Grand Lake cabins
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Grand Lake vacation rentals
Your guide to Grand Lake
Small but mighty, Grand Lake is among northern Colorado’s chain of charming mountain towns, within a few hours’ drive of Estes Park, about an hour from Winter Park, and about a half-hour from neighboring Granby. An idyllic location for European hunting parties in the mid-19th century, Grand Lake was officially established in 1879 and experienced a short-lived silver rush that transformed its economy. After the mines closed a few years later, the hunting and outdoors enthusiasts kept returning, slowly building Grand Lake into a friendly retreat for outdoors adventures — which remains true today. The village’s population swells in the warmer months, drawing hiking and mountain biking enthusiasts to its trails, and fishing and boating aficionados to cabins along its eponymous lake. Rustic and quirky, the town is run by a few hundred locals who are proud to have found their sweet spot in Colorado’s gorgeous high country.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Grand Lake?
Like many of Colorado’s mountain towns, Grand Lake has a sub-alpine climate, and long stretches of very cold weather. On sunny summer days, temperatures can run as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but drop tremendously after dark, sometimes as low as freezing. The rest of the year, Grand Lake experiences mild to cold temperatures, averaging in the 30s and 40s during the day, and again dropping to much colder temperatures after sundown, often bottoming out to single digits in the winter. Snow is ever-present in all but the summer months. From October through April, Grand Lake can see as much as 20 inches of snow in a single month, creating a winter wonderland for fans of skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports.
What are the top things to do in Grand Lake?
Synonymous with the town, the state’s largest, deepest natural lake is truly grand. It’s accessible via a few public inlets spanning its perimeter, and there’s a sandy beach at Gene Stover Lakefront Park near the marina. To take in the views without the beach crowds, head to the boardwalk at picture-perfect Point Park.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is a major destination year-round, especially in the warmer months when camping, biking, hiking, and fishing bring visitors from all over the country. There are more than 300 miles of trails throughout the park, including the epic Trail Ridge Road, which crests at 12,000 feet.
Shadow Mountain Lookout
A quick 10-minute drive south of town, Shadow Mountain Lookout is a three-story patrol cabin built in the 1930s to serve Rocky Mountain National Park, and is the only surviving fire lookout of its kind. Its elevation at the base of Shadow Mountain provides intermittent views of Grand Lake, which makes it a popular day hike destination from the Grand Lake East Shore trailhead on the southwest corner of the lake.