Cascade Falls, Colorado

Cascade Falls in August 2009

I’ve been visiting various waterfalls in Colorado, and I’ve had mixed feelings about them. Some are beautiful, while others have been disappointing. Cascade Falls was one of the more beautiful ones, so I’ve decided to give it precedence.

Cascade Falls is found on the outskirts of the amazing Rocky Mountain National Park. Cascade Falls can be accessed from the North Inlet Trail right in Grand Lake (the western entrance of the park). The trail to the falls is extremely pleasant, and has only very brief inclines. The total elevation gain is listed as 300′, but it didn’t seem to bad, at least compared to some other falls I’ve visited.

Even so, bring something to drink and wear sunscreen. The trickiest part of the climb is the elevation (at 8000’+). Being from Michigan (at 700′ above sea level), it isn’t too bad, but I can still feel the effects. I think it just has a tendency to wear me out more than usual. The trail to the falls roundtrip is 6.8 miles, which I can handle.

Directions:

  1. You’ll be heading north on US-34 toward Grand Lake.
  2. As you approach Grand Lake, you can head straight and enter the park, or veer to the right and head toward Grand Lake. Head RIGHT.
  3. After a short distance, you’ll come to another choice. My first instinct is to keep going, but instead, take the offshoot to the left, staying on W. Portal Rd.
  4. A little distance after splitting off onto W. Portal Road, pay attention for a sign indicating the trailhead for the East Inlet Trail. It’s very easy to miss the sign, especially if you’re coming from the opposite direction. I’m not even sure there is a sign in the opposite direction.
  5. Turn left onto the road leading to the trailhead.
  6. Turn right into the parking area for the East Inlet Trail. From there, connect onto the trail and start your journey.

Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate)
Height: 20′
Length of Hike: 6.8 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Cascade Falls?

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