Description - The Arapaho National Recreation Area (ANRA) is managed by the Forest Service to provide high quality recreation, conservation of scenic and historic values and stewardship of natural resources. Maintenance of water quality and quantity are paramount in the multiple-use management of the ANRA and surrounding National Forest Lands. The ANRA encompasses over 36,000 acres and contains five major lakes. Grand Lake, the largest natural lake in Colorado, is located just outside the ANRA, northeast of Shadow Lake. The reservoirs were developed to provide water from the west slope, to Colorado's east slope.<
Copyright: L. Carr-USDA Forest Service
The biggest draw to the area are the five lakes that have been called the Great Lakes of Colorado. Lake Granby encompasses 7,256 acres, and is the second largest body of water in Colorado. Monarch Lake covers 150 acres and maintains a constant level to support a high quality non-motorized recreation experience. Shadow Mountain Lake, 1,400 acres, is a shallow reservoir connected by a canal to Grand Lake allowing boat passage between the two bodies of water. Willow Creek Reservoir, 750 acres, is oriented toward fishing and canoeing with power boats restricted to a "no wake" speed. Meadow Creek Reservoir, 50 acres, lies close to 10,000 and is open to non motorized water craft with many opportunities for camping in the area.
A vast array of wildlife inhabit the ANRA including elk, deer, moose, coyote, bobcat, bear, red fox, badger, beaver, ground and pine squirrels, chipmunks, bald and golden eagles, osprey, five species of trout, and kokanee salmon. When hiking through the woods you may identify lodgepole pine, aspen, engelmann and blue spruce and sub alpine fir. Shrub species in the region consist of sagebrush, alder and willow.
Recreation - Visitors can enjoy a wide variety of water sports on the "Great Lakes of Colorado" found within the ANRA. Boats of all kinds are available to rent at many of the marinas. Boat-in-camping is possible along the northeast shores of Lake Granby. Have a boat-in-picnic on an island- tables and fire grates are provided for picnicking on two islands in Shadow Mountain Lake. For a quiet, remote canoe or row boating experience visit Monarch Lake or Meadow Creek Reservoir where only non motorized boats are allowed.
The waters of the ANRA are open year-round to fishing, subject to Colorado regulations. A Colorado fishing license is required. Rainbow, mackinaw, brown, cutthroat and brook trout and kokanee salmon are found in the lakes and streams.
Ice Fishing is very popular from late December through the end of February. The reservoirs on the eastern slope of the Rockies are filled in the winter months so that spring runoff can be trapped in the west-side reservoirs within the ANRA. The pumping activities associated with this process cause the ice to be unstable and extreme caution is advised. Open water is common even in the coldest months. Ice fishing structures should be removed daily.
Barrier Free facilities are provided at Point Park picnic area and fishing pier. Look for more barrier-free facilities in the ANRA in the years to come. Campgrounds are located throughout the ANRA. For a large group of people, Cutthroat Bay Group Camp can accommodate up to two groups of 50 people in a rustic setting. Reservations are required. For a primitive camping experience, backcountry camping is permitted in two areas designated for dispersed camping.
Hike portions of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail without climbing to the top of the world. Both the Knight Ridge Trail and the High Lonesome Trail have been designated as the route for the CDNST. Enjoy a horseback trip on the many trails within or near the ANRA. Mountain Biking for all skill levels can be found near and around Meadow Creek Reservoir. Other trails can be found in areas surrounding the ANRA.
Hunting of both large and small game mammals and waterfowl is permitted within the ANRA and is governed by Colorado State Law.
The Stillwater Boat Launch parking area is plowed in the winter and provides parking for snowmobilers and ice fishing. Although no marked snowmobile or cross-country ski trails are set up in the ANRA, both activities are allowed. Immediately adjacent to the ANRA are many groomed cross-country ski and snowmobile trails. Contact the Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce at 970-627-3402, for more information.
Climate - Elevations in the ANRA range from 8,200 to 11,000 feet. For summer, expect warm days and cool to freezing nights, especially in the high country. Many of the points of interest in the highest elevations remain inaccessible until early or mid-July. Be prepared for both warm and chilly weather. The rainy season lasts from mid-July through August, when afternoon thunderstorms should be expected. The first snow can fly any time after the first of September! Although the skies are often sunny, winter temperatures can be very cold. Abundant snowfall accumulates, which supports many winter activities found on the forests.
The Arapaho National Recreation Area (ANRA) is located in Grand County, along the upper reaches of the Colorado River Valley. It lies north of Granby and on the western border of Rocky Mountain National Park.