There’s something therapeutic about being on the water. Whether you’re paddling a kayak on a lake, casting a line in hopes of a trophy fish, spending quality time with friends and family on a pontoon boat, immersed in the water on a swim, or taking it all in from shore, research has shown that being around water is good for you. The even better news is, with several lakes to choose from, Grand County has no shortages of bodies of water to recreate and rejuvenate.
Nestled between Rocky Mountain National Park and the Never Summer Wilderness at the headwaters of the Colorado River lies Colorado’s largest and deepest natural lake, Grand Lake. The 265-foot deep lake fills a glaciated valley a mile from the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. The highlight of the lake’s northern shore is the Town of Grand Lake with over 60 shops and restaurants. Home to one of the oldest yacht clubs in the west, sailors take advantage of the wind that sweeps the region. In the winter, Grand Lake is regarded as the snowmobile capital of Colorado, with miles of trails to explore all throughout the region. Nordic skiing and snowshoeing are also popular in the area. Visit Grand Lake if you want to embrace solitude, with the exception of a potential moose sighting along the shore or elk bugling in the distance.
Grand Lake’s sister lake, Shadow Mountain Lake was created by the Shadow Mountain Dam. Although this lake is man-made, it forms a continuous body of water with Grand Lake and is separated by gates. Snow-capped peaks and pine trees surround the 75 campsites at Green Ridge Campground on the lake’s southern shore. There are also two boat launches at the campground to put in motor boats, jet skis, sailboats, or kayaks. Anglers will enjoy testing their luck in hopes of catching brown trout, rainbow trout and salmon. Grand Lake and Lake Granby often steal the show, leaving Shadow Mountain Lake in the shadows so to speak. So if it’s seclusion you’re after, then an early-morning boat ride on the uninhabited western shore transforms Shadow Mountain Lake into a paddler’s paradise.
Lake Granby boasts a massive 40 miles of shoreline and 7,256 surface acres. It is the third largest body of water in Colorado and is a popular place for boaters and fishermen. Sitting at an elevation of 8,280, The Lake Granby Yacht Club is among the highest in the country. There are three boat launches, and like Shadow Mountain, the lake is well-stocked with trout and salmon. If it’s options you’re after, as one of Colorado’s largest bodies of water, Lake Granby doesn’t disappoint. Seemingly countless coves and marinas along its massive shoreline offer boaters plenty of opportunities to explore this treasure that sits on the doorstep of Rocky Mountain National Park. Renting a pontoon boat from one of the lake’s marinas will offer one of the most comfortable way to explore the large area.
Lake Granby was created by the construction of Granby Dam in 1950 as part of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Colorado-Big Thompson Project, With 80-percent of the state’s precipitation falling on the Western Slope and 80-percent of the state’s population living east of the Continental Divide, a federal diversion project was designed to collect headwaters of the Colorado River, which lie west of the Continental Divide and divert it to the Front Range and plains where most of the state’s population resides. The project consists of 10 reservoirs, 18 dams, six power plants and a 13-mile tunnel known as the Alva B. Adams Tunnel, which runs through the Continental Divide, under Rocky Mountain National Park. The tunnel is capable of transferring 550 cubic feet of water per second.
If getting away from the heart of the action is more of your speed, then Williams Fork Reservoir provides a serene escape from it all. The 217-foot high Williams Fork Dam, built in 1959, provides electricity to the Western Slope and Denver metropolitan areas. The reservoir, operated by Denver Water, provides a shoreline of nearly 16 miles and a surface area of 1,860 acres where water activity enthusiasts can enjoy boating, fishing and windsurfing. Fly fishing on the Williams Fork River creates an opportunity for anglers to land brown, cutthroat and rainbow trout. The weather may be cool in the winter, but Williams Fork Reservoir is a hot spot for ice fishing where northern pike, mackinaw and kokanee salmon dwell. The Hot Sulphur State Wildlife Area nearby offers camping and picnicking areas, among an abundance of wildlife viewing. After a day of outdoor recreation, have a relaxing soak in the natural hot springs at Hot Sulphur Springs Resort & Spa. Williams Fork Reservoir will appeal to those looking to get off the beaten path. Anglers will love the challenge of hooking trophy-size northern pike.
A 10 minute drive north of Kremmling lies the shores of Wolford Mountain Reservoir featuring expansive views and opportunities to launch private or rented boats. The 48 site Wolford Campground offers a place to stay, along with boat rentals, boat ramps and picnic areas. Like the other lakes in Grand County, the reservoir is stocked with trout and kokanee salmon. Anglers from all over flock to the annual Wolford Ice Fishing Contest in February. Nearby trails provide plenty of off-water recreation like hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Hunting in the fall and snowshoeing in the winter ensures a year-round outdoor recreational paradise. Windswept mountain plains paint a panoramic picture of this unique Colorado landscape conveniently bridging Grand and Summit Counties.
With year-round recreational opportunities like camping, boating and fishing on five lakes, along with endless opportunities to explore trails in and around the region, Grand County has an abundance of gems in its treasure chest. There has never been a better time to invest in a vacation property to enjoy all the region has to offer so contact us to begin your search for real estate in Grand County.