Lake Verna – 14mi / 22.6km
Lake Verna is a long, narrow lake tucked below the dramatic rock formations that span the ridgeline between Mt. Craig and Isolation Peak.
The trail begins by first visiting Adams Falls, then works its way up through a gorgeous valley to Lone Pine Lake (see Lone Pine Lake in 10-15 Miles for description). The trail follows around the lake, then begins switchbacking out of the forested canyon onto exposed granite. You’ll get sweeping views of the valley, down to the meadows below, and all the way out to Grand Lake.
From here, the grade eases as you turn up the drainage and follow the creek. Landslides from Mt. Craig partially block the stream creating small pools along the way. The long arm of Lake Verna comes into view before you drop down to the lake. Follow along the lake’s shore to it’s sandy inlet for ever-changing views of the gray towers above. Halfway along the lake, a waterfall drops from the stunning heights.
For those looking for a longer day, an unimproved trail continues past the lake to Spirit Lake and on to Fourth Lake; each more remote than the previous.
Trailhead: From Hwy 36, turn onto West Portal Road to Grand Lake. Stay on West Portal Road for 2.4mi/3.9km to the trailhead at the end of the road.
Elevation Gain: 2,000ft / 600m – Elevation Loss: 2,000ft / 600m