Embrace the spirit of the great Colorado outdoors in Grand Lake, home of the state’s largest natural lake, located at the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. At an 8,300-foot (2,530-meter) elevation, enjoy brisk mountain air and year-round outdoor activities ranging from hiking and biking to fishing, golfing, and lake tours.
Traveling through Rocky Mountain National Park is on many Colorado visitors’ itineraries, with views of snow-tipped mountains plus elk, deer, and other wildlife. Just outside the national forest, neighboring Grand Lake has more to offer off Trail Ridge Road. Some full-day tours of the national park from Denver include a Grand Lake visit. Other tours might include a stop at the Kauffman House Museum, a log cabin hotel that first opened in 1892. You also can take in a show at the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre, which hosts Broadway-caliber theatrical productions.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Grand Lake is a relaxed destination perfect for outdoor enthusiasts and families.
- Due to the city’s elevation, snow is possible any time of year. Pack clothing that can be layered to accommodate changing weather.
- Stay hydrated to help your body acclimate while you explore at a higher altitude.
How to Get There
Grand Lake is approximately 100 miles (161 kilometers) from Denver, a 2-hour drive. You may wish to do a 200-mile (322-kilometer) loop starting in the Mile High City and circling to Grand Lake, Estes Park, and back to Denver. Or let someone else do the driving so you can simply enjoy the scenery: Book a group tour departing from Denver.
When to Get There
Grand Lake is lovely year-round, though Trail Ridge Road is usually closed during winter (mid-November to May). The summer tourist season brings bumper-to-bumper traffic to Rocky Mountain National Park, with September typically being the busiest month. Try to avoid traveling through the park on weekends and holidays, if possible.
Grand Lake: A Friendly Rocky Mountain Neighbor
According to the latest census, the town of Grand Lake consists of just 500 people. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of amenities and accommodations. There’s hiking, cycling, boating, fishing, paddleboarding, dining in town, relaxing in nearby hot springs… all with friendly locals happy to welcome you to Colorado.