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823 East Inlet Trail
Rocky Mountain
National Park

Lone Pine Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

Lone Pine Lake

Friday, we moved to the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park. We had planned to hike Timber Lake Trail and Green Mountain Loop Trail, but the wildfire had us scurrying for new plans.

We have not done a lot of hiking on the west side of the Park, but this summer we were hoping to explore the area for several days. After researching a few of the nearby options, we drove to two trailheads. We decided the larger trailhead meant the trail was more popular. Our decision was the East Inlet Trail.

Looking at the maps, we decided to hike to Lone Pine Lake and if we felt good, to extend our hike to Lake Verna or even Spirit Lake. It was 6.9 miles to Lake Verna. We left the trailhead at 0845.

Adams Falls was a wonderful waterfall located .30 mile from the trailhead. The falls cascade down several layers as the water twists and turns through a narrow slot. It was not surprising at all that the falls were supposed to be very popular.

Snaky creek above Adams Falls

After the spectacular falls, what else was on the trail? Had we seen the best feature of the trail in the first .30 mile, and if so, why should we continue to hike rest of the 6.6 mile one way to Lake Verna? Well, we soon found the East Inlet Trail was one of our favorite trails in the Park.

A few trail notes on why we liked the East Inlet Trail ...

The 'east inlet' is the water inlet on the east side of Grand Lake, which is on the west side of the Park. The name seems a bit confusing.

Adams Falls was impressive but there were many other falls and cascades along the trail.

We hiked the trail in June and the creeks and lakes were filled.

There were good views of Mount Craig, Isolation Peak, and Boulder-Grand Pass - from several locations along the trail.

There were also good views back to Grand Lake from high in the mountains.

The trail was rated as difficult in a Park Service handout. We did not disagree, but it was the overall mileage that made the hike difficult not the grade of the trail. There were a few steeper climbs on the trail, but nothing was sustained.

a photo from one bridge to another below

The trail was originally constructed by the CCC and the Park's trail crews had also recently completed trail work on some of the steeper sections.

The layout of the trail was great. It weaved through boulders, around trees, up steep ledges, and to various points of interest.

Lone Pine Lake (about 5.5 miles from the trailhead) was a great alpine lake. It sat at the foot of Mount Craig.

Looking at the divide from Lake Verna

Lake Verna

From the shores of Lake Verna were spectacular views of the Continental Divide.

All of the backcountry sites looked like interesting camps. The Gray Jay, group site, looked especially nice. We would join a group just to camp there!

There were very few other hikers on the trail.

The East Inlet Trail is a worthy destination or even the cornerstone of a trip to the Rockies.

Happy East Inlet trails


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