North Inlet Trail to Lake Nokoni

MODERATE 6 reviews
#56 of 114 trails in

North Inlet Trail to Lake Nokoni is a 20.4 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Grand Lake, CO that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October. Horses are also able to use this trail.

20.4 miles 3428 feet Out & Back






horseback riding






wild flowers


no dogs

Directions from Grand Lake: Go to the Tonahutu/North Inlet Trailhead on the northwest side of town.

5 months ago

Day hike and trail was in decent shape for this time of year, aka mud season. We saw two moose on the early part of the trail but did not see much wildlife after that. The views were nice but I don't think we reached the better parts as we had to turn around after a few miles for incoming weather.

7 months ago

I've been all over RMNP and this is one of my favorite trails

1 year ago

I thot it was an average looking trail and lake. Nothing particularly exciting. It is not difficult, don't know why description above says difficult. It is a rocky trail, in some parts, and steady climb- but not difficult at all. What is worth doing is hiking up the ridge at Lake Nokoni. The view from top of the ridge is fab. See review and pics under North Inlet trail.

1 year ago

Did backpacking trip North Inlet trail. Camped at North Inlet Group and did day hike to Lake Nokoni, climbed up the ridge there and hiked to Lake Nanita.
I would rate North Inlet trail and Nokoni as average. Lake Nanita is beautiful and the trail from Nokoni to Nanita is pretty. The view from the ridge at top at Nokoni is fab (see pics).

North Inlet trail itself is fairly easy if you are day hiking. With heavy backpack gets bit tiring to do 7 miles to the camp site. The trail passes private land, a horse ranch and a red cabin. At the bend in the NInlet saw fishermen who were having no luck catching fish. The trail winds along N Inlet river and starts climbing up thru forest. There are couple small log bridge crossings. You get to Cascade falls which is pretty but not spectacular. Pass Big Pool. The trail keeps climbing thru lodge pines, many destroyed by beetles. There is a pond about 0.5 miles before the N Inlet group campsite. Looked hard for moose, saw none. The campsite was quiet, by the creek.
Day hike to Nokoni and Nanita was long but easy for most part. IMHO Nokoni was just okay lake. What was more interesting was climbing up the ridge there on the lake's right side. There is no trail. You have to make your way up the steep slope and then there is a faint game trail that goes 3/4 way to top or follow the scree ski like trail. You have to just make your own way up pretty much. It is about 500 ft or so elevation gain up 0.5 miles. Seems steep and strenuous while doing it. But the climb is worth it. The view from top is fab. You see Never Summer Mtns on one side. There is view of Flattop Mtn, Hallet peak. Then on other side you can see Longs Peak in the distance, Mt Alice, Andrew, Chief's head. (I am not the greatest in identifying all peaks, in case I got any wrong). The view of Nokoni from top, looking down is great. Coming down, at the top, trace your way back on top of the ridge towards the scree ski trail. It was a bit tricky and scary on that trail at the top, have to be sure footed. It takes you back down much of the way and then you have to make own way back to Nokoni.

On same day, hiked on to Lake Nanita. The trail from Nokoni crosses a bridge and up the forest and comes to a very pretty meadow with a looming mountain, whose name I do not know. That was the prettiest part of N Inlet trail IMHO. The trail then descends into Lake Nanita, which is quite a beautiful lake and worth hiking to. From N Inlet group campsite total mileage to do day hike to Nokoni, climb the ridge and hike to Nanita and back , was approx 11 miles, of which the climb up the ridge was strenuous, at least for me. Rest of trail was easy.

Was disappointed that I saw no elk or moose. Only critters I saw was deer with 2 spotted fawns, a marmot and pica. Deer wander around the camp at night.

2 years ago

Nice, steady climb. Area had been closed a few days before due to bear activity (someone left food in their tent and a bear decided to rummage through peoples' goodies). Met a cow moose and her calf on the trail., yeilded the right of way. Grilled trout caught in Lake Nanita. Great views.
Did East Inlet trail the year before. It seemed a little more steep than this one. Good fishing up there, too.

3 years ago

Far away enough from civilization, this trail traverses a beautiful valley and up to Flattop Mountain, along the Continental Divide. As for all the trails in the Rocky Mountain National Park, it's well marked and improved, with curb and steps. I camped at the July campground, which was a little piece of paradise, with lots of wildlife. This is were I took the picture of the Elk I just posted. Don't miss the day hike to Lakes Nokoni and Nanita, sublime and frightening with all the many lightning-fried trees!