With over 300 miles of hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park…the question is not should we go on a hike…the question is…which awesome hike are we going on today?
Fall Hikes are best when enjoyed with a good friend. Chrissy and I chose to hike to Ouzel Lake on a perfect fall day. The hike takes place in Rocky Mountain Nation Park and begins at Wild Basin Trail Head. The elevation gain is gradual starting at 8,500ft and cresting at 10,020ft. It is a 10.2 mile hike round trip and is considered to be strenuous. If one would like to enjoy the hike but shorten it a little…stopping at Ouzel Falls is a great option.
Like many of the hikes, the hike to Ouzel Lake is beautiful. The trail is forested and follows the creek a large percentage of the time. The running water is peaceful and relaxing. The creek offers multiple opportunities to stop and take photos. Since we were hiking in the fall the bright colors on the trees was electric. The vast shades of yellow on the Aspen Trees against the dark green of the Colorado Spurs Trees is striking. It is always surprising to me how magnificent our forests are.
As we hike we enjoy some long over due conversations and catch up with one another. It is comforting to have someone to hike with not only for company but also for safety. As much as I enjoy going for hikes…I really enjoy it best when I have someone to share it with. Hiking alone is not always the smartest thing to do.
Once we reach the Ouzel falls we stop to enjoy the beauty and just listen to the peaceful sound of the water hitting the rocks as it cascades down the mountain side. During the fall months the water is not running with the same volume as it does during the spring and early summer. Therefore, the falls are not as large as they could be but they are still beautiful and well worth the hike to see them.
After a few pictures we continue on up the trail…soon we reach our destination, Ouzel Lake. The lake is a sub alpine lake surrounded by a small growth pine forest. The water is perfectly clear and incredibly cold…I am not exaggerating…it is almost ice. There are wonderful views of the surrounding mountains, the water, and the vegetation. The colors of the grasses along the bank of the water is gorgeous. I think the point is to sit down and just take it all in…enjoy all the little things.
We did not bring our fly rods but Ouzel Lake is one of the top fly fishing lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park. The lake is known for the native Greenback Cutthroat Trout.
As we walk around the lake we pick a spot to sit on the rocks and enjoy our little hiking picnic lunch. We take sometime to relax, enjoy the perfect day, and breath in the fresh Rocky Mountain Air. Once we have recovered from the hike up we proceed to clean up our area…leaving nothing behind…and make our way back down the trail.
We are not the only ones out on the trail today, we passed multiple couples and families enjoying the day. Some of them were from the area while others were from multiple areas around the country. All really seemed to be enjoying the day and the beauty around them.
It is amazing to be able to take so many hikes so close to home. It is the perfect reminder to get out and do another hike again soon.
On a Personal Note:
At the end of the hike we decided to soak our feet in the creek, mostly because I wanted to feel the water…it is so cold! It is like sitting in an ice-bucket. After a rigorous hike soaking your feet and legs in cold water is actually quite therapeutic.