On the recommendation of our friends Wendi and Paul, we went hiking this past weekend to a well-traveled part of Rocky Mountain National Park called Wild Basin Area. Our goal was Ouzel Falls, a 2.7 mile hike one-way. It ended up being about a 45 minute drive from our house, South of Estes Park on Highway 7. It seems to be fairly popular as the parking lot was already full at 10 AM.
When we entered the park and drove along the one lane gravel road, the rangers were talking via walkie-talkie to direct cars to a parking area about 3/4 of a mild from the trailhead. They radioed to the main lot to ask if there was anywhere to fit a Mini Cooper and we heard them say, “We can fit a Mini, but NOTHING bigger than that!” It was like we won the parking (lot)tery, and we drove up to the main lot.
The trail was fairly easy, which is good for us as we have not been out hiking much this season. There were lots of families with kids that we saw along the way and at the falls. As you go, the trail roughly follows along the river. The sound becomes more faint as the trail weaves away from it and would sometimes become a thunderous roar when it was close. It is one of those nature sounds that is so constant and reassuring. The river was flowing so fast and heavy with all the run off we have had this spring. It was impressive.
One day last week, I took a picture of a little toy Mini in the weeds by my house, and ever since then I have been getting such a kick out of taking pictures of this mini Mini in different places. I had to bring this little guy out here to get some more pictures.
Once you get to the falls, you can’t go any further on this particular trail after the bridge was washed out with last year’s flooding. You can hike much farther on to other lakes in the trail system, but have to take a different trail earlier on.
We took another suggestion from Paul and Wendi and braved the snow and the muck to hike to the top of the falls, where the view was absolutely stunning. You have a great view of Mt. Meeker and Long’s Peak. We snacked on PB&J sandwiches, fresh cherries and pistachios before heading back.