Bluebird – Ouzel Lakes

Trail Length: 15.38 miles (roundtrip)
Trailhead Elevation: 8,549’
High Point:  11,029’
Elevation Gain: +2,480’ (Total Elevation Gain: 2,776’)
Difficulty: Strenuous
Trailhead Location: From Boulder, take Highway 36 north 14 miles to the town of Lyons. Remain on 36 to the Highway 7 intersection. Turn left onto Highway 7 towards Allenspark. Remain on Highway 7 and look for the Wild Basin Trailhead entrance on the left (approximately 37 miles from Boulder). Turn left on the dirt road to the entrance station .15 miles ahead. The Wild Basin Trailhead is located 2.3 miles from the entrance station.

Several weeks ago a co-worker told me her and her husband had hiked up to Bluebird Lake and showed me a few pictures. It’s a beautiful lake surrounded by a cirque of peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park. I had last hiked up to this lake 31 years ago so thought it was probably time to hike it again. I initially didn’t know if I wanted to make the more than 12.5 hike so set my sights on Ouzel Lake which leaves from the same trailhead. Ouzel Lake is a 10-mile roundtrip hike by itself. Once I started the hike, I realized I might as well make my destination Bluebird Lake – what’s another 2-3 miles, right? In the end, I hiked to both lakes, making my total distance over 15 miles. It was quite a workout but I was glad I made it to both lakes. The weather was perfect to enjoy the day in the mountains.

I set my early Sunday morning alarm and headed out from home around 6:00am, arriving at the trailhead around 7:30am. My first destination would be Copeland Falls only 0.3 miles down the trail.

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I soon arrived at lower Copeland Falls.

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And, just up the trail was upper Copeland Falls.

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I continued up the trail towards Calypso Cascades, my next destination at 1.8 miles from the trailhead.IMG_8370

Continuing up the trail, I arrived at Ouzel Falls at 2.7 miles from the trailhead.

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As I climbed, the views opened up.

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At 2.95 miles I came to the trail split for Thunder Lake. I continued to the left for Ouzel Lake and Bluebird Lake.

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After a short climb, I was on top of a ridge between the Ouzel Creek Drainage to the left (south) and the North St. Vrain Creek Drainage to the right (north).

Ouzel Creek Drainage with Ouzel Peak (12,716′) to the left and Mount Copeland (13,176’) to the right.

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North St. Vrain Creek Drainage with Mount Alice (13,310’) to the right and Pilot Mountain (12,222’) to the left.

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A view of Ouzel Peak (12,716’) looking up the Ouzel Creek Drainage.

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At the Ouzel Lake spur, I decided to continue on up to Bluebird Lake and take the spur to Ouzel Lake on the way back.

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I came across some wild raspberries along the trail. They were small but I did pick a few to eat. They tasted good!

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Wildflowers along the trail.

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The climb continued up towards Bluebird Lake. A couple of hikers on the trail ahead of me.

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The final pitch up a snowfield to Bluebird Lake.

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My arrival at Bluebird Lake (10,978’).

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Signature shot of my hiking boots at the lake.

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Enjoying my lunch at the lake.

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A close-up of Ouzel Peak.

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I did a little exploring around the lake and found this one group of columbines along the shore.

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After relaxing, eating my lunch, and taking in the views, I headed back down the trail.

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More wildflowers.

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Looking back up towards Bluebird Lake.

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A view north towards Longs Peak (14,259’).

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A small pond in the direction of Ouzel Lake.

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I came back down to the spur for Ouzel Lake and headed up the 0.5 miles to the lake.

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After a brief stop at Ouzel Lake, it was back on the trail for the 5 miles back to the trailhead. I continued on down with great weather arriving tired but satisfied that I had made the hike to both lakes.

My route for the day.

Bluebird Lake Map

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