Things to do in Grand Lake, CO
Winter & Spring
Winter Magic in Grand Lake, CO
Grand Lake receives an average of 130 inches of snowfall per year making it an excellent destination for winter adventures. The area is especially well known for its access to hundreds of acres of backcountry terrain with deep powder stashes for snowmobiling, snowshoeing and skiing. Thanks to its high altitude and expansive lakes, the Grand Lake area is also an ideal spot for ice fishing, ice hockey and ice skating. And with Rocky Mountain National Park and the Grand Lake Nordic Center located just a few miles from town, you’ll never run out of trails to explore. Read on for more ways to enjoy winter in Grand Lake!
Guided Tours – Experience Rocky Mountain National Park with experts! Guided half-day snowshoe and cross-country skiing eco-tours with Kaiyote Tours will get you access to observe winter wildlife like moose, otters, and ptarmigans (equipment included). Learn about the wild characters, features, and landscapes of the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park with Dave Lively Tours and Talks, now offering winter tours. Looking to get some time in with a Ranger? Check out Rocky Mountain National Park’s guided snowshoe tours.
Snowshoeing – Don’t let the low temps and snowy conditions keep you away from your favorite summer hiking trails! Most can be accessed year-round with the help of snowshoes (you can rent a pair in town at Never Summer Mountain Products). The Grand Lake Nordic Center also has snowshoe equipment for rent and offers several designated snowshoe trails that wind through charming pine forests and along the Colorado River (make sure to warm up with a bowl of chili by the fireplace in the clubhouse afterwards.)
Ice Skating – Discovering the joy of winter can be as simple as lacing up a pair of skates and hitting the ice for some old-fashioned family fun. The town of Grand Lake provides a free skating rink outdoors on the ice by Gene Stover Park as well as a free rink. Bring your skates or borrow complimentary skates from the warming hut on Grand Lake. An indoor ice skating rink can be found at the YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch (fee required).
*Free rink only available once the Town determines the ice is thick enough for skating. Please be patient with us as this is a natural process that is not human-controlled. Ice skate rentals will not be given out until this happens. More information can be found at townofgrandlake.com
Sleigh Rides & Dog Sledding – Experience the winter wonderland of Grand County, Colorado, with dog sledding adventures offered by Snow Mountain Ranch and serene sleigh rides by Rocky Mountain Stables. Embark on a magical journey through pristine snow-covered landscapes as you glide across the breathtaking scenery of the Rockies. Whether you prefer the serene charm of a sleigh ride or the excitement of dog sledding, Grand County offers an array of snowy delights to create lasting winter memories.
During the holidays Winding River Resort hosts sleigh rides from mid-December to mid-January across their gorgeous ranch that borders Rocky Mountain National Park. After you ride make sure to tour their incredible antique sleigh and carriage museum on the property!
Nordic Skiing – The Grand Lake Nordic Center is one of the top spots in Grand County for cross-country skiing, featuring 35km of meticulously groomed trails, a rental center and a lesson program. Don’t miss their monthly Full Moon Ski events where people ski (or snowshoe) to a trail-side bonfire with a hot beverage station. Outside of Grand Lake, the YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby and The Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Tabernash are also spectacular destinations for Nordic enthusiasts. Check out The Grand Nordic website for a ton of wonderful information about Nordic Skiing in Grand County!
Snowmobiling – Grand Lake has been dubbed the “Snowmobiling Capital of Colorado” thanks to its ample backcountry terrain with access to over 300 miles of snow-covered trails (including 150 miles of groomed trails) through wooded forests and over scenic ridgelines offering views of the frozen lakes below. The Town of Grand Lake also maintains snow-packed roads so snowmobilers can ride straight into town and park their machines along the boardwalk. The US Forest Service allows vehicles less than 1,000 lbs. on the ice. All snowmobiles operated on public lands or in the state of Colorado must be registered with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. If you need equipment there are several places where you can rent a snowmobile in Grand Lake or sign up for a guided tour. Check Out On The Trail Snowmobile Rentals
Curious about trail conditions? Check out the Grand Lake Trail Groomers website for an up-to-date list of open trails, snow conditions, trail maps and more!
Ice Fishing – The Grand Lake area draws ice fishing fanatics far and wide to drop a line through the frozen surfaces of its three lakes: Grand Lake, Shadow Mountain Reservoir and Lake Granby. On winter weekends the town of Grand Lake is flooded with ambitious anglers hoping to reel in a trophy trout or kokanee salmon for cash prizes. Trying your hand at this unique lake town tradition is a must-do for visitors. Contact one of the area’s expert guides for lessons, gear and ice safety information.
Wildlife Viewing – Winter in Grand Lake is a great time for viewing wildlife. The snow makes it easier to spot and track many animals, especially moose, fox, elk and deer. Although the Osprey leave town when the temps drop, the bald eagles swoop in to set-up shop for the winter and fish the frigid waters of the Colorado River. The best place to see them is near the Green Ridge campground on Shadow Mountain Reservoir where a designated viewing platform provides a picture-perfect spot to observe these majestic birds in their nests from a safe distance.
Downhill Skiing – Grand Lake is surrounded by stunning snow-covered peaks that beckon to experienced backcountry skiers. For those who prefer lift-accessed terrain, a beautiful 45-minute drive will bring you to Winter Park Resort, a world-class ski destination. Beginners and families with children will also enjoy the more affordable alpine offerings of Granby Ranch, located just 20 minutes from Grand Lake.