The Cascade Falls hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

The Cascade Falls Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

This week’s featured hike is the Cascade Falls hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. This beautiful series of waterfalls lies along the North Inlet Trail, about a 3.4 mile hike from the trailhead.

Cascade Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park
Cascade Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

To find the North Inlet Trailhead, take the West Portal Road eastbound through Grand Lake until you see a sign on the left for the Tonahutu & North Inlet Trailheads (on Hancock St/Road 663 – there’s also a sign for the Shadowcliff Lodge).IMG_1855

A brief uphill climb on the dirt road gets you to another sign. Stay right and go over a small bridge to get to the North Inlet Trailhead.


Once you make it over the bridge, you should see parking and a trailhead sign for the North Inlet Trail.


From the trailhead, the hike to Cascade Falls is relatively easy, with about 300 feet of elevation change. The waterfalls are about 3.4 miles from the trailhead, with a total in-and-out hiking distance of a little under 7 miles. The trail begins as a wide, smooth dirt path.

North Inlet Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park

The path meanders up the North Inlet Creek valley, traveling right along the creek at certain points on the way. Visitors may fish in the creek, but be sure to obtain a Colorado fishing license and to be familiar with area regulations before fishing.

The North Inlet Creek in RMNP

The trail eventually narrows into a skinnier singletrack trail through conifer forests and along the valley’s rocky cliffs.


After about 3 miles of hiking, you should begin to hear the sound of rushing waterfalls. You’ll then notice a sign for Cascade Falls along the right side of the trail, just before a series of stone stairs uphill. You’ll likely hear the waterfalls before you see them.IMG_1780Cascade Falls are a fantastic natural feature of RMNP, with a spectacular series of waterfalls cascading (literally!) over boulders for several hundred feet.

Cascade Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Late summer is a particularly nice time to enjoy the North Inlet Trail to Cascade Falls, with wildflowers still blooming and wild raspberries ripening on the mountainsides.

Wild raspberries in Rocky Mountain National Park

The wildlife is still out and about along the North Inlet Trail and throughout Rocky Mountain National Park, with frequent opportunities to view wildlife both large…

Moose tracks along the North Inlet Trail in RMNP

…and small…especially the curious chipmunks!

Always remember to respect the wildlife…do not feed or approach wild animals!

Cascade Falls is a great day hike option in Rocky Mountain National Park, especially if you’re looking for a beautiful hike for the Labor Day weekend. If you’re looking for a shorter and easier RMNP hike, also consider the Adams Falls hike, or the Coyote Valley Trail hike in the Kawuneeche Valley.

Cascade Falls is easily accessible from Grand Lake as well, with the North Inlet Trailhead located right in town. Grand Lake is a great place to begin or end a Rocky Mountain National Park adventure as well, with plenty of dining, lodging, and other services for park visitors and town guests alike. Contact us at the Chamber for more info!

To contact the Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce, call 970-627-3402