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My husband and I attempted this hike today, but the back half was too snow-packed. I’ll review what we did do:

The RMNP guard station was closed, but you are still able to drive through into the next parking lot, after that the road is closed, and it’s about a 1 mile walk on ice/packed snow to the trailhead (you pass the first set of trailheads and continue on to the large ranger station at Wild Basin trailhead, where you’ll see the sign for Bluebird Lake Trail, too. Note that you’ll follow the Ouzel trail past Ouzel Falls and Lake before you reach the actual Bluebird Lake Trail.

The walk from the parking lot to the trailhead is pretty miserable without YakTrax/MicroSpikes—we walked about halfway to the trailhead without, and I would consider YakTrax required! Once we started on the trail, it continued with hard-packed snow and ice at a relatively low incline for about 1.5 miles to the Falls, then after that there was an increasing amount of fresh powder accumulating, making it much more slow-going. Right at the halfway/3-mile Mark, the incline increased significantly, and there was about 1.5-2 feet of powder on top of the ice and snowpack. At this point, we continued on about 5 minutes before deciding to turn back. If you have snowshoes, you MIGHT be able to continue past this point, but it was actively snowing, covering our tracks and obscuring the trail. And it was really difficult to make any progress in the deep snow. If you try, make sure you plan for the trip to take twice as long, as it was very slow. Still beautiful and worth the trip to do the half that we were able, but don’t get stranded out there!

hiking
21 days ago

Great hike! We went last Friday and it was a beautiful day. The trail was icy and snow packed in some areas and even more so the closer we got to the lake.

This has quickly become one of our favorite hikes. The elevation gain is serious, but there are only a few spots that get challenging. The lake is peaceful, and we had it to ourselves today. It does get snowy and icy, so wear your spikes or bring your poles.

I hiked to Bluebird on Saturday. The last 2 miles were slow going because of snow. There was quite a bit of ice/snow pack on the trail to Ouzel Falls. Bluebird is already frozen over. If you have Microspikes throw them in your pack.
The road is closed to the back parking lot, it is about 1 mile to the trailhead from the winter gate.
Loved seeing the 3 male moose at the first lake!
I love the Bluebird Trail!!!

hiking
29 days ago

It was a gorgeous day to hike. I started early and there was no one on the trail all the way up to Diamond Lake. I did wear spikes the entire way due to ice and snow. I couldn't have hiked the last mile without them. My dog was with me and we had a blast. Yes, the road is awful to drive on but if you're a confident driver, you can make it. Please PULL OVER if someone is behind you and you're coasting down (or up) the road. It was a celebratory hike for my 61st birthday and the day couldn't have been nicer.

hiking
1 month 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

Third time hiking this trail (first during winter and the second during summer). Despite it being mid-October, there was still a lot of snow on the upper two-thirds of the trail, so definitely bring appropriate gear and be prepared to stay out all day; it's a very long trek. Mirror Lake was frozen over but there are some nearby streams to get fresh water, if needed. Also, the gate to access Monarch Lake trailhead was open, but I know they close it as it gets closer to winter so double-check this before heading out, as it can add an extra 2 miles (round trip) to the hike. Otherwise, beautiful hike - one of my favorites in Colorado.

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

hiking
1 month ago

Really gorgeous hike. The last mile up there is already a decent amount of snow and at the top, close to 6 inches. Definitely wear waterproof hiking boots.

hiking
1 month 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!

hiking
1 month ago

Nice, easy - moderate fall hike. Get there soon before the leaves fall. I would recommend a higher clearance vehicle for the last four miles to the trail head. I drive a Subaru Impreza and bottomed out more than once.

Great hike. We saw a black bear and several mule deer. 9/30/2018

Probably one of the best hikes I’ve done in CO. Like others have said, makes for a LONG day hike - still so worth it. Wish I had 2 or 3 nights to explore the surrounding Crater Lakes area.

There are 12 designated camping spots around crater lake. On a Saturday the place was packed with campers. The ranger must’ve given out at least a dozen citations. Even though permits are not required at this time of year, got to get up there early to claim a spot.

Will definitely be bringing the pack for next time!

Careful on the drive up! There's a good stretch of dirt road with lots of big rocks that can be difficult to drive over. We got to the trailhead around 8:30 in the morning and it wasn't very crowded at all. Absolutely gorgeous trail with a good incline. Weather was pleasantly cool and crisp until the way down when it got hot (and kind of crowded) in the afternoon. There was a really neat waterfall about 2/3 of the way to the lake, and the lake was stunning, but very windy. Beautiful hike. We took it super slow on the way down because I managed to hurt my leg. Hahah, we still had fun!

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

If you want to go to Crater Lake I would definitely suggest doing an overnight backpacking trip. Its too far for one day. I think its also longer than listed. I saw a lot of HUGE moose. Bring tons of water. Don’t do it alone like I did.

Solid trail and drive up. Little sketchy if you’re driving in a car but fun nonetheless. Beautiful waterfall along the trail and absolutely gorgeous destination at Diamond Lake.

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail! Weekend of Sept 23rd, fall colors were in full bloom on the drive there.

hiking
1 month 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.

hiking
1 month ago

tons of people, even more dogs. fall color coming to an end. trail was great. not easy but not hard. nice workout indeed...any vehicle can make it to the trailhead if you drive slow enough

Perfect weather for a hike. Absolutely loved the trail and the view.

We got there around 10.30 am and the parking was bit tight. (I'd recommend either early morning or later when people start leaving). The dirt road leading to the trail head was bit off-roady (recommend a high clearance vehicle)

Trail traffic was not bad at all and trail was mostly shaded. We were not used to the high altitude, so had to take small rests frequently on the way. It took us a little more than 4 hours totally (including half an hour break at the lake for a snack). We logged about 6 miles totally!!!

hiking
1 month ago

Great day hike, it took me about an hour and half in and an hour back, walking at a casual pace.

I got there at 10am on a Saturday and there were still a few parking spots...and plenty of spots open in the afternoon if you're ok with waiting for an afternoon hike.

Definitely some people but not overly crowded at all, there were several moments along the trail when we were alone without anyone in sight ahead or behind us.

Bear on trail today. We did this route to South Boulder Peak and up to Bear Peak. The distance is reported a little short on the app. Expect 3,500+ ft elevation gain and a 10 Mile in and out hike if you want to bag both peaks at the T in the trail.

Have Fun

hiking
2 months ago

Incredible views at the lake! We logged 7.75 miles round trip with a short walk by the lake and parking close to the trail head.

Such a beautiful and fun hike! So many water features on the way up and beautiful foliage. Love every mile!

hiking
2 months ago

Fall colors, incredible, next week they will be popping even more than they were on this hike.
beautiful Lake on top wasn't too busy on a Friday.

If your vehicle does well off road, you'll probably still be able to get a spot up top right by the trail head. Lots of panic parking on the road up there, so don't give up hope if you see cars everywhere. The trail was busy this weekend, but the weather was amazing.

on Diamond Lake Trail

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail. Wonderful views of 13teeners, massive amounts of wildflowers (in spring and summer), fantastic waterfalls, water-crossings and streams all along the way. We saw a moose - bull (great rack!), a female and her baby). The waterfall from Diamond Lake can be heard and seen (most of the time) tumbling down the opposite ridge along the first half of the trail. We hiked with out 10 and 7 year old all the way to the lake - upper end of moderate rating due to altitude and elevation gain would be more of an appropriate rating for this trail. Very enjoyable. LOTS of people with limited parking. I would go again on a weekday NOT a weekend. The road in is fun to drive if you have a vehicle with clearance. You are driving on dirt road for about 7 miles after you go through the town of Eldora. The dirt road into the main parking has some serious ditches and obstacles. I would suggest parking off the side of the road if you don't feel like four-wheeling.

hiking
2 months ago

Labor Day weekend and showed up to the TH @ 9am and was still able to get a spot to park. Road to the TH is rough so keep that in mind. Hiked to Diamond Lake with my 9yr old son and logged 6.1mi total. The trail had a lot of little creeks and one of the most picturesque waterfalls I have seen here in CO. I thought the hike was relatively easy with plenty of mild portions to counter any ascents. Diamond lake is a beautiful lake and loaded with trout. We fly fished for about 90 minutes and caught feisty brookies left and right. The lake also has rainbows and cutties but we didnt catch any. Plenty of room at the lake to enjoy some lunch or peace and quiet. We will definitely be back to hike the upper lakes as well.

Wonderful trail :) Hiked here this morning (Monday). Got to the trail head a bit before 8 am, wandered around the lake for about 20 min then headed back down. Finished in about 2.5 hrs. Because it’s a weekday and I got to the TH relatively early, I had the entire trail to myself on the way up. Passed a dozen or so people heading up on my way back down. The forest is lovely and green right now and the lake is spectacular. Perfect day hike for most levels. Indian peaks wilderness, and especially the Fourth of July TH can be very busy on summer weekends. Try to avoid weekend hiking here if you’re looking for wilderness solitude.

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