Hike to Cascade Falls, Rocky Mountain NP

North Inlet Trailhead, Grand Lake, Colorado, United States

  • Activities:


  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    6.8 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    425 Feet

Family Friendly

A great day-hike on the western side of Rocky Mountain National Park, Cascade Falls is an easy hike with minimal elevation gain right into the heart of the mountains.

Cascade Falls is accessed through the North Inlet Trail on the western side of Rocky Mountain National Park. The trailhead, North Inlet Trailhead, is north of the main town area of Grand Lake. Parking at the trailhead is limited, so hikers can also park along the road leading to the trailhead. The beginning of the hike is on an unpaved road, leading to a privately owned cabin (1.0 miles in). Just ahead is the Summerland Park Group Site, located to the right of the trail. After walking away from the stream, the trail leads to the Summerland Park Backcountry site (1.7 miles) and the Twinberry Backcountry site (3.0 miles). About 0.25 miles past Twinberry, the trail splits. To the left is a stock trail for pack animals and horses, and to the right is the trail. Just ahead, hikers can see the sign for Cascade Falls to the right to access the lower viewing area for the falls. To see the falls from above (much better view) continue hiking on the trail and hikers can see a natural ledge for viewing. 

The North Inlet Trail is apart of the CDT, and leads CDT hikers into Grand Lake towards the Shadowcliff Mountain Lodge. Hikers usually are able to see multiple mule deer and moose along the trail, especially near the river towards the trailhead.

The trail can be busy during peak season, so its recommended to start your hike in the morning for more privacy. If you're stopping for lunch or dinner after your hike, check out Grand Pizza or Sagebrush BBQ and Grill. 

Pack List

  • Water
  • Hiking Shoes
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • Bug spray (thick mosquitos near the falls)

Wilderness Camping Permits - RMNP

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Overall rating: 

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As a novice hiker, this trail was super fun to do! I actually ended up hiking a mile more past the Falls just to enjoy the beautiful scenery. I highly recommend bringing a lunch with you, if you can, so that when you reach the Falls you can maneuver your way (safely, of course) through the rocks to find a nice place to sit and eat. It's a beautiful view, just be careful of chipmunks who might try to take your food, haha!

8 months ago
8 months ago

Matt Johnson

Executive Director, Solutions Recovery Inc. - Program Director, Recovery In The Wilderness

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

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