Take the ultimate weekend trip to Grand Lake, Colorado.
Established in 1881, the historic Grand Lake sits at an elevation of over 8,000 feet. It has all of the beauty that Rocky Mountain National Park has, but a quieter atmosphere. If you’re looking for the dual beauty of a lake and the rolling mountainside, this is a place that you need to visit!
Things to Do in Grand Lake
Trail Ridge Road into Rocky Mountain National Park
Trail Ridge Road is recognized as the highest continuous paved road in the United States. The views are arguably some of the best in the lower 48, as this road tops out at 12,183 feet and puts you on level with the surrounding peaks. For immense 360 degree panoramic views of classic Colorado landscape, all from the convenience of your car, this road is a must. From Grand Lake, simply take highway 34 north towards Estes Park.
Some of the most beautiful landscape in Colorado is located in and around Rocky Mountain National Park. These trails below are some recommendations we have for all skill levels, but check out AllTrails for further ideas.
Beginner: North Inlet Trailhead to Cascade Falls
7.5 mile out and back, waterfall, forest and valley views. Great simple day hike for people with limited time or experience hiking. Directions from Grand Lake: From West Portal Road, take a left on Country Road 663. Follow straight, and after crossing Tonahutu Creek, the trailhead will be on your right.
Intermediate: East Inlet Trail to Lone Pine Lake-
10 mile out and back, follows the East Inlet River up to Lone Pine Lake and offers many campsites along the way, camping permits needed, features a waterfall. Directions from Grand Lake: Follow the road that leads to the east side of the lake, past the West Portal, to the East Inlet Trailhead.
Advanced: Never Summer Wilderness (Baker Gulch to Bowen Gulch Lake)
19 mile loop, outstanding landscape views, great trail to backpack, no camping permits needed, dogs allowed on leash. Directions from Grand Lake: Follow Trail Ridge Road north for 9 miles, take a left into the Bowen/Baker Trailhead parking lot.
Best Places to Stay in Grand Lake
Lone Eagle Lodge:
This lodge is located in the heart of the historic Grand Lake Village which means it is within walking distance of the lake, many restaurants, shopping, and other outdoor activities. This lodge is described as a “clean, quiet, cozy, mountain style motel.” In the summer, they also have a deck and barbecue grill open. This motel will be one of your cheaper options when staying in Grand Lake. The prices vary with the type of room and the seasons, but usually they range from $70-$180 a night.
Winding River Resort:
This resort is one of the most popular places to stay in Grand Lake. They have a wide variety of activities, such as, visiting their animal farm, horseback riding, ATV driving, and fishing. They have the option to rent cabins or they have many RV and tent sites. Their camping facilities include showers, restrooms, and laundry, along with a cute gift shop on the resort. For a non-utility site, it is only $38 a night!
Grand Lake Lodge:
This lodge will be your ultimate Colorado mountain paradise. They have breathtaking views of both the mountains and lake. They have a delicious restaurant with seating on their mountainside deck. They have over 70 cabins to choose from. This will be a more expensive option for you, but definitely worth the price. The cabins range from $165-$265 a night depending on the cabin chosen.
Best Places to Eat in Grand Lake
The Stillwater Grill is owned by a French chef who has cooked for widely known people including Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and Michael Jackson. His restaurant offers a delicious take-out, wood-fire cooked pizza option for a night in, happy hour specials, and various entrees including seafood and pasta options.
The O-a Bistro! is a mother-daughter restaurant that features dishes inspired from European, South American, Asian, and Mediterranean cuisine. The have a new menu each week, as well as a huge assortment of wines from around the world. This is an excellent place to stop in for breakfast, or wind down the night with a glass of wine.
Best Places to Go Out in Grand Lake
Grand Lake Brewing:
Grand Lake Brewing boasts an amazing quality beer since the water used is straight from the headwaters of the Colorado River. They use hops and grains from all over the globe which also adds to its uniqueness. Stop on by for a refreshing beer after exploring Grand Lake!
The Sagebrush BBQ & Grill:
This is a great place to hang out after an exciting day in Grand Lake. They have t.v.’s around the bar showing different sports as well as tap beers, wine, and mixed drinks. Their friendly bartenders and waitresses will make sure you’re having a great night!