Grand Lake is a perfect place to get away for the weekend in Colorado. You will find skiing nearby at Winter Park, snow shoeing, beautiful hikes, cross country skiing, a historic downtown, ice fishing, and of course snowmobiling!
Stay at this Airbnb! It had a simple complimentary breakfast, has a view of the mountains, and was only $50 a night! The sister of the man who owns this Airbnb has a restaurant downstairs and for guests you get happy hour all day long! This includes discounts on drink and half off all appetizers! We got some beer and yummy snacks while we played cards downstairs to get out of the cold for a little bit.
During the day there are many exciting adventures you can choose from. I recommend driving on Trail Ridge Road towards Rocky Mountain National park for some epic scenery and great hikes. This road is closed in the winter once you drive a few miles in, but you can go decently far before you make it to this point.
Wake up early and go see the sun rise over Grand lake, with the glistening snow peaked mountains behind the frozen water it makes for a beautiful start to your day.
If you want to go snowmobiling I would recommend trying to rent one before 8 am because they will most likely give you a discount. We looked at a couple places and most prices were around $120 for a single and $150 for a double. There are tons of trails so if you are interested, Grand Lake is the place to go.
Overall, there wasn’t fantastic food choices in Grand Lake but we came for the views not the eats! I do recommend going to Sagebrush BBQ and Grill because they usually have live music on the weekends, it was so much fun!
Grand Lake is a quiet, beautiful escape for a winter weekend in Colorado. I am excited to go back in the summer!
1. St. Marys Glacier. It is a little over an hour drive from downtown Denver and it is beautiful. St. Marys Glacier is a shorter hike up averaging about 1.5 miles depending how far you go. It has a frozen lake surrounded by the mountains. You can go with snow snoes and venture further up the mountain or you can wear winter boots and just go to the lake. I would wear very warm clothing because it can be extremely windy by the lake and gets very cold. I reccomend stopping at Idaho springs on your way back and eating at Beau Jo’s to get the pizza with honey! It is SO good!
2. Mount Galbraith. Golden is a great place to go in the foothills of the mountains. With it only being about a 20 minute drive from downtown Denver it’s a great place to go just for an afternoon. Mount Galbraith has great hiking in the winter because it doesn’t get too icy. Golden is a really cute town to shop and eat at as well!
3. Alderfer/Three Sisters Park. This is a 45 minute drive from downtown Denver and usually has no snow. It is a great place to walk your dog or go for a run as well. It is a very easy hike up but one you’re at the top you have a great view. I love the huge boulders at the top because you can sit and embrace the incredible views comfortably.
4. Matthews/Winters Park. It is 20 minutes to get here from downtown Denver. This park is not in the mountains but you can get some decent views when you make it to the top. I would recommend this hike for runners and bikers as well because of the fairly flat paths. Where the sun doesn’t hit there are some ice spots so be careful.
5. Garden of the Gods. It takes about an hour to get here from downtown Denver driving south towards Colorado Springs. I would say that Garden of the Gods isn’t necessarily a hike but more of a walk through a paved path. It is beautiful though to see all of the huge rock formations and climb up into them. There is really no snow or ice here normally and actually reminds me more of a hike in Arizona because of the red colors of the dirt and rocks.
Don’t let the cold weather and snow scare you away from hiking in the winter. I have been hiking every weekend since I have moved to Colorado and every one is incredible!
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“Once a year go someplace you’ve never been before.”-Dalai Lama
Where to go
Denver, Colorado. While the rest of Colorado is incredible I highly recommend making a stop in Denver for at least two days, if possible, in the summer on the weekend.
How to get there
I have both flown & drove to Colorado. If you are within 10 hours of the state I suggest driving. Not only will you save money by driving but you also will be able to do a lot more while you’re there. If you are under the age of 26 driving is affordable. Colorado is very spread out so the freedom of a car is great to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time (especially if you plan on extending your trip in Colorado to other parts). If you fly I would use skyscanner to book your flight because it has the most affordable flights and you can customize your flight based on how much you want to spend.
What to see
You will want to be in the LoDo district when in Denver. It is right by 16 street which is the liveliest street with many restaurants/shopping. I usually stay in a hotel while there because most are decently priced and it is important to be right downtown while here. I use Expedia because it shows me the cheapest deals for the dates I am traveling.
I would not recommend parking your car at the hotel you are staying at. I would use Spothero, download it now…it’s my favorite app! I usually park for about $10 a night using it.
I recommend eating dinner at Larimer square. This has a nicer selection of restaurants with cute boutiques and lights connecting the buildings over the street. I also love the area around Union Station. You need to go to the restaurant Snooze!!! Best food ever and really cool vibes.
On Saturdays during the warmer months there is a farmers market by Union Station which I also highly recommend. Lots of free samples and healthy local food!