Leaning up against Rocky Mountain National Park's west side, Grand County, home to Winter Park Mountain Resort and Grand Lake, offers unparalleled outdoor opportunities. It’s authentic Colorado at its best. Tip: Head here mid-week to take advantage of great lodging deals.
1. Hike one of the valley’s 600 miles of trails. A great family friendly hike is the 2.5-mile Waterfall Trail at Snow Mountain Ranch (snowmountainranch.org). The 8.8-mile round-trip hike up 12,804-foot Byers Peak near Fraser is outstanding for experienced hikers. A great family friendly stroll or bike ride is the Fraser River Trail that stretches from Fraser to Winter Park Resort.
2. Drive the gorgeous Colorado River Headwaters Scenic Byway that starts in Grand Lake and ends in State Bridge, Colo.
3. See granite peaks and wildflower-filled meadows by horseback at Sombrero Ranches in Rocky Mountain National Park (www.sombrero.com) or C Lazy U Ranch north of Granby (www.clazyu.com). Or head to Rusty Spurr Ranch in Kremmling, Colo., for trail rides and cattle drives — both great activities to catch fall colors in September. (www.rustyspurr.com)
4. Rent kayaks or pedal boats and explore Grand Lake, Colorado’s largest natural lake. Grand Lake’s bustling little downtown with its charming historic boardwalk is right outside of Rocky Mountain National Park's West Entrance. Founded in 1881, the village still embraces its original rustic architectural style, although it’s much more than a small mountain outpost. More than 60 shops, restaurants and galleries line the downtown area, captivating visitors with their charm. Stroll two minutes from downtown to explore Colorado’s largest natural lake. Then rent kayaks or pedal boats from one of the two marinas and paddle along the shoreline or simply enjoy the views from the town beach.
In the evening, head to the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre where Hollywood actors David Hasselhoff and David Arquette worked as young thespians. Offering three shows every summer, professional actors take the stage and perform popular Broadway musicals like Les Miserables. Buy your tickets early to make sure you get a seat.
5. Soak in 21 mineral pools at Hot Sulphur Springs Resort & Spa in the heart of the oldest town in Grand County—Hot Sulphur Springs. (hotsulphursprings.com)
6. Raft the Colorado River near Kremmling as it flows by stunning rugged landscapes. You can go on a guided tour or rent your own boats at the great outpost, Rancho Del Rio, that has a small general store and a bar. (www.kremmlingchamber.com)
7. Get ready to hoot and holler as you ride Colorado’s longest alpine slide at the base area of Winter Park Resort. You’ll find incredible mountain biking and other base area activities. You can buy an activity pass here that enables you to go on the alpine slide, play mini-golf and more. (www.winterparkresort.com)
8. Experience the state’s first summer tubing hill at the YMCA’s Snow Mountain Ranch west of Tabernash, Colo. There’s also roller skating, rock climbing and an arts-and-crafts room on site. (snowmountainranch.org)
9. Experienced bikers should head to the county’s two bike parks, including Trestle Bike Park, one of the top bike parks in the country, at Winter Park Resort.
For more information:
Grand County Colorado Tourism Board