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4 Day East Inlet Backpacking

Located on the less crowded western side of Rocky Mountain National Park, this trip will take you to parts of the park few get to see. The hike winds through stunning wildflower speckled alpine meadows, evergreen forests, and snow-capped peaks. Because this area is less trafficked than other parts of the Park, it is teeming with a variety of wildlife including moose, elk, and black bears. This trail also boasts three stunning alpine lakes; Lone Pine Lake, Lake Verna, and Spirit Lake. For those feeling a little more adventurous, this area is also a great location for an off-trail peak ascent. 

With one of the best campsites on the Western Side of the park as our base camp, we will be able to explore this wonderful area of the park. With majestic peaks on all sides of this drainage and incredible fishing to be had in the lakes and outlet streams, this is one area of the park begging to be explored. Your days can be spent fishing the shores of the lakes or reeling them in from the streams right outside of camp. Perhaps you would even want to climb one of the many peaks that flank the drainage in this seldom-visited area of Rocky Mountain National Park. With our custom and private trip, we can create an exciting backpacking adventure of between 2 and 4 days for first-time backpackers, fly fisherman, and those wanting to explore off-trail. 

Additional information

Group Size

2, 3, 4

Trip Dates

2024 RMNP PERMIT DATES: East Inlet (3-4 day)

  • Friday, June 28th – Sunday, June 30th
  • Saturday, August 3rd – Wednesday, August 7th
  • Saturday, August 10th – Wednesday, August 14th

Please note that we can create a trip for you outside of these permit dates. Call us at (720) 242-9828 for more details!

Trip Details

Day 0: Meet and go over gear, food, and itinerary. Plan on meeting for 1-1.5 hours the night before to make sure all gear is double-checked and your backpack is packed and ready to go for an early morning departure.  Note: Some companies include this day as part of the total trip length, thus making it a four-day trip. However, we only include it as Day 0 to build rapport with your Colorado local guide and help with your acclimation.

Day 1: Our trip begins with a drive up and over the Continental Divide via the scenic and historic Trail Ridge Road to reach our trailhead on the western side of Rocky Mountain National Park. This drive has no shortage of incredible viewpoints so we can take our time and stop for pictures on the way. We will then begin our hike from the East Inlet Trailhead, where we will traverse past a waterfall and through a stunning, wide open meadow with peaks towering above. This section of the hike has a good chance of spotting moose and other wildlife. After 4.9 miles and  1260 feet of elevation gain we will reach our campsite for the evening where we will set up camp and relax before enjoying a big dinner.

Day 2: After a hearty breakfast we will make a plan for our day. The choices are difficult but each one is worthy. We can spend the day fishing, we can set up hammocks and relax and watch the world go by or we can hike farther up the drainage hiking parallel to the beautiful stream we camped next to the night before.At the end of the trail is lovely lake Verna, set in a gorgeous cirque at the head of the valley surrounded by 13,000 foot peaks. 

Day 3: We have a few options for our third day. We can either wake up before sunrise and go off trail to climb one of the peaks in the area or we can continue on up the trail to Lake Verna and Spirit Lake. Camp at the same site as the night before.

Day 4: On our final day we will pack up camp and retrace our steps back down to the trailhead. 

Difficulty Description

Moderate – On moderate trips, you will hike 3-6 miles a day with a 25-35 pound backpack on maintained trails. Elevation gain/loss may be as much as, but not more than, 2250 feet. For a moderate trip, you should be comfortable hiking 6-8 miles in hilly or mountainous terrain with a backpack.

What's included

The services of a professional guide(s); national park permit and backcountry camping permits; transportation between Boulder and the wilderness trailheads; all food during the backpacking trip; a re-supply drop, if necessary; gear for water purification and cooking; bear canister, tent, and medical kit; SPOT personal locator beacon, and contingency and emergency support.

What's not included

Meals while in the front country (breakfast on Day 1 and dinner on the last day); laundry; alcoholic beverages; hotel overnight before your trip and at trip’s conclusion; personal equipment (sleeping bag, sleeping pad, backpack – these items are available to rent); and gratuities for your guide(s) – while this is at your discretion, the recommended amount is 20%. We recommend optional trip insurance.

  • Transportation to and from Boulder at the beginning and end of the trip. If you arrive from Denver International Airport, we will arrange transportation for you for an additional charge. If you are staying in Estes Park, we can pick you up and drop you off from your hotel or a central location. If you are staying in Denver, we will help arrange transportation to/from a central Boulder location. If you arrive by car, we can arrange for your car to be left, while we are out on the trip.
  • Equipment rental cost for a 3-day backpacking trip: personal backpacking gear: backpack ($25); sleeping pad ($14); sleeping bag ($25).

Optional:  Fly fishing ($100 per person). Extra cost is due to the guide and equipment needed. Fly fishing license ($9 – $27 pp) is not included.


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