Skip to main content

Grand County Gems

Hey All,

I have recently had two renters ask for our personal recommendations as to things to see and things to do in Grand County. While admittedly a biased list, please find below some of our favorite activities and venues in Grand County. Enjoy! And, we'd love to hear of your own suggestions and additions.

       
Volario's

Eating and Drinking

There are many fine dining and drinking establishments throughout the valley. Here are some of our favorites.

Winter Park

  • Fontenot's Seafood and Grill -- excellent poor boy's and New Orleans-style related fare; interesting interior and bar
  • Fraser Valley Hot Dog -- the best and most varied selection of hot dogs for hundreds of miles around; be prepared to wait a bit to get your take-out dogs
  • Hernando's Pizza Pub -- a Winter Park classic with excellent deep dish pizza and a dollar wallpaper decor
  • Mountain Rose -- excellent breakfasts in a cozy setting
  • Rudi's Deli -- good sandwich lunches for take out
  • The Ditch on 40 -- upstairs overlooking US 40, this place has some of the best green chile around!
  • The Library Sports Grill and Brewery -- good bar-food fare, but the local brews and bar are excellent, plus nice pool tables upstairs
  • Volario's -- Superb Northern Italian cuisine with a great eating location outside in the Summer time next to Vasquez Creek in downtown WP.

Fraser

  • Crooked Creek Saloon -- good food (check out the chili!) with a friendly bar and often music; Tuesday's are trivia games night
  • El Pacifico X-press -- on US 40, with quick take out of tasty tacos and other Mexican favorites
  • Sharky's Eatery -- HUGE breakfasts that will last you all day; their breakfast burritos are great before a day of skiing.
Crooked Creek Saloon
Heck's Tavern at Devil's Thumb

Tabernash and Devil's Thumb

  • Heck's Tavern (Devil's Thumb Ranch) -- spectacular room with superb food; happy hour is also a great time to drop by for a drink, often with live music
  • Ranch House (Devil's Thumb Ranch) -- a bit pricier than Heck's, but the food is worth it
  • Tabernash Tavern -- some of the best dining in the valley; reservations are generally recommended.

Granby and Elsewhere

  • Brickhouse 40 (Granby) -- good pizza and burgers
  • Lewis Sweet Shop (Empire) -- on US 40 heading up to Winter Park, stop here for fantastic shakes and malts, and pretty damn good burgers, too!
  • Mustachio's on the Lake (Granby) -- on a nice day, superb deck to sit and have a drink and take in the view of Lake Granby; have not tried the food.
Mustachio's Deck
Skiing at Mary Jane

Activities

There are so many activities in the county, at all times of the year, that it is impossible to list all of them here. Below are some of our favorites. I end this article with some links to still further activities.

Skiing

If your group is intermediate level and above, we recommend Mary Jane, which is on the left side of Winter Park Resort. Besides the free shuttle, park at Mary Jane base or the Corona parking lot.

Winter Park has some of the least expensive annual ski passes in the United States; it is possible to also add Copper Mountain or Steamboat Springs to annual passes. If you will be skiing for more than 4-5 days, check out an annual pass.

There are also a tremendous amount of cross-country skiing trails across the county.

Fishing

Though there is flyfishing on the Fraser River in Winter Park and heading out of it to Fraser, you need to go further if you want to avoid seeing or being on US 40. Further, the combination of private lands and railroad rights-of-way makes finding good access points close to Winter Park a bit of a chore. Much further out on the Colorado River and on the Williams offers the best flyfishing. The BLM provides a basic intro to local fishing spots that I have found pretty good with my own experience. If you contact me offline, I will provide some specific recommendations for some of my favorite spots.

Flyfishing the Colorado River
Hiking in the Rocky Mountain National Park

Hiking

There are hundreds of great hiking spots in Winter Park and Grand County. Maps contained in the townhome should be reviewed to see some of the options, both close and further away. However, here are some of our favorite spots:

Seasonal Activities

  • Sleigh rides (Devil's Thumb Ranch) -- the Ranch puts on a good ride, with a chance to meet the various horses, bulls and cattle that make up the animal population; hot cocoa or cool cider brackets the trip depending on season
  • Snowmobile Guided Tour (Winter Park) -- form a group and take a 1/2 day trip up to Corona Pass on the Continental Divide. On clear days, this is SPECTACULAR and a helluva lot of fun! Make sure and ask for Snowmobile Steve
  • Snowshoeing -- many local trails
  • Free Thursday music in Winter Park -- free concerts are offered at Hideaway Park in downtown WP in the Summer
  • Mountain biking -- many trails, and competitions at Granby Ranch and Winter Park Resort; learn why Winter Park is called the "Mountain Biking Capital USA"
  • Music Festivals -- jazz, blues, bluegrass . . .
  • Pole Creek Golf Club (Tabernash) -- an absolutely spectacular setting with a 27-hole professional course and very nice clubhouse
  • Rodeo -- in early Summer, there is rodeo in Granby in Jun/July, in Fraser in July/Aug . They are a hoot!
A Winter Park Music Festival
Grand Lake, Colorado

Drives and Places to Visit

Short hour drives to multiple day trips can center around our Winter Park location. Here are some of the drives and places to visit we particularly recommend.

Drives

  • Berthoud Pass (generally need to cross to get into the valley)
  • Colorado River Headwaters Scenic Byway -- follow the start of the Colorado River down toward Vail; the last portion beyond Kremmling requires a capable vehicle on the gravel; to State Bridge
  • Gore Pass
  • Grand Lake -- a charming, Swiss-like town of restaurants and galleries on Grand Lake; also boat rentals available
  • Rocky Mountain National Park -- the western gateway is in Grand County; can cross the Continental Divide to Estes Park (pass closed in Winter)
  • CO 125 to Rand and Walden (Colorado Moose Capital).

Places to Visit

Aspen on Road to Rand
Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre

Other Noteworthy Locations

  • Elk Horn Gallery (Winter Park) -- the other nicest art gallery in the valley
  • Frameworx (Winter Park) -- framing and gallery store next to the Elk Horn owned by our next-door neighbor
  • Grand Lake Art Gallery (Grand Lake) -- extensive, nicest art gallery in the valley
  • Grand Park Community Recreation Center -- with fitness center, climbing wall, water slide and pool; fee charged
  • Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre (Grand Lake) -- great repertory theatre in the summer time (June - Sept) with professional acting
  • The Foundry Cinema and Bowl (Winter Park) -- this new facility is the only cinema in the valley and also offers bowling, beer, pizza and games and pool; beer and food allowed in the theatre; movies often sell out early!

Also, check out these standard listings of activities in the county:

I hope you can find something worthwhile in the listing above. And, again, we'd love to hear of your own suggestions.

Best, Mike Bergman