Wild Basin Waterfalls: Rocky Mountain National Park
During the month of May, we set out to explore the Copeland Falls and Calypso Cascades areas of the Wild Basin in Colorado. The waterfalls were gorgeous. The wildlife was amazing. The hike was superb. We can't wait to go back!
The Wild Basin Area is located in the Rocky Mountain National Park, about 16 miles south and slightly west of Estes Park. The dirt road leading to the trailhead is a couple of miles long and can become quite narrow in some places. There are facilities at the trailhead, including a restroom and a ranger station, and we found there to be plenty of available parking. We were greeted by a ranger at the entrance to the trail, and he provided us with some useful information about the condition of the trail.
We have learned that the weather in the mountains can change very quickly, so we were sure to prepare appropriately: trekking poles, rain jackets, emergency kits, water, snacks, etc. We experienced sleet, snow, and sunshine during our hike. Parts of the trail were still covered in snow, and the higher we climbed, the more snow we encountered. Our trekking poles made this hike much more enjoyable, and we would recommend the use of poles to anyone else heading out to Wild Basin.
We shared the trail with a fair number of people as we headed to the first waterfall. The walk to Copeland Falls was less than half a mile from the trailhead, and there was very little grade change along the route. The trail was very well-marked and maintained. We were able to (very carefully) make our way out onto a large boulder to snag this beautiful shot of the falls. It's one of our favorites from the trip!
Copeland Falls. Copyright hiking mojo.
From there, we continued on towards Calypso Cascades. This part of the hike was more challenging, as there was more snow covering the trail in places and more grade changes to navigate. We encountered fewer people along this part of the trail which made the hike very enjoyable, as we prefer more seclusion when we hike. The area was very wooded and followed the winding river along the way.
One of our favorite moments of the hike was our encounter with a baby moose and his mother. We were able to observe the baby grazing from a respectable distance, just on the other side of a tree row. It's quite an experience to share your space with larger wild animals, especially when it's something you don't get to see very often. We also encountered lots of chipmunks and birds throughout our hike.
Baby moose. Copyright hiking mojo.
We continued to make the climb up to Calypso Cascades, remaining mindful along the way of the deepening snowfall along the trail. The landscape in this region is stunning, and the view of the falls is breathtaking. We stood at the falls and closed our eyes for a moment to listen to the sound of the water rushing down through the fallen trees and across the boulders. We remained until the sleet returned, and then we decided to head back down to the trailhead.
Calypso Cascades. Copyright hiking mojo.
Though our journey was somewhat limited due to the snow and weather, we thoroughly enjoyed our hike and cannot wait to return and further explore the area.
For more information about visiting the falls and the Wild Basin area for hiking, click here!
Browse our Gallery to view our finest moments from our Wild Basin adventure!