Last Updated on March 15, 2023
Grand County is smack dab in the middle of Colorado. As you would expect from its prime location between Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Vail, Grand County offers outdoor adventures from skiing, hiking, snowmobiling, rafting, fly-fishing, tubing, biking, and so much more. Although best known for winter activities, it has also become popular during the warmer months.
Grand County includes the towns of Winter Park, Grandby, Fraser, Kremmling, and Grand Lake. The county is known as the Western Gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. Winter Park is about an hour and a half from Denver and around three hours from Colorado Springs.
Keith, our guide, took my family on a two-hour adventure through some of the most beautiful landscapes imaginable. Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains and the Continental Divide, we rode through pristine forested mountainsides blanketed with snow.
Although the temperature was 12-degrees when we started, we were bundled up in layers and quite comfortable.
If you want to combine a fun activity with the thrill of movement and beautiful scenery, try snowmobiling or other outdoor tours with Grand Adventures.
If you are looking for a place to take the family, go on a romantic weekend, or for the perfect girls’ or guys’ getaway, River Run RV Resort in Grandby is the place to be.
Don’t let the RV in the name fool you. Yes, indeed, River Run has hundreds of campsites for RVs. However, River Run also has Villas, vacation rentals, and tent sites. For those into glamping, RR has Yurts, Conestoga Wagons, and Airstreams with all the latest conveniences.
All of this is in one of the most beautiful areas in the country, surrounded by majestic mountains, pristine rivers, streams and lakes, green forests, and wildflowers throughout.
Bowl & Grab a Bite
While staying at River Run RV Resort in Granby, we walked out of the front door of our cabin. In less than five minutes, we found ourselves in the nearby Summit Bar & Grill, right next to the General Store and the children’s playground.
Inside is the small bowling alley, an arcade, the bar, inside seating, and television screens for your favorite sporting event. Outside is a large patio with lots of seating and a beautiful view of the mountains. The menu has a nice selection of delicious burgers, pizza, pulled pork sandwiches, chicken tenders, wraps, salads, and more.
Cross Country Skiing
One of the many fun activities at the YMCA of The Rockies – Snow Mountain Ranch is the cross-country Nordic skiing lessons taught by their experienced and friendly staff. One of the largest YMCAs in the nation, Snow Mountain Ranch, is located between Winter Park and Grandby.
It offers many lodging options as well as a wide variety of fun and educational activities. They welcome large groups of any kind and can help you plan activities for each member.
Enjoy the many choices of lodging with views of the Continental Divide from your balcony or front porch. Also, the YMCA of The Rockies offers a wide range of dining choices onsite.
Be sure to pick up your snowshoes and other outdoor adventure equipment and supplies at Two Pines Supply, conveniently located in downtown Grandby. The name of this outstanding company comes from the quote by noted naturalist John Muir, who stated, “Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.”
We enjoyed a nice hike up through Adams Falls on the East Inlet Trail near Grand Lake.
Stay at Beaver Village
We were ecstatic to sleep in a great condominium at Beaver Village Condominium with Stay Winter Park Resort. Although the complex we stayed in is secluded on the hillside in the outskirts of Winter Park, it was only minutes to drive downtown and the various activities in the area.
Our two-bedroom condo had comfortable queen-sized beds, a large fireplace, a full kitchen, WIFI, and a comfy living room where we could relax and kick back after our busy day of outdoor activities.
Cheer on Your Favorite Sports Team
One afternoon we stopped for a beer and a snack at Peak Bistro & Brewery in Winter Park. We felt right at home, surrounded by banners of hundreds of sports teams, including our alma maters of Texas A&M and the University of Texas.
The nachos with black beans, a spicy salsa, and lots of melted cheese were the perfect complement to our cold draft beers.
Since opening in 1967, Hernando’s Pizza has become one of the most popular restaurants in Winter Park. Known for great pizza, pasta, salads, cold beer, and friendly staff, Hernando’s has served families for generations.
They are also known for a fun tradition started in 1989 of posting decorated dollar bills throughout the restaurant. There are now over 35,000-dollar bills adorning the walls and ceilings of Hernando’s – an amazing site.
Come join the fun and food – as they say at Hernando’s, “Life is too short to eat bad pizza.”
Take a Drive Through the Mountains
You can’t get to Grand County without driving through the mountains. Be sure to appreciate the beauty and majesty of the Colorado landscapes through the mountain roads of the area.
Don’t look at the driving as a chore – look at it as an opportunity to experience some of the best scenery in America. Stop at some scenic outlooks, breathe in the fresh air, and soak up the area’s beauty. If you don’t, you’re missing out.
Get on the Water in Grand County
Visitors to Grand County can experience the many fun activities on the beautiful lakes and rivers in the area. Whether it’s the thrill of whitewater rafting, the challenge of paddling your kayak, or the tranquility of paddleboarding at your own pace, Grand County offers many choices to enjoy on the water.
Bring your warm clothes and gloves and head to Fraser Tubing Hill. Located in Fraser, just minutes from Winter Park, they provide the tubes, and you provide the energy. A wide area to tube ensures you never have to wait too long to slide down the snowy slopes.
Best of all, after your thrilling ride down, simply walk over to the tube lift, and you will be carried back to the top to do it all again—fun for all family members.
Fine Casual Dining
Brickhouse 40 is in Grandby’s first brick building on Highway 40, built in 1927 by WH “Willy” Wood. This historic building is now the home of this outstanding restaurant. However, in years past, it has served as a general store, a hardware store, a grocery store, and other uses.
They have a nice blackened salmon, spaghetti and meatballs, great burgers, and other creative, tasty entrees. I tried the infamous Brickhouse Bowl, a delicious combination of pulled pork, chicken tenders, mashed potatoes, cheese, corn, and gravy served in a cast-iron skillet – the ultimate comfort meal!
With its extensive menu and choice of cocktails, wine, and beer, Brickhouse 40 is perfect for lunch, dinner, or a happy hour snack.
Eat at Sagebrush in Grand Lake
In the charming downtown of Grand Lake, we found the comfortable, homey Sagebrush BBQ & Grill. This rustic eatery is filled with weathered wood, nostalgic signs, and friendly folks. Our breakfast omelet, the Santa Fe with green chiles, Jack cheese, onions, and salsa, was delicious.
Our friendly waitress kept our coffee mugs warm and full.
For lunch or dinner, you can’t miss with their signature barbeque, but they also have an amazing lineup of burgers, seafood dishes, salads, steaks, sandwiches, and so much more.