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North Inlet Trail



12.7 mile 20.4 kilometer point to point
89% Runnable


Ascent: 3,749' 1,143 m
Descent: -184' -56 m
High: 12,139' 3,700 m
Low: 8,485' 2,586 m


Avg Grade: 6% (3°)
Max Grade: 35% (19°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Brian Smith

A long trail that rises to over 12,000' from Grand Lake to Flattop Mountain.

Brian Smith

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife


North Inlet Trail follows the North Inlet Creek most of the way from its mouth at Grand Lake all the way to its headwaters atop the Continental Divide at Chiefs Head Peak. This trail has its own trailhead - The North Inlet Trail - located just north of Grand Lake.

Head east on the trail as it follows a wide valley and enjoy the views of the marshlands. Soon after starting out, the trail enters a narrower, more rugged landscape. The lower reaches of this trail are very well-traveled and meander at lower grades along the creekside. There are numerous attractions along the way including Cascade Falls and Big Pool.

Eventually the trail comes to a junction with Lake Nanita Trail which branches off to the south. Immediately following this junction, North Inlet Trail changes character as it rises steeply through a series of switchbacks and ends above treeline.

The upper reaches of North Inlet Trail are much steeper and more rugged as the trail ascends towards its terminus near Flattop Mountain. This terminus is a three-way junction with Flattop Mountain Trail and Tonohutu Creek Trail .

Flora & Fauna

RMNP is a massive park that is mostly characterized by a montane ecosystem. Here are some of the Flora and Fauna that you may encounter along this trail:

Flora: Ponderosa pine, douglas fir, wildflowers, shrubs
Fauna: Elk, mule deer, moose, bighorn sheep, coyotes, black bears, cougars, butterflies.

For more detailed information regarding the park's diverse ecosystems, click HERE.

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Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 2 votes


in Grand Lake


  4.0 from 2 votes
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60 Views Last Month
4,987 Since Jan 14, 2015



Rocky Mountain National Park: Yellow-Bellied Marmot
Jan 15, 2015 near Grand Lake, CO
Footage from an April outing to the summit of Flattop.
May 6, 2015 near Grand Lake, CO
Deer!  On the North Inlet Trail.
Feb 10, 2015 near Grand Lake, CO
Cascade Falls
Jan 15, 2015 near Grand Lake, CO
High water mark with permission from Hobbes7714 Photo Credit: Andrew Wahr  Link:
Jan 19, 2015 near Grand Lake, CO
Twinberry campsite. First night on North Inlet Trail - doing the 30 mile loop.
Jul 20, 2016 near Grand Lake, CO


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