3 Waterfalls in 3 Miles on Ouzel Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

If you like hiking to waterfalls, head to the quieter Wild Basin area of Rocky Mountain National Park for a chance to hike to three waterfalls in a relatively short distance.

Photo: Gloria Wadzinski

This easy 2.7-mile hike one-way passes by three named waterfalls and numerous smaller cascades and trickles. The Wild Basin Park Entrance Station of Rocky Mountain National Park is 12.5 miles south of Estes Park on Hwy. 7. Keep an eye out for a small sign because this remote entrance is easy to miss.

Enter RMNP at the Wild Basin Entrance

Wild Basin entrance station at Rocky Mountain National Park
Wild Basin Entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.Gloria Wadzinski
Wild Basin Map
Map showing Wild Basin entrance to the parkNPS

After entering the park, there is a short 2.2-mile drive on a one-lane dirt road past campsites and the Finch Lake Trailhead. The park recommends a 4wd vehicle, but we see compact cars use this road often with no problems. If you meet someone on the road, there are several pull-offs you can take to let them pass by. (Note: During the winter season, this road closes at the parking lot 1-mile prior to the Wild Basin Trailhead.)

When you reach the Wild Basin Trailhead, there is ample parking, a ranger station, and restrooms. Don’t worry if you skip the restrooms. There’s a rustic privy about halfway to Ouzel Falls on the trail.

The popular trail is shaded making for wonderful summer hikes, but the shade also means that this trail sometimes has snow into June. Bring your traction devices for your boots or wear snowshoes early in the season. Rent them in Estes Park for a few dollars. REI.com also has a good selection of traction devices for sale.

Copeland Falls – 0.3 miles

Copeland Upper and Lower Falls.
Copeland Upper and Lower Falls.Gloria Wadzinski

It’s just a short jaunt to this small waterfall along the North St. Vrain Creek. This is a perfect little stroll for those who have just arrived at high elevation or for parents traveling with small children. You can get up next to the shore, sit on the rocks, fish, or have a picnic. Explore the lower falls before heading up to the upper falls area.

Calypso Cascades – 1.8 miles

On the way to this meandering fall, you pass by the river with several smaller falls and rapids. There are some nice shady spots to sit and dunk your feet. There is also a spur trail that branches off to backcountry camping sites.

Small Bridge Before Calypso-Bridge Bridge No-Name Falls.
Small Bridge Before Calypso-Bridge Bridge No-Name Falls.Gloria Wadzinski

When you approach Calypso Cascades, you can’t see it because of the dense woods on either side. Your first hint of the cascade is a small bridge at 1.6 miles that hops over an un-named waterfall. Up ahead 0.2 miles is the larger Calypso Cascades bridge.¬†Once you step onboard the bridge, you get a prime viewing spot of the 200-foot tall cascades.

Calypso Cascades in Rocky Mountain National Park's Wild Basin
Calypso CascadesGloria Wadzinski

Ouzel Falls – 2.7 miles

This is a popular spot on a nice summer day, so you may have to wait your turn to sprawl out on large flat rocks and logs in front of Ouzel.

People enjoying Ouzel Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park
People enjoying Ouzel FallsGloria Wadzinski

Download an official Rocky Mountain National Park map for basic road and attraction locations. Want a detailed topographical map of trails in the park? Buy the National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map for Rocky Mountain National Park at REI.com. The map includes trails, trailheads, points of interest, campgrounds, lakes and much more. Or get the Trails Illustrated Rocky Mountain National Park Day Hikes map with 16 detail maps, trail mileages and difficulty ratings. Both maps are printed on waterproof, tear-resistant material.