Eat, Play, Stay: Grand County, Colorado

Mountain Biking, fishing, hiking, and remote camping abound in this one-stop playground.

Located a two-hour drive from Denver, Grand County has grown to include a slew of new restaurants, hotels, shops, and recreational offerings. The rural landscape—which covers more ground than the state of Rhode Island—features four lakes, two ski resorts, and one national park, plus seven distinct small towns to explore.

EAT

Grand County has ranching roots, so it’s a great place to indulge a hankering for red meat. The Fitch Ranch Café (fitchranchmeatsandmarket.com) in Granby sources its sirloin from the family ranch down the road for dishes like corned beef hash and chicken fried steak. Enjoying a classic cheeseburger and milkshake combo from Miyauchi’s Snack Bar is a must during Grand Lake summers. And the Brisket Mania Pizza at the Middle Park Meat Company is worth the scenic drive down the Colorado River Headwaters National Scenic Byway to Kremmling. The town of Fraser is your best bet for craft booze, with three breweries, a distillery, and a winery all within a few blocks radius.

PLAY

Although Trestle Bike Park is Grand County’s crown jewel for downhill mountain biking, visitors should also check out Granby Ranch (great for families). A seemingly infinite number of trails in the surrounding Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest and Indian Peaks Wilderness areas are easily accessible—including a portion of the 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail—for hiking, snowshoeing, and camping (just keep an eye on local fire restrictions, as the county experienced a devastating wildfire—one of the largest in Colorado history—in the fall of 2020). Anglers will find an abundance of brookies and German browns on the Fraser and Colorado rivers, and those who drop a line into Lake Granby or Grand Lake, the largest alpine lake in Colorado, might reel in a monster laker. For a truly local experience, the High Country Stampede Rodeo (highcountrystampede.com) is the place to be on summertime Friday nights.

STAY

The county has seen several newcomers to the hotel scene expanding lodging options for all budgets. Gravity Haus (gravityhaus.com) in Winter Park features a cutting-edge fitness center, hip cocktail lounge and its signature “haus quiver” amenity, where members have access to a gear closet stocked with top-of-the-line skis, bikes, paddle boards, and more. Families love the River Run RV Resort in Granby, where your campsite or cabin rental provides access to a swimming pool, bowling alley, and two on-site bars. For a romantic getaway, it doesn’t get much more idyllic than cozying up in a cabin in the woods such as those at the Grand Lake Lodge (grandlakelodge.com) or Colorado Cabin Adventures (coloradocabinadventures.com).

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