Ouzal Lake has to be one of the most beautiful rides and destinations in Rocky Mountain National Park. Alan and I rode this trail last summer, as it was one of the most accessible during the Covid shutdown.
One of the amazing things about this ride is that it isn’t just a destination to a beautiful lake. The trail follows the river and passes by several waterfalls. First, you pass Lower and Upper Copeland Falls, and then Calypso Cascades. You also encounter Ouzal Falls before getting to the lake.
You cross incredible bridges over loud, rushing water. Eventually, you come to a more “normal” mountain area as you get closer to the lake. The lake itself is like a postcard, as you can see from the feature photo. Watch the video below that is a composite of the trail, the bridges, and the beauty.
Our distance clocked out at 12.3 miles. The AllTrails description lists it as 10 miles, but the stock parking area is a mile from the hiking trailhead. According to my Garmin, we ascended 1829 feet. Our moving time was about 4:20 with another hour in stops. As is the case at other destinations, the horses can’t go all the way to Ouzal Lake. There is a hitching rack about a quarter-mile away from the lake. At least it was a relatively easy walk. I have discussed in the past how challenging it is to hike in cowboy boots!
Traffic is heavier to Ouzal Falls but thins out considerably after that. We encountered one hiker at the lake and met a few more coming back. We were extremely surprised at the low number of hikers we encountered coming back, given the popularity of this place. However, we soon realized that the Park Service had closed the access road to the trailhead to do road work. If you read the AllTrails reviews, folks were quite vocal about the horrible condition of the access road. The Park Rangers were opening an otherwise closed gate to allow people to leave. We passed road equipment as we completed the last mile between the hiking trailhead and the stock parking area.
The photos of the lake really don’t do it justice. Given all of the beautiful places we have ridden this summer, Ouzal Lake wins out as my Facebook cover photo! And the journey there is just as gorgeous. I suspect Alan and I will try and ride this trail once more before leaving for Arizona.
New tags should be ready to ship out by the last week of August. The new design is awesome and they weigh less than .6 ounces!