The North Inlet Trail on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park leads to many waterfalls including Cascade Falls, the first waterfall on this hike. From Grand Lake, take Grand County Road 663 to the North Inlet Trailhead. If the small lot is full, park a quarter of a mile back at the Tonahutu Trailhead, or park at the bottom of the dirt road. The hike starts out on a gravel road that cuts through private property and past horse pastures. The road turns to trail, enters the forest, and takes you past Summerland Park, where you may see deer and moose. At three and a half miles, a powerful torrent tumbles over boulders to the right of the trail at Cascade Falls.
- The North Inlet Trailhead provides free access to Rocky Mountain National Park, one of the most popular national parks in the country, so enjoy your free day!
- Grand Lake is a beautiful little mountain town so consider booking a room and staying a few days. The actual lake – Grand Lake – is the largest and deepest lake in the state, and you can rent a boat at one of the public marinas or bring your own to the boat ramp.
- In winter and spring, Grand Lake can be very icey so carry traction like microspikes for your boots, for the trail, and sometimes for walking around town. This is the Snowmobiling Capital of Colorado – rent a snowmobile and enjoy miles of trail accessible from downtown.
Recommended season(s): Year-round.
—Susan Joy Paul