Long before snowmobilers took to the trails around Grand Lake and cars navigated the curves of Trail Ridge Road, intrepid pioneers, explorers and ranchers were all making their way westward and settling the lands of Colorado. Today, there are still many places around Grand County that bring the Old West to life — here’s where to find them:
A variety of museums and heritage sites throughout the county provide a fascinating glimpse of life in the American West, from the log cabin Kauffman House Museum in Grand Lake to Hot Sulphur Springs’ Pioneer Village Museum, an impressive collection of clothing and artifacts housed in the town’s original schoolhouse. In Granby, the Moffat Road Railroad Museum is a work in progress, but for now there’s a Railroad Interpretive Center Park with several pieces of equipment on display to the public.
To view a moment of history frozen in time, head to the Kremmling Heritage Park. Here you can walk among six historic buildings, including the original Kremmling town jail and old railroad depot, to explore the lives of early Grand County ranchers. Or venture to Rocky Mountain National Park, where the Lulu City Trail near Grand Lake leads intrepid hikers on a 3-plus-mile excursion to the remains of a mining-turned-ghost town.
Look out across a vast expanse and it’s not hard to picture the frontiersman and cowboys who once called these lands home. In Grand County, there are options to tour interpretive sites and original homesteads for a historical perspective, or actually live the life of a Wild West cowboy or cowgirl at numerous dude and guest ranches. For the former, highlights include Cozens Ranch Museum in Fraser, which was the first homestead in the Fraser Valley; the beautiful Kawuneeche Valley location of Holzwarth Historic Homestead; and Rowley Homestead, situated between Tabernash and Granby at Snow Mountain Ranch, where you can dress up in period costumes and doing laundry on a washboard.
Grand County’s guest ranches offer the chance to ride and wrangle, all while experiencing the majesty of the Rocky Mountains. C Lazy U Ranch and Drowsy Water Ranch in Granby, Parshall’s Bar Lazy J Dude & Guest Ranch and Latigo Ranch in Kremmling offer weeklong, all-inclusive stays, while the à la carte approach of Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Tabernash is ideal for shorter stints. Whether you’re bringing the entire family or seeking an adults-only getaway, you’ll spend your days horseback riding, fishing, target shooting and feasting on cowboy cuisine. At night, unwind while gazing up at the starry skies that helped guide the way for the area’s settlers.
Throughout the summer, a multitude of events give Grand County residents and visitors the opportunity to hearken back to the days of the Old West with rodeos, community celebrations and more. Don’t miss the bull riding, roping and mutton bustin’ action of the High Country Stampede Rodeo in Fraser, Granby’s Flying Heels Rodeo or the Middle Park Fair and Rodeo in Kremmling. Traditions like Hot Sulphur Days and Kremmling Days also dig into the county’s Western roots with parades, historical reenactments, races and other revelry. View our events calendar to see what's coming up!
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