Backpack to Lake Verna

Details

Distance

14 miles

Elevation Gain

2500 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Added by Ian Glass

Relaxing backpack get-a-away on the quiet side of Rocky Mountain National Park with amazing views, potential moose, and high alpine lakes.

Want to get away it from it all and enjoy some high alpine lakes?

The East Inlet Trail is just outside Grand Lake, on the westside of Rocky Mountain National Park, 2.35 miles east of Highway 34 on West Portal Road. From the trailhead, one can access 8 different campsites. The campsites are as follows:
1) Lower East Inlet backcountry campsite (2.35 miles)
2) Cats Lair backcountry campsite (3.8 miles)
3) Gray Jay Group campsite (5.05 miles)
4) Lone Pine Lake (5.4 miles)
5) Slick Rock backcountry campsite (5.7 miles)
6) Solitaire backcountry campsite (6.0 miles)
7) Upper Inlet backcountry campsite (6.6 miles)
8) Lake Verna backcountry campsite (7 miles)

The East Inlet trail offers tranquil sections through pine forests, beautiful wetlands that are home to a myriad of animals including moose, and a number of small alpine lakes that lead up to Verna. One should be encouraged to hike to Lake Verna for the weekend and enjoy life along the lakeside. It is an amazing place to chill out, use as a basecamp for additional day-hikes, photography, or fishing (*with a valid Colorado fishing license).

The East Inlet Trail is a well established trail that has clear signage and clearly denotes all campsites. Camp safely away from dead trees, as close as possible to the metal arrowhead posted at each site. Red flags on trees provide additional guidance to each campsite from the main trail. It should also be noted that fires are not permitted. One should only use gas stoves.

Phone reservations (970-586-1242) are accepted from March 1 - May 15, and anytime after October 1 for a permit in that calendar year.

Read More
Download GPX File

Known for

Chillin
Camping
Fishing
Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Forest
Lake
River
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Nearby

Reviews

Leave a Review

Long and Skinny

East Inlet has the best access! Verna is very long and offers plenty of space for a lakeside lunch

almost 3 years ago

Beautiful spot

This is a beautiful hike and nice place for backpacking with many water sources along the way. Be aware that it is a pretty strenuous hike with a full backpack. I would not rate it as a beginner trip....more like intermediate. That said, our group of three (two somewhat out-of-shape adults and a 12-yr-old) did it and enjoyed it by taking our time and taking breaks. (We do have a fair amount of wilderness camping experience).

Away From Crowds

This was an awesome backpacking experience for a couple of beginners. It wasn't too strenuous to the Upper East Inlet campsite. We had an area to cook away from our tent. The views were gorgeous. After about 2 miles there were few people on the trail, especially compared to the east side of the park. I would recommend the hike to anyone and think it's a great trip for someone who wants to get their feet wet with backpacking!

579 total saves

5.0/5

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

Nearby Adventures

Hike to Adams Falls

4.8
1 mi / 113 ft gain

Hike to Spirit Lake

15.8 mi / 2000 ft gain

Hike to Lone Pine Lake (Grand Lake, CO)

5.0
11 mi / 1494 ft gain

Hike to Verna, Spirit, Fourth, and Fifth Lakes

19 mi / 2460 ft gain
More Nearby Adventures