There are only two backcountry campsites (permits required) on the entire 6.4-mile hike up to Bluebird Lake. Located in the Wild Basin area of Rocky Mountain National Park, the Upper Ouzel Creek Campsite is the second and closest to the lake. When Jennifer and I checked in at the RMNP backcountry desk, the ranger informed us that our lone spot at Upper Ouzel Creek was the most secluded campsite in the entire park. It is almost 2.5-miles of rugged hiking trail to the nearest neighbor at the Ouzel Lake Campsite. I hadn’t thought much of the separation when I reserved the site. We are used to being in the backcountry, but as we passed by the Ouzel Lake site and continued to climb steeply into the wilderness I must admit I had a bit of trepidation about our remoteness for the night.
Remote and a Must-do
Any fears I had about this camping spot melted away the second we arrived at the Upper Ouzel Creek campsite. While it may be the most remote campsite in all of RMNP it is perhaps the most gorgeous as well. If you can get this spot and are comfortable being this far away from every other person on the planet then I highly recommend it.
Upper Ouzel’s Beauty
The Upper Ouzel Creek campsite sits on a bluff overlooking the slotted valley below complete with views of massive cascades of water flowing down the wall on the opposite side of the valley. There are several sources of water streaming into the valley from the campsite’s side as well. The prettiest of which flows from Bluebird Lake located above. The stream passes through a thick snowpack and then flows through the valley just below the campsite.
Residents of Upper Ouzel
If you are worried about not having any neighbors nearby rest assured that this spot comes supplied with plenty in the form of yellow-bellied marmots, chipmunks, and birds. When we first arrived there was a marmot two feet from the tent pad. He visited us several times throughout our stay. He was constantly checking in to see if we had left. I believe that he and his extended family preferred their solitude.
Although the stay at the Upper Ouzel Creek Campsite is a destination in itself it isn’t the terminus for this trail. Bluebird Lake (10,978′) is the final destination and it is worth the effort. It is a deep alpine lake that sits in a bowl right at the base of jagged Rocky Mountain Peaks. If you feel like overnighting is too much, I would still highly recommend Bluebird Lake as a long day hike.
Camping at Upper Ouzel Creek
We only had one night in the amazing Upper Ouzel Creek Campsite. Next time I will plan for at least two nights. It is so peaceful, quiet, and much of the area around Bluebird Lake and beyond can be explored using Upper Ouzel Creek Campsite as a base camp.
If you end up getting this campsite, let us know! We’d love to hear about your experience and also know if our marmot friends are still around.
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