Things to Do in Grand Lake

Resting at 8,369 feet in elevation, Grand Lake offers Rocky Mountain recreation, shopping, dining and seasonal events. Whether you want to spot moose in wide-open meadows, sit back by the lake with sunny vista views or explore handcrafted goods at boutiques, this is the place to plan your next Colorado adventure. Learn about timed-entry requirements for Rocky Mountain National Park and get tips to roam responsibly in Grand County.

Outdoor Activities

Grand Lake, the largest natural lake in Colorado, welcomes boaters, anglers and beachside swimmers all summer long. From the water you can gaze at the craggy peaks of nearby Rocky Mountain National Park, where you’ll find lesser-traveled hiking paths and woodsy campsites. Lace up your hiking boots and set out on rolling trails throughout the Kawuneeche Valley to rushing waterfalls and aspen-covered cliff sides.

As the air cools in Grand Lake, the trees around the water turn to autumn auburns and golds — best viewed on the hike to Adams Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park — where you can see the whole town from above. Hear bugling elk as they wander through the park during peak wildlife-viewing season or pack a map and trek the trails in nearby Arapaho National Forest (learn about Arapaho National Recreation Area passes and fees).

When temperatures drop, many Grand Lake residents drive to town on their favorite winter transportation, a snowmobile. You too can zip around in style by renting one and taking a guided tour with a local outfitter like Grand Adventures. Strap on some ice skates and glide on the lake or grab a hot cocoa and explore the shops. Cross-country ski through the Grand Lake Nordic Center to explore snowy trails or spot Mount Baldy’s silvered peak from across the frozen lake on a winter walk in town.

In early spring, you can still sneak in snowy activities like snowshoeing and ice fishing. By the latter half of the season, the frost begins to thaw and residents welcome early signs of warm weather. Pack a jacket and enjoy the tranquil pathways and snowcapped views on the East Shore Trail or the wheelchair-accessible Coyote Valley Trail.

Three people kayak on Grand Lake with Rocky Mountain National Park peaks in the background

Events

Our tight-knit community hosts signature events throughout the year. In winter, jingle all the way to the holiday tree lighting, watch fireworks pop at the annual New Year’s Eve display, or sip beer on the frozen lake and root for your favorite team during the Pond Hockey Classic. Spring brings the annual Memorial Day Parade, with patriotic ceremonies featuring veterans, horses and service groups.

In summer, watch as sailors race across the water at rousing regattas, buy handcrafted goods at the Arts and Crafts festivals or jam out to rambling bands at the Grand Lake Folk Festival. And in fall, bring the kids for spook-tactular activities and trick-or-treating on the boardwalk. In every season, check out workshops held by the Rocky Mountain Folk School, where you can learn to paint, build and craft beautiful works of art right in town. Keep an eye on the events calendar to see what’s coming up.

Shopping

Stroll along the historic boardwalk, home of the Grand Lake Creative District, where you’ll find art galleries, handmade goods and Western-inspired gifts and souvenirs. Shop handcrafted necklaces, rings, rugs and more at Bob Scott’s Authentic Indian Jewelry. Admire colorful canvases that depict the region at artist Marjorie Cranston’s Jackstraw Mountain Gallery. Or reserve some tickets for a dazzling evening performance at the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre.

When you’re ready to explore Grand County’s trails, lakes and rivers, check out the gear and outdoors stores. In need of some apparel, rentals or camping essentials (plus some recs on the best trails and backcountry camping spots)? Head to Never Summer Mountain Products. Browse hiking attire and climbing equipment while sipping java at Otherside Gear and Coffee Shop. And for a day out on the water, rent kayaks, canoes and motorboats at Beacon Landing Marina, Grand Lake Marina or Trail Ridge Marina.

For a souvenir that transports you back to your Grand Lake vacation every time you look at it, check out some gift shops. Gifts Unlimited has T-shirts and sweatshirts, toys and accessories like sunglasses and jewelry. Out West Giftfitters has cards, clothing, magnets and other trinkets that make the perfect present for a loved one. And Quackers Gift Shop has a massive collection of themed rubber duckies, plushies and chocolatey fudge that kids will love.

A group of people walking down a sidewalk surrounded by small shops in Grand Lake, Colorado.

Dining

Getting hungry? Luckily, there are plenty of restaurants in Grand Lake that will satisfy. In the morning, order up some coffee and breakfast from a cafe. The Hub has a sun-soaked patio right downtown, where you can snack on breakfast burritos and sip some freshly brewed joe. Meanwhile, Blue Water Bakery Cafe is the place to go when you’re craving fluffy cinnamon rolls, buttery croissants and sweet coffee cakes.

Take in sparkling views of the water from above while you dine on grilled elk chops at Grand Lake Lodge’s Huntington House Tavern. Or stop in and grab a cheesy slice from White Buffalo Pizza, right on the boardwalk. Snag a spot on the patio at Rockies to listen to summer-evening concerts and snack on juicy burgers and crispy onion rings. Whether you’re looking for a warm bowl of pho or some Southwest-style fare, you’re sure to find something delicious while you explore town.

And if your sweet tooth activates after dinner, stop by one of the town’s sweet shops. Nothing is better than a big scoop of ice cream after a day of splashing around in the lake. Down by the water, order up a big scoop of homemade ice cream, including several delicious non-dairy options, at Miyauchi's Snack Bar. Try special flavor-infused soft serve or a “Moose Poop” sundae with peanut butter cups, marshmallows and cocoa syrup at Ceaira’s Sweet Shop. Or get rich truffles, cashew clusters, chocolate-coated confections and more at Grand Lake Chocolates.

Visit Go Grand Lake

Things to Do in Grand Lake, Colorado

Looking for even more trip ideas for your Grand Lake vacation? Get tips for things to do, places to stay and more.

Your Guide to Grand Lake

8 Restaurants in Grand Lake for the Perfect Night Out

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Campgrounds in Rocky Mountain National Park

Grand County’s campgrounds include public campgrounds in Rocky Mountain National Park and Arapaho National Recreation.

Itinerary: 1 Day in Rocky Mountain National Park

Only have one day to experience the breathtaking beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park's west side? Use this itinerary.

Grand Lake Businesses

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