Portered Ouzel Lake
- Fantastic family trip for kids!
- Hiking/camping with light backpacks
- Wonderful high country day hikes
- Waterfalls, rivers, meadows & lakes
- Great fishing if interested
- Rejuvenating solitude in Rocky Mountain
Our Portered Ouzel Lake trip is a fantastic family option (for people with kids) and for people who want an amazing backcountry experience of the Colorado Rockies on a less demanding trip. Porters hike in with all of our gear and set up camp, so when we arrive we are all set! We spend 2-3 nights in this camp, day hiking each day to explore Rocky Mountain National Park's amazing Wild Basin. On the final day the porters hike in again, break down camp and transport our gear back to the trailhead.
The highlights of this trip are camping near the shores of stunning Ouzel Lake; enjoying breathtaking views of the alpine peaks and ridges of the Continental Divide; hiking to one or two additional alpine lakes that sit right at treeline; opportunities to see wildlife; multiple waterfalls; our award-winning customer service and backcountry cuisine!
Trip Dates & Booking
You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.
We can often customize dates for groups at no extra cost!
- Shuttle to trailhead: 30 minutes
- Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
- Elevation Gain: 1,500 feet
This Rocky Mountain National Park hiking trip begins at a relatively remote, but popular, trailhead. Our porters will get started ahead of us and have our camp set up by the time we arrive. Our hike takes us along a beautiful mountain creek, past a stunning cascade, and through pine forests to the shores of stunning Ouzel Lake. We'll get settled into our camp, which is not far from the water, and the lake itself boasts outstanding views of the alpine ridges and peaks of the Continental Divide. We can spend the afternoon swimming, exploring, fishing, or simply relaxing in camp. We'll cap the day off with a blazing campfire and hearty backcountry dinner.
- Hiking Mileage: 4 miles day hiking
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,000 feet
We'll start today with a delicious Rocky Mountain breakfast on the shores of Ouzel Lake. Afterward we'll load up our day packs and set off on a hike to a higher, even more breathtaking mountain lake - Bluebird Lake. Our hike takes us first back down the valley we hiked up yesterday before we split off on a separate trail and begin an ascent of approximately 1,000 feet. Bluebird Lake is a stunning alpine lake that sits just under 11,000 feet with high mountain peaks standing guard above. We'll relax and have a picnic lunch on the shores, and afterward hike higher into the alpine terrain above the lake or return to camp for another hearty dinner.
- Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
- Elevation Loss/Gain: 800 feet
If you're doing the 4-day version of this trip, we'll make the most of Day 3 by heading to another amazing Rocky Mountain National Park lake - Thunder Lake. Thunder Lake sits below several soaring peaks and a pass on the Continental Divide. We'll sit along the grassy shores keepin an eye out for rainbow trout, enjoy a picnic lunch, and explore around the lake. Finally we'll head back to camp at Ouzel Lake, which is all downhill. We'll enjoy one more celebratory campfire and backcountry feast before turning in for a good night's sleep.
- Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
- Elevation Loss: 1,500 feet
- Shuttle to Estes Park: 30 minutes
After a relaxing morning and a big breakfast we'll begin our hike back to the trailhead. We'll hike a slightly different trail on the way back that takes us along Ouzel Creek, past Ouzel Falls and Calypso Cascades, both Rocky Mountain water features well worth seeing. Ouzel Falls is a sheer waterfall about 50 feet high, and Calypso Cascades is a beautiful stretch of tumbling water in a thick Lodgepole Pine forest. Our arrival at Wild Basin Trailhead marks the end of our hiking trip; after a short shuttle ride back to Estes Park we'll drop you off at your hotel where warm showers await you!
Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes.
- Porters to transport gear in and out, and to set up and break down camp
- Top-of-the-line tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and backpack
- Use of trekking poles
- All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
- A professional, knowledgeable, certified Rocky Mountain hiking guide
- Entrance fees and national park permits
- Transportation for the duration of the trip beginning and ending in Estes Park, CO
- Bear cannisters for food storage
- Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
- You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!
- Clothes, raingear and footwear
- Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
- Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
- Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)
All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.
For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.
We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.
We provide all group gear which includes the following:
- Deuter or Osprey backpacks
- Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
- Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware sleeping bags
- Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
- Leki or Black Diamond trekking poles
- Cooking stoves and cookware
- Bear cannisters
- Company-issued first-aid kit
- Satellite phone
We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter water bottles per person and either a headlamp or flashlight per person. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.
Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, and non-cotton and cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.
NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you're interested in.
Ready to hike? In the Dates section of this trip page, the green dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you're ready to register we'll email you a link to a registration profile. You'll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit ($500).
Feel free to call us for more info - we're here 7 days a week!
You will meet your guide and group in Estes Park, Colorado at the Estes Park Mountain Shop (2050 Big Thompson Ave) at 5:00 PM the evening before your trip begins for an orientation meeting. Your guide will be in contact approximately 2 weeks before your trip to answer any questions you have, provide you with more details about your exact trip, and coordinate the rendezvous.
Check out our Travel Resources page for information on flights, shuttles, lodging and more.
Your guide will inform you of the first day's pick-up time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 5 and 8 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will drop you off at your hotel on the final day normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time).
Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT's, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We've developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and most tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.
Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.
Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time...etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides' off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.
The maximum group size on portered trips is 6 guests, 3 porters and 1 guide. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) and we'll answer all your questions.
Age restrictions are as follows:
- 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
- 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis
Being a high mountain environment, the Rocky Mountains are prone to sudden temperature and weather shifts. This is an exciting aspect of being in Colorado's high country. On trips in June, snow is a slight possibility, and the rest of the summer rain is always a possibility on your trip. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely (this list comes as part of your trip packet when you register). See below for average summer temperatures:
|Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)|
High / Low
Camping on Backpacking Trips
Sleeping on backpacking trips is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.
Fresh & Delicious
Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your guide. We never use dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well in the wilderness.
In the Action
Of course campsites vary tremendously by destination, trip and even by the individual day of a trip. However, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your backpacking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.