Lone Pine Lake, East Inlet Trailhead, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Lone Pine Lake - 11.0 miles

East Inlet Trailhead

Lone Pine Lake 9,985' (GPS: N40 13.869 W105 43.951)

Lone Pine Lake 9,985' (GPS: N40 13.869 W105 43.951)

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Round-Trip Length: 11.0 miles
Start-End Elevation: 8,391' - 9,885'
Elevation Change: +1,494' net elevation gain
Skill Level: Moderate
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: Yes
Related Trails:

Lone Pine Lake - 11.0 Miles Round-Trip

Lone Pine Lake is located 5.5 miles from the East Inlet Trailhead on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park. This moderately long but mild trail is highlighted by abundant wildlife, large meadows, and excellent fishing.

The East Inlet Trail continues on to Lake Verna, Spirit Lake, Fourth Lake, Fifth Lake, and Boulder Grand Pass, which crosses the Continental Divide:

The trail begins smooth and flat in a mixed pine - aspen forest to Adams Falls (.3 miles), then skirts the north edge of a vast, marshy meadow. Moose are common along willow-lined oxbows in the meadow.

The trail rises nominally to the Lower East Inlet backcountry campsite (2.3 miles), then steepens up the north valley wall with good views down the meadow through which you just passed. Aspen, tall columns of lodgepole, and audible streams highlight this pleasant stretch.

Grades moderate in a stream-crossed flat near the Cat's Lair backcountry campsite (4.0 miles), and closely follow a voluminous stretch of East Inlet for 1.5 miles to Lone Pine Lake (5.5 miles : 9,985').

The main trail swings up the southeast side of Lone Pine Lake with good vantages and morning light. Social trails on Lone Pine's west shore offer good views up valley of Andrews Peak (12,565'), Mt Alice (13,310'), Boulder Grand Pass (12,061'), Isolation Peak (13,118'), and Mt Craig (12,007').

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Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

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  • N40 13.869 W105 43.951) — Lone Pine Lake

Worth Noting

  • The East Inlet Valley is especially rich in wildlife. Look for moose browsing in marshy meadows in the early morning and, as temperatures rise, in dark timber later in the afternoon.

  • Lake Verna is 1.4 miles from Lone Pine Lake, and Spirit Lake is 1.1 miles further on an unimproved trail from the west edge of Lake Verna. The trail may be difficult to follow, especially with lingering snow.

  • The trail will likely be wet in places throughout the summer and into early fall.

  • The East Inlet Trail hosts 8 backcountry campsites that fill up quickly throughout the summer. Advance reservations are necessary.

  • Contact the ranger station for fishing rules and regulations. A Colorado fishing license is required. Rules are strictly enforced.

Directions to Trailhead

The East Inlet Trailhead is on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park within the town of Grand Lake. Follow Highway 34 (Trail Ridge Road) to the turnoff for Grand Lake on Highway 278. Turn east toward Grand Lake, then bypass the main road through Grand Lake, following West Portal Road and signs toward the boat launch area. The trailhead is located about 2.7 miles from U.S. 34 along the eastern shore of Grand Lake, opposite the boat launch.

Contact Information

Rocky Mountain National Park
Visitor Information:

Backcountry Office:

Campground Reservations:

Emergency Dispatch:

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


"Hiking this trail is one of the best memories of my life. I hiked this trail with a dozen other people. We hiked in and set up camp at Gray Jay campground located just a short walk from Lone Pine Lake. The first stretch of the hike was a little buggy in the marshy areas, but not annoyingly so. Once we set up camp, it was starting to get dark so we just made dinner and slept early to prep for an early hike the next day. The trail was well maintained along the north side of Verna but was much narrower and overgrown past that heading toward 4th and 5th. The first day we spent just lounging around Verna. The second day we woke early again for a longer hike toward the continental divide. Following the stream East just beyond 4th, you get to a point where you exit the trees and in front of us was one of the most spectacular views I'd ever seen. It felt like what I imagine heaven looking like. Moose crossing the stream through the tall grass, with a background of an avalanche chute straight ahead and Isolation peak to the South. Patches of snow linger, arching over the bubbling stream. Wildflowers of many colors are in abundance. Clear blue sky and lots of sunshine. This is a hike that I will take again after my wedding with my new bride. It is the most beautiful place I've ever been. A word of advice though. As tempting as it may be, do not scramble up the avalanche chute in an attempt to reach the divide. A couple of my more adventurous friends and I tried and found ourselves in a tight spot with NO equipment. It was scary and pointless, as walking up through the woods to the north would make for a much more gradual and do-able hike up to the divide. We never did take the hike up to 5th but I will the next time I go, just to get closer to Isolation Peak. I love this trail, it was fairly easy even for the newbies we had in our group. Can't recommend it highly enough."
Doug  -  Urbana, IL  -  Date Posted: December 12, 2013


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