History & Culture
Sure, it’s known as an outdoor adventurer’s paradise, but Granby is also a gold mine for lovers of history and culture, too. Explore the past and discover secret stories of this high-country settlement.
On a clear summer morning, the Grand County Airport is buzzing with activity. Head over to watch all manner of small planes take off and land or chat with owners in their hangars. The onsite Emily Warner Field Aviation Museum is a small but fascinating collection of exhibits honoring local military veterans and airlines as well as aviation pioneer Emily Warner, the first woman captain of a scheduled U.S. airline who called Grand County home for 25 years. While there, you can also “fly” the local terrain with a real flight simulator.
After a quick lunch in Granby, head to the Moffat Road Railroad Museum. This amazing museum features artifacts from the Moffat Road Railroad, the highest standard gauge railroad ever built in the United States, connecting Denver to the mountains and beyond. The main attraction of the museum is the enormous Christmas model train setup, on display year-round. Grab a takeout dinner and picnic at Kaibab Park, across the street from the railroad museum. End the evening with a stroll through Granby admiring the town’s many vibrant and colorful murals.
Today you’ll head north for the day and evening, so pack along some clothes for dinner and a show after your day’s adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park. Discover the hidden side of the park with a private tour from Lively Tours and Talks. Owner Dave Lively, a historian and gifted storyteller, will shine the light on the hidden history of the area and share stories few others know while taking you to off-the-beaten path spots throughout the park.
After the four-hour tour, head to the town of Grand Lake for a guided pontoon boat tour of Grand Lake at Grand Lake Marina. You’ll discover the unique Grand Lake–style architecture and float by summer homes belonging to captains of industry, as well as enjoy peering into boathouses and admiring some of the old Chris Craft boats that call Grand Lake home. Stroll the boardwalks and old shops, grab an early bite for dinner, and head in to an evening performance at the renowned Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre. Their summer theatre program draws actors from all over North America and brings Broadway to the Rocky Mountains.
The county seat of Hot Sulphur Springs, just 10 minutes west of Granby, is also home to the Pioneer Village Museum, which chronicles the early history and settlement of Grand County. Kids can clamber around an old caboose, visit the old schoolhouse, and explore the town jail, where you can even read names and notes from prisoners carved into the walls. Inside the museum there are exhibits with Native American history and jewelry as well as detailing early settlers’ lives. Don’t miss the little gift shop, which has wonderful souvenirs and local books.
Spend the afternoon splashing and soaking at the Hot Sulphur Springs Resort & Spa, a series of 21 hot mineral pools including two large enough for swimming. The springs were originally a summer campground for Native Americans drawn for their healing properties and the abundant hunting in the area. After you’ve toweled off, head back to Granby for dinner at Brickhouse 40, a lively bar and eatery housed in a former general store built in 1927. Chill out on the patio with a blackberry smash cocktail before settling in for a bowl of Colorado elk chili as you relive your adventures and plan your next visit.