. Very peaceful and the trail is certainly challenging at times.

Great trail. I didn’t see anyone for the middle 2.5 hours. Beautiful views, great wildlife.

hiking
13 days ago

Great hike and great weather. There was about 2" of fresh powder near the lake but no snowpack. I saw a giant moose near the trailhead and saw tracks everywhere. Keep your eyes peeled. Almost every time I come to the Wild Basin area I see a moose or two. I started my hike at 7:15 and got to bluebird lake at 9:45 (2.5hrs). Round trip took me less than 4.5 hrs. I've hiked this trail many times and keep coming back. Great trail!

on Gore Lake

backpacking
15 days ago

Beautiful fall hike, low traffic, no bikes, plenty of breathtaking views! The full out-and-back loop is more like 14.4mi. The route to the lake is tough, and slow going, even for experienced hikers.

There are mountain goats up at the lake, please don’t feed them!!

20 days ago

Beautiful hike, but challenging. It was a great character builder for my eight-year-old son , 11-year-old daughter and wife. Coming from sea level the day before added to the challenge, but the kids made the trek in 7:30 hours with a stop for lunch at the lake. Can’t wait to do it again.

Amazing trail and hike. Well kept. Saw several moose. Was a perfect fall day.

hiking
26 days ago

Date: 9/22/18, 7:30am-1:30pm
Conditions: Sunny, clear, temps 40-65F
Parking:
Adequate dirt, roadside parking at trailhead. More parking available up the hill. Watch for bicyclists coming down when leaving.
Trail:
While rated as hard, overall the trail is fairly moderate. There is a steep section at the start and a long climb to the lake, but the majority of the trail is a series of short climbs, downhills and flats. The trail carves through a variety of terrain, remaining mostly well-shaded throughout. Following Gore Creek, there are some small waterfalls and water access points along the route. Once you hit the marked graves of the Recen brothers, take a minute to fuel up and shed layers as the climb to the lake begins. The best views, aside from the lake, come from the open meadows on this final climb. Gore Lake itself is a breathtaking large green body at the feet of Snow Peak, Willow Peak, and Red Peak. There is a trail around the entire lake if you have energy remaining. As others have noted, this looks to be a great place to spend a few nights camping. I'll be back!
PSA:
Upon reaching the lake, I noticed an illegal campfire left burning and was forced to throw the large, smoldering logs into the water to put it out. Please abide by fire bans and Wilderness regulations posted at the trailhead.

hiking
26 days ago

Dont be fooled this hike is HARD! However the views and scenery on this trail are just gorgeous! As many others here have already written this would be AMAZING as an over night.. possibly 2 nights if you can! There is just soo much beauty up there to bask in! If you are planning on trying this as a day hike then you need to start early! If you park on one trail head and come out at another there is an additional 2 miles of dirt road you will hike. The total mileage of the loop is 18-20 miles. As a day trip this took me a little over 10 hours.

hiking
26 days ago

We made it to Ouzel Creek - it was about 5 hours RT for us. Gradual incline, but the last mile was rough. That said, incredible vistas at every turn make for lots of little pay-offs before the finish. Recommend.

off road driving
1 month ago

This was our first trail on our visit to Ouray. The trail starts off pretty easy and gets rockier the father you go up. We got to the top portion where the sign states short wheel base, high clearance only past this point. We are driving a lifted Tacoma and a lifted 4 Runner, so we figured we would attempt it. We made it up a couple of the switch backs, but then decided to not push any further as it was raining and sleeting and traction was not great on the rocks. We turned around and headed back down. It was a beautiful trip, even if we didn't make it all the way to the top.

As good as it gets. Long. Pretty arduous. Well marked. Three hard climbs at least from the north. Fantastic view. Just go do it.

off road driving
1 month ago

Absolutely beautiful views and such a fun drive up the mountain. Saw some wildlife and experienced spectacular views. Would 100% do it again and maybe go camping.

hiking
1 month ago

Incredible hike!!!! A must do. Took my sister and I 5.5 hrs round trip (we're in our late twenties and fairly athletic/experienced hikers) and we clocked it at more like 13.75 miles to the lake and back! We hit the trail around 6:30am and had the lake to ourselves, although we saw quite a bit of traffic on our way down. Definitely have to come back and camp up there, it was absolutely stunning.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike. Nice mix of hiking terrain: some soft padded Forest floor in the forest, some rock scrambling, some open terrain with nice views.
Did not make it to the lake - hopefully another time

backpacking
1 month ago

Wonderful hike, but keep a close eye on the trail.

1 month ago

INCREDIBLE! So so beautiful, especially if you start early to get the sunrise and early morning light on the mountains on the way up. Also, you may get lucky like us and get the lake all to yourself! Lots of folks were coming up on our way down.

This hike wasn’t as strenuous as anticipated, BUT it’s long. It’s definitely not 11.3miles. It’s 14. It was steeper right at the beginning and the end, but not bad at all. Mostly moderate. It was 3hrs up and 2.5 down for us at a moderate pace. For reference we live in Boulder and hike frequently.

off road driving
1 month ago

Great 4wd drive. Great views. loved the waterfalls.

Beautiful! Completed as a longer solo day hike and found that it offered a great perspective on what are at this point familiar peaks. Only saw one other person on trail and found some great views and diverse landscapes!

This was unexpected for me. I set out for Ozuel but hiked on to Bluebird and boy was I glad I did. Those final 3miles are tough though. Whew. 16.4 total miles from Wild Basin to Ozuel then Bluebird. I got there at 6:30am and I got back to my car at 12:30pm. I don’t know if that’s good or not but my legs are sore. 8.25.18

P.S. I’m Will. Thanks to Amber for loaning me her app.

Not pretty, not hard. Won’t be back.

Fantastic Rocky Mountain hike . This is my first hike in this area ! I am impressed !
It was hard trail to the lake but well worth!

hiking
2 months ago

8/11/18 - Hiked this amazing trail. My Inreach Exploer tracked 14.0 miles. The trail is well marked until the last .25 miles or so. The last .25-ish mile is traversing up rocks. Very step is well worth it. Love it - lots to see along the way. Beautiful wild flowers, water falls and more. The lake is stunning. I will do this hike again for sure.

Probably one of our favorite hikes ever! Beautiful trail from start to finish! Hiked on August 9, 2018.

off road driving
2 months ago

Great views. Can be tricky with loose rock and off camber sections. Worth the time.

Great trail. Scenic and a good trail for your first one.

hiking
2 months ago

The first portion of the trail is a access road, so not very scenic, but once you hit the Clear Lake/Kelly Lake junction it is very stunning. The trail does not get too difficult until the last few miles so you can cruise the first portion pretty fast. The wildflowers and the mountains are really beautiful. *WARNING* they do run cattle through this area so don’t be surprised if you run into a cattle drive in progress. We ran into several groups of cows (including an active drive) on the access road so it did slow us down quite a bit. They easily move out of the way, just slow going as to not spook them. This trail is also heavily used by equestrian groups (as it is near the equestrian camp) so be prepared for groups on horseback. Over all a great trail.

backpacking
2 months ago

Great backpacking spot! There are some stellar views this segment. You definitely have to work for them, there are three parts that get very steep, and are anywhere from half a mile to a few miles. Hard, but worth it!

hiking
2 months ago

off road driving
2 months ago

Went early and avoided tourist traffic. Easy 2wd until the last ¼ and hen aired down and put in 4 hi most of the time. A few spots needed 4 low and we stayed in low most of the way down during the steep part. Great hiking and views at the top. Next time we are there we’ll try some of the basins to the south of the trail. Stock Sahara, 32 AT no lift.

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