For those seeking a true mountain vacation experience while visiting Colorado, Grand County provides the best of everything “mountain”. With town elevations topping 9,000 feet, world famous ski slopes, natural hot springs, and seemingly endless lakes and forests this extensive Colorado County provides every type of outdoor recreation locals and visitors could ever want.
Tucked up to the Continental Divide the alpine ski resort of Winter Park has been luring skiers for over 70 years. Only 69 miles outside of Denver Winter Park makes a perfect quick retreat for those needing an escape from the bustle of the city. The mountain first opened to the public in 1939, owned and operated by the city of Denver until 2002. With three mountain peaks, Winter Park, Vasquez Ridge and the infamous Mary Jane, Winter Park Ski Area soon became a favorite haunt for skiers from all over the world. Completely surrounded by the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests Winter Park also gives access to hundreds of snowmobile trails and excellent hiking. During the summer months the Canadian company, Intrawest that now operates the ski area opens the ski lifts up to take mountain bikers to the top of the slopes.
Mid way through the County the town of Granby sits at the intersection of Hwy 40 and Hwy 34. The most populated town and main commerce area in Grand County, Granby provides travelers with convenient mid valley lodging, home style restaurants and businesses run by local families with roots back to the pioneer days. A ranching community rich with Colorado history, Granby is home to some of Colorado’s top guest ranches including the YMCA of the Rockies, Snow Mountain Ranch where horseback rides, sleigh rides and pack rides take guests out into the serenity of the Rocky Mountains.
North of Granby on Hwy 34 Grand Lake, the western access to Rocky Mountain National Park, has been one of the most popular get-a-ways in Colorado since the early 1900’s. Home of the largest natural lake in the State, Grand Lake’s population swells from approximately 500 to 50,000 during the summer holidays when people bombard the town for boating, fishing, Fourth of July, and perfect hiking and biking weather. Downtown Grand Lake takes visitors back in time with the historical buildings where boardwalks and hitching posts still remain. Yacht clubs, sandy beaches, boat rentals, antique and modern lodgings and restaurants galore make this one of the most interesting towns in the Colorado Rockies. Old fashioned saloons where poker reigns, lazy sailboats and Indian celebrations all create a multi faceted atmosphere where old world charm and Wild West blend in perfect harmony. During the winter the hundreds of snowmobile trails accessed from Grand Lake bring in those brave enough to plow through several feet of snow and whoop down the streets on their modern snowmobile horses.
After all the hiking, fishing, skiing, snowmobiling, biking, dancing and sailing a trip to Hot Sulphur Springs to rejuvenate makes a perfect finale to a vacation. The pools and baths at Hot Sulphur Springs have been in operation for over 140 years and were once the summer camp for Indians who came for the natural hot springs. Originally named Saratoga West, Hot Sulphur Springs is the oldest town in Grand County. Located only 30 minutes from Winter Park, Hot Sulphur Springs Resort and Spa has 22 pools and baths, a lodge with 16 spa areas, and areas for yoga and workshops.
From the moment travelers top Berthoud Pass coming out of Denver, Grand County will become one of the most memorable vacations ever spent in the Rocky Mountains, as many have discovered through the years as they return over and over.