Backpack to Lake Verna

Colorado East Inlet Trailhead

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.

Pack List

  • Permit
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Stove
  • Water filter
  • Clothing layers
  • Rain jacket/pants
  • Sunglasses
  • Chair (optional)
  • Book (because reading next to a lake is nice)
  • Fishing gear (optional *with permit)
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Backpacking, Camping, Chillin, Fishing, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



14 Miles

Elev. Gain:

2500 Feet




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How to Get There

3 months ago

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!

3 months ago

Added by Ian Glass

Videographer/Photographer based in Boulder, CO with a penchant for the outdoors // @ianvaso

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