Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great hike. We completed this on 5/6/18. The current conditions are AMAZING! No ice. Spikes and snowshoes are NOT needed. There was a teeny bit of snow towards the top of the last climb, but nothing that required traction or poles. There were a few sporadic wildflowers and I think this hike will really come to life in the next week or 2!

hiking
14 days ago

At trail at 7:00 AM. Clear trail until first bridge then spikes definitely recommended. Hard pack on way up, slush and snow coming down. After crossing the bridge at Ouzel falls, snowshoes highly recommended. 4" new snow and it is heavy and wet. Easy to follow trail all the way to the lake. Always a good hike no matter the weather.

I did this hike with a larger group of five people ... it was an awesome experience. Completed over two days, we began at Bear Lake and camped one night at Andrew's Creek. As with the Odessa Lake Via Fern Lake Trail the mosquitos were a big issue, be prepared for them if you're there during spawning season, they're hungry. Despite the rangers blasé attitude that they wouldn't be an issue, they were; a mosquito net and bug spray are light and easy to carry, just do it whether you think you'll need them or not..

Starting very early the next morning we ascended Andrew's Glacier to summit Mount Otis. Be sure to have micro-spikes and an ice axe, honestly crampons would be ideal as this is a steep hill to climb, very challenging. At one point I was having to stop often to catch my breath. The slide down is a lot of fun though.

From Andrew's Creek to Mount Otis is about 2K in elevation gain, after completing Andrew's Glacier you'll need to do some bouldering to summit. This isn't a cake walk so come prepared!

hiking
19 days ago

Hiked on Saturday 4/28. Road to wild basin trail head was not open yet so we had to park a little further down. Restrooms at trail head. Trail was mostly snow free until about 9000 ft but significant accumulations at higher elevations, especially past Ouzel falls and closer to 10000 ft near the lake, so expect to post hole. Micro spikes/crampons/snowshoes/hiking poles not necessary but recommended. Decent amount of water in the falls. Nice view of Longs and other 12ers/13ers in the area.

snowshoeing
1 month ago

Great day! Several very steep sections, plenty of flat in between. Put snowshoes on at about 2 miles. Trail was easy to follow even with fresh snow on the ground. Didn’t make it all the way to the lake due to time but will be back soon to finish for sure!

Backside has kneedeep snow the entire way, definitely need snowshoes right now! Go towards Gem Lake if you are doing the entire loop, or you'll have a bad time.

This trail offers some great areas of the park. Some cool hiking above the tree line and we seen a ton of wild life. The trail is nice and easy to follow new scenery every day Great Hike!

snowshoeing
4 months ago

The first 1.5 miles, dry ground and some snow and hard pack. Next mile, hard-pack and ice and spikes worthwhile. Last stretch 2 mile stretch to the lake deeper snow and can get away with spikes but better done with snowshoes. Trail is used so easy to follow. Once at the lake, no snow on the ice and gorgeous view of Meeker and Longs Peak. Not the most scenic on the hike as you are in the trees a lot but when you get the the lake, it is all worth it.

hiking
4 months ago

Plan to park in a lower lot and add an extra two miles (one in, and one back) to your hike to the trail head due to winter road closure. A fair amount of people on the trail though Ouzel falls (fairly icy and dormant so far as I observed). Traction devices would help to Ouzel Falls. Beyond that, I wished I had brought my snow shoes by the Ouzel Lake / Thunder Lake split. The trail to Thunder Lake bettertraveled, but I broke trail up to Ouzel Lake. Good for the lungs. Happy New Year! Bonus: Zero cell reception.

hiking
4 months ago

beautiful hike. great waterfalls, river crossings, and the lake, all iced over. went up to ouzel lake on december 20th. packed snow and dirt-covered ice much of the way, a few spots of slick ice you could work around. towards the top, the snow got a bit deep, but it wasn't wet. altogether, you could get by without microspikes if you really wanted to, but they make the trip so much more enjoyable.

where the trail splits to go to Andrews glacier is it covered in snow. snowshoes are required at this point. I hiked maybe 1/4 mile in microspikes but the postholing was just too often so I had to abort and turn around.

hiking
5 months ago

A nice hike in RMNP. Early December, 2017. Temp: upper 30s/ low 40s, clear day, lots of wind. Trail conditions: First third was clear and dry, last two-thirds was packed snow and some ice. Traction was helpful, but maybe not necessary.

The view is fricking amazing. But the trail is poorly maintained. The roads were cut off, trail is not properly labeled. I almost got lost with all the misdirection. The elevation is the hardest part.

hiking
6 months ago

Mostly dry trail conditions with only a few patches of ice in the early morning made this gradual incline hike quite easy. The furthest trailhead is still open for parking. The lake is starting to ice over. Add on a side trip to Bluebird Lake if you have some extra time.

It’s quite pleasant in certain spans but definitely challenging. Think I spent 2.3 miles going up hill only near the 7 mile mark of the loop. Came to a sign to continue west and chose to continue the loop and the next 3.8 miles was down hill and cut through private property, which a sign states and to stay on the trail. Great views especially if you head to Gem lake trail first. On the way you can sit out on a boulder overhang and take in the valleys of Estes Park. Great view. Gem lake was beautiful it’s just too bad some idiot decided to throw his sprite bottle on the lake ice.

hiking
6 months ago

Just a few stretches of snow on the trail, of which the longest was probably 10 yards. Windy up top but otherwise great fall hike.

This isn't an easy one but well worth the effort.

Windy at the lake, beautiful snowy peaks, trail had icy spots the last mile or so, lots of up but I think the first mile or two were the worst

furthest lot was still open yesterday. pretty empty past ouzel falls. snow add ice on the trail were minimal. great views of longs, meeker and other peaks after ouzel falls. great pine forest and smaller water falls up to that point. lake itself is partly frozen at this point

Very good trail, but somewhat overdone with improvements.

Amazing trail, really beautiful and scenic. Just wanted to note that All Trails rates this as moderate. This is definitely hard/strenuous. We did go the opposite direction as All Trails has listed and ran into a ranger who told us that we were hiking the "harder" direction...but I can't imagine the other way being much easier. No permits made it much nicer to plan than backpacking in RMNP.

Big payoff for little effort. Tundra hiking, rocky but little elevation gain. Spectacular views. Took the advise of other reviewers and stopped as it began to descend. Steady 30 mph winds with gusts to 50. Took about 2.5 hrs stoping often for pictures.

hiking
8 months ago

09/17/17 - Started at 11:30am a bit late, but still able to parki. The hike is beautiful this time of year. Golden and peach-ish colored Aspens align the trail on/off. The entire hike is lovely, with a mix of mountains views, foilage, and ya know beautiful Mother Nature. We got to the lake at 1:30pm. The lake is quiet unique with sand surrounding the lake. Nice mountains top views. Be sure to walk around the lake to see all the different moutain views. I will definitely do this hike again during foilage time. Awesomeness

After 51/2 hours of hiking from the trailhead (we did stop for pics a video several times) my wife and I made it to the edge of the lake, extremely peaceful and no "humans" nearby at all, just nature! Never thought lakes existed that high. I'm glad my wife and I pushed each other to make it there once we passed Lone Pine Lake. Treacherous trails around the edge of the rocks, but then the trail got better to the lake, very challenging but rewarding! Unfortunately a cold rain poured on us and had to head back to the trailhead head. Saw two cow moose and their calfs on our way back as the sun was setting. Total of 9 1/2 hours round trip. The last half hour of our hiking we finished it in the dark. Loved the entire adventure. Take lots of water and snacks and the proper attire and shoes if planning a round trip.

Follow the cairns! The glacier is not visible until you reach the top but it's amazing!

It is so beautiful trail, we spend 3 days on it.

hiking
8 months ago

The best part of this hike are the falls in the first 2-3 miles. There are better high-altitude, alpine lakes to hike in RMNP. But the falls are spectacular and worth while by themselves. Save the last 3 miles of the hike for other alpine lakes.

hiking
8 months ago

We started at 8 am on a Thursday and had ample parking. The trail was a bit more of a challenge. I disagree with the moderate rating; it was much harder than Gem Lake which is rated as difficult. Not only is the last stretch quite strenuous but the trail rarely levels out the entire time, just up up up! Some people have mentioned a lack of views but personally I enjoyed so much of the trail being in the woods, because doing all that uphill without any shade would be much harder. With frequent stops it took us about 3.5 hours to get to the top. We spent an hour at the lake which was wonderful - peaceful, nice views, and very cold water to refresh the feet. Coming down was nearly as hard as going up due to the rocky nature of the trail and took us just under 2 hours. I would recommend hiking poles for this one; I tend to eschew bringing mine but they would have been very helpful here.

This end destination is gorgeous but keep in mind the trail rating in this site is deceiving. I would rate it in the hard or strenuous category. It's all uphill...and the last mile is a chore and a half. I agree with others that being in the woods is great but there is really no scenery or vistas. Parking? Get there super early or like us park on the side of the county road.

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