Situated on the western edge of the Continental Divide with the headwaters of the Colorado River within its border, Grand County has served as a vital railroad corridor, an unlikely high-altitude bastion for ranching, and most recently, a playground for lovers of the outdoors.
On your next visit, be sure to stop by these fascinating heritage sites and history museums. You'll gain a deeper perspective on how Grand County fits into the compelling story of the American West.
Established on January 26, 1915, Rocky Mountain National Park is the ninth oldest national park in the United States. In addition to its endless scenic highlights — such as Baker Mountain, Milner Pass and Lake Irene — it also includes several noteworthy historic attractions. Begin your history tour at the park's Kawuneeche Visitor Center, then proceed up the valley to the Colorado River Trailhead, where in summer, you can hike to Lulu City, a former mining camp which is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. From there, you can drive over the spectacular Trail Ridge Road, which was built in 1932 and became one of the nation's first high-elevation scenic roads. In fact, today it is still the highest continuous paved road in the United States. For an added treat, stay in the historic Grand Lake Lodge on the west side of the park.
Formerly a lakeside hotel circa 1892, the Kaufmann House Museum in Grand Lake sheds light on the early days of tourism in the Colorado Rockies. Old photographs, quilts, and antique skiing and outdoor recreation equipment comprise just some of the museum's collection. Due to its unique log construction and significance as an early building of Colorado's budding tourism industry, the Kaufmann House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
At times, parts of Grand County feel as though they've been untouched for hundreds of years. The area around Kremmling — with its rolling hills of sagebrush and distant mountain views — fits the bill. Completing this moment-in-time picture is the Kremmling Heritage Park, an assortment of historical buildings from the town's early ranching days in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Beautifully restored and as authentic as they come, the Cozen's Ranch Museum and Stage Stop near Fraser takes you back in time to life on a Rocky Mountain Ranch circa 1876. Like the Pioneer Village Museum and the Kremmling Heritage Park, the museum is operated by the Grand County Historical Association.
Situated at the entrance of a small canyon — the first of many cut by the Colorado River — the town of Hot Sulphur Springs serves as a backdrop for the Grand County Historical Association's Pioneer Village Museum. Here, the history of the area — from prehistoric times to present day — comes alive in a 1920s school house with special exhibits and photography.