Grand County lies on the western side of the Continental Divide and the northern Front Range. The Colorado River, formerly named the Grand, bisects the county. Five major towns—Winter Park, Granby, Grand Lake, Hot Sulphur Springs, and Kremmling—define Grand County. The county, with a population of almost 15,000, forms a vast outdoor playground for the Front Range cities like Denver that lies only 70 miles away.
There are two ski resorts in Grand County: Winter Park Resort and family-friendly Ski Granby Ranch. Winter Park Resort includes three separate mountains skied with one lift ticket. Winter Park, Mary Jane, and Vasquez Ridge offer 25 lifts and 143 runs on 3,081 skiable acres. It’s also renowned for its adaptive programs for handicapped skiers. Down the valley is Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort, the state’s premier Nordic ski area with 100 kilometers of groomed trails.
The quaint town of Grand Lake is the western gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. It sits on the north shore of Grand Lake, the largest natural body of water in Colorado. Visitors can enjoy Grand Lake’s diverse outdoor adventures, including hiking, fishing, camping, and riding horses at dude ranches. The town hibernates in winter after Trail Ridge Road into Rocky Mountain National Park closes for the season. Hardy outdoorsmen come for snowmobiling, Nordic skiing, and ice fishing.
The Kawuneeche Valley runs north in Rocky Mountain National Park from Grand Lake. U.S. 34 heads up the wide valley, passing the Kawuneeche Valley Visitor Center. Many trailheads access trails, lakes, and points of interest. Good stops are Holzwarth Historic Site, a homestead ranch; easy Coyote Valley Trail; and trails to Lulu City, La Poudre Pass, and Timber Lake. Timber Creek Campground offers 98 sites for starry nights. The marshy valley floor is one of the best places to spot moose.
The western half of Grand County is remote and mostly deserted country. Hot Sulphur Springs, the seat of Grand County, was named for its bubbling hot springs on the river banks. Hot Sulphur Springs Resort and Spa, one of Colorado’s best unknown hot springs, features seven natural springs that originate 35,000 feet underground and reach the surface between 104°F and 126°F. The hot mineral water disperses in 21 pools and baths to relax your sore hiking or skiing muscles.
Kremmling sits on the meandering Colorado River’s north bank in Middle Park, an intermontane basin. Fishermen, kayakers, and rafters come here for both the Colorado and Blue rivers, which meet west of town. Both offer Gold Medal Waters for anglers to catch and release trout. Hunters come in October looking for elk in the sagebrush valley north of town. There’s plenty more recreation found in White River, Routt, and Arapaho National Forests, all within 20 miles of Kremmling. Wolford Mountain Reservoir is north of town on U.S. 40. The big lake offers good fishing for rainbow and cutthroat trout, boating, and a campground.
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