- The Granby and Grand Lake area is surrounded by public lands. Much of the public lands in the lower elevations are made up of Bureau of Land Management lands managed by the Craig District, Kremmling Resource Area BLM. The Arapaho National Recreation Area and most of the higher elevations are managed by the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, Sulphur Ranger District. Rocky Mountain National Park lies to the north and east of Grand Lake.
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
Visitors to the Granby and Grand Lake area will soon discover the Arapaho National Recreation Area and its many water oriented activities. Lake Granby and Shadow Mountain Lake are man-made reservoirs linked by a channel to Grand Lake, Colorado's largest natural body of water. These lakes, along with Willow Creek Reservoir are part of the Colorado-Big Thompson water diversion project. Two smaller bodies of water, Meadow Creek Reservoir and Monarch Lake are also located within the Recreation Area.
Portions of the Indian Peaks, Byers Peak, Vasquez Peak and Never Summer Wilderness Areas lie within the Granby and Grand Lake area. Much of this wilderness straddles the Continental Divide. These areas encompass forests, vast areas of alpine tundra, numerous cirque basins, remnant alpine glaciers, and many streams and lakes.
Campgrounds are found throughout this area. The largest and most developed of these campgrounds are located in the Arapaho National Recreation Area. There are three campgrounds in the Williams Fork Valley. Other campgrounds are scattered around the Fraser and Winter Park area.
The Colorado River, Fraser River, Williams Fork River, St. Louis Creek, Willow Creek and Vasquez Creek are some of the rivers and creeks which run through this area. Combined with the lakes on the district, there are excellent fishing opportunities.
The Winter Park/Mary Jane and Silver Creek ski areas provide the focus of winter recreation on the district. In addition to downhill skiing and snowboarding, the Granby/Grand Lake area offers miles of trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.
Recreation - Summer activities around the many lakes includes motor boating, water-skiing, sailing, canoeing and fishing. Several of the reservoirs are designated for non-motorized activities only.
Camp sites are provided in 13 developed Forest Service campgrounds in the area. Dispersed or backcountry camping opportunities are virtually endless. A permit is required for camping in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.
The trails in the area provide opportunities for hiking and backpacking. Some of the non-wilderness trails are designated mountain bike trails. Some trails and four-wheel drive roads are open for ATVs and motorcycles.
Downhill skiing is the most popular winter activity but snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are also very popular on the district. Several of the lakes in the Arapaho National Recreation Area are accessible for ice fishing.
Climate - Elevations in the area range from around 8,000 feet along the Colorado River to over 13,000 feet along the Continental Divide.
Summer weather includes frequent afternoon thunderstorms from mid-June through September. Electrical storm activity is a special consideration in the higher elevations. Daytime high temperatures average around 70 degrees, with lows occasionally below freezing.
Autumn weather is more stable with clear, cool days from early September to late October. Expect freezing temperatures at night, even snow is possible. Early autumn is a great time for travel in this area.
Winter weather storm systems from the northwest start in early November, depositing large amounts of snow on leeward sides of mountain ridges. Winter weather can continue in the highest elevations until early June. Low temperatures are often below zero. Snowfall averages well over 100 inches in the higher elevations.
The Granby and Grand Lake area includes the area just west of the Continental Divide, in the upper Colorado River Valley. The area is about 90 miles northwest of Denver and about 20 miles northwest of Winter Park, on the southwest end of Rocky Mountain National Park. This area includes Grand Lake, Lake Granby, Shadow Mountain Lake, and the other lakes of the Arapaho National Recreation Area, the Fraser River Valley and the Williams Fork River Valley.