When the lake freezes over (weather dependent, but usually by mid-December) the snow worshippers come out to play. In the winter, Grand Lake becomes a hub of activity, especially during annual events like various ice fishing tournaments, the Pond Hockey Classic and Winter Carnival, a long-running community tradition that culminates in an amazing fireworks display over the lake. And don’t miss the spectacular sunsets that become even more dramatic when Mt. Baldy is covered in snow.
Originally called Spirit Lake by the Ute Tribe, Grand Lake is a sacred body of water with great historical significance. Formed by glaciers less than 12,000 years ago, Grand Lake is most famous for being the largest and deepest of all the natural lakes in Colorado, covering more than 500 acres and plunging almost 400 feet deep. The lake is surrounded on three sides by Rocky Mountain National Park and is fed by the Colorado River headwaters (the geological origin point of the river is located inside the park, about 20 miles north of the lake itself).
The picturesque waterfront is the main attraction for those visiting the town of Grand Lake, Colorado. Located just one block from downtown Grand Lake, the public beach near the Headwaters Marina is the center of the action. In the summer, you can swim, boat, paddle, fish, sunbathe and picnic. In the winter, there’s ice skating, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. One of Grand Lake’s most treasured past times is simply strolling along the docks with an ice-cream cone in hand.
The Grand Lake Yacht Club–one of the oldest and highest in the West–is also located near downtown on the shores of Grand Lake. In August, the yacht club hosts an annual regatta event that draws crowds of both locals and visitors alike
Grand Lake Boating
Pontoon boats, fishing boats, pedal boats and sport boats are available for rent at the Headwaters Marina and the Grand Lake Marina for use on Grand Lake. If you have your own boat, the Green Ridge Boating Site at the south end of Shadow Mountain Reservoir or head to the boat ramp on the shores of Grand Lake (Located by the East Inlet Trailhead Parking)
Grand Lake Kayaking & SUP
Grand Lake is a perfect place for non-motorized water sports like kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and canoeing. The town beach is the best place to park and put-in such watercraft, and equipment can be rented by the hour from the Headwaters Marina or Grand Lake Marina. Rocky Mountain SUP is also located near the town beach and offers paddle board rentals, lessons and tours.
Grand Lake Fishing
Fishing from the town beach or a pontoon boat is a great way to spend a few hours in Grand Lake. A Colorado fishing license (cost varies, see our Fishing page for details) is required, and can be purchased at Beacon Landing Marina on Lake Granby or at Kirk’s Flyshop in Grand Lake, Colorado.
Grand Lake Camping
The majority of Grand Lake shoreline is occupied by the town or by private homes, therefore there are no public campsites available on the water. There are several campgrounds nearby like the Winding River RV Resort and the Elk Creek Campground & RV Park. You can also camp on a first-come, first-served basis at Timber Creek Campground in Rocky Mountain National Park, or head to one of the many Arapahoe National Forest Area Campgrounds.