Forests & Rivers
There’s no denying that the Granby area is beautiful. Surrounded by mountains, lakes, and rivers, visitors from all around the world descend upon our quaint mountain town for the endless outdoor experiences waiting to be explored.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
Representing 415 square miles of natural, prehistoric, and Native American history, Rocky Mountain National Park boasts mountain peaks, wildlife, and photography opportunities that attract visitors from all over the world. Park activities are vast, including hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, fishing, camping, and biking.
Trail Ridge Road, the park’s “highway to the sky,” connects the east and west sides of the park, gaining elevation of more than 12,000 feet at its peak. This scenic drive is one not to be missed, with many designated pullovers that allow you to take in the views.
ARAPAHO NATIONAL FOREST
On July 1, 1908 President Theodore Roosevelt established the Arapaho National Forest. Consisting of 723,744 acres and almost completely encompassing Granby, the forest includes the high Rockies and river valleys, the Colorado River and the South Platte River, and even crosses the Continental Divide.
There are six designated wilderness areas within the Arapaho National Forest boundaries: Byers Peak Wilderness, Indian Peaks Wilderness, James Peak Wilderness, Mount Evans Wilderness, Never Summer Wilderness, and Vasquez Peak Wilderness. These areas retain their primeval character and natural conditions and are the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for a remote backcountry experience.
The mighty Colorado River runs an astonishing 1,450 miles, traveling through parts of seven U.S. states. And best of all, it starts right here in Grand County! The headwaters of the Colorado River are located in Rocky Mountain National Park, beginning at the Continental Divide at La Poudre Pass. As the river flows out of the park, it enters Shadow Mountain Lake and Lake Granby, eventually joining the Fraser River, a hot spot for fly fishing. It then flows west through Gore Canyon, heading out of Grand County.
Fly fishermen from around the world travel here for the opportunity to fish the Colorado River’s Gold Medal waters. Rafters and kayakers also enjoy the challenges provided by the river as it winds its way through the area. If a scenic drive is more your speed, jump on Highway 40 and travel the 80 miles of the Colorado River Headwaters Scenic Byway.
WILLIAMS FORK RIVER
A tributary to the Colorado River, the Williams Fork River originates at the western slope of the Continental Divide, offering 33-miles of prime fly-fishing opportunities. Anglers take their chance at catching brown and rainbow trout, or head nearby to the Williams Fork Reservoir to hook northern pike and kokanee salmon.
Camping is a popular activity in this area. The beautiful and quiet Williams Fork Valley houses Sugarloaf Campground, a first-come, first-served 11-spot campsite along the river.
Rocky Mountain National Park offers places for family fun, adventure, solitude, recreation, and countless other pursuits. From hiking, horseback riding, camping, scenic drives, wildlife watching, picnics, fishing, and much more, you are sure to love and enjoy this beautiful place!