hiking
1 day ago

GORGEOUS! One of our top 10 favorite hikes that we've ever done! Amazingly beautiful trail and offers a little bit of everything: cascades, waterfalls, wildflowers, neat dead trees, views, wildlife, and lake! We hiked this trail on Saturday, July 14. We made it to the parking lot by 6:15am and it was full by about 7:30am that day although that didn't keep the crowds away. Many folks parked down the road and added a few miles to their hike. This hike is actually a total of 12.8 miles according to the national park sign. The trail starts as an easy one. There are neat rapids and waterfalls towards the beginning. You will encounter LOTS of people up to Ouzel Falls but after that, you won't see as many. There is a rustic "privy" pit toilet just beyond Calypso Cascades a few miles up. The privy has no door but some slatted wood panels on 3 sides. Above Ouzel Falls, there is more of an incline, then a more open area (from the 1978 fire) with lots of new growth trees and neat lightning struck trees. Then you'll go through an established forest and back into a more open area from the fire. You'll encounter this type of topography a few times before reaching a steeper section. After the split-off to Ouzel Lake, there are a variety of wildflowers and lots of raspberry bushes. There are more and more flowers the farther you go. The last half mile to the lake is the steepest and includes a steep, short rock section and large snowfield on an incline; both are definitely doable as you take your time. After some rain the day before, the mosquitoes were especially bad and relentless beginning around the split-off to Ouzel Lake to Bluebird Lake and definitely the worst at Bluebird Lake where there were the most mosquitoes we've encountered in Colorado. We had lots of chipmunk and marmot sightings and only saw a half dozen people at Bluebird Lake, definitely a much different wilderness experience than at the beginning of the trail. Solitude and amazing scenery at the lake.