Boaters are always asking us “Where is a good place to take the family for a boating outing?”
The easy answer is often: “Have you been to Grand Lake?”
Grand Lake (and its nearby neighbors of Shadow Mountain Lake and Lake Granby) is Colorado’s largest and deepest freshwater lake, and a great place to trailer your boat for a day (or more) of fun.
Easily accessible from the Denver metroplex ( I-70 to Empire, take U.S. 40 north to Granby, then pick up US 34 north to Grand Lake), Grand Lake, which is connected to Shadow Mountain Lake, is fed by the headwaters of the Colorado River and the annual snowmelt and is bordered on three sides by the Rocky Mountain National Park.
The quaint town of Grand Lake is noted for its historic boardwalk which contains a collection of more than 60 shops, galleries, bars and restaurants. There’s a beautiful family beach in the town and gorgeous views all around.
You can put your boat in the water at any of three boat ramps:
Grand Lake Boat Ramp, located on W. Portal Road on the eastern shore of the lake
Green Ridge Ramp is a one-lane ramp located at the southern end of Shadow Mountain Lake. It has restrooms, fee machines and parking for vehicles with trailers.
The Hilltop Ramp on Shadow Mountain Lake just south of the town of Grand Lake, located off Jericho Road.
Headwaters Marina, located on the shores of Grand Lake, offers pontoon, sport runabouts and fishing boat rentals as well as paddle board rentals. For information, contact the marina at (970) 627-5031 or online.
The fishing on these lakes is excellent. Species include rainbow trout, brown trout, brook trout, mackinaw, and kokanee salmon. Colorado fishing licenses are required and can be obtained at the Headwaters Marina.
During the summer, the lakes are usually filled with boaters and other visitors. The Fourth of July fireworks are popular, especially when viewed from a boat; and there are other regattas and boating events all summer long.
If you’d like to plan an extended vacation, either for a weekend or a week, there are plenty of accommodation choices in the area. From the expansive mountain lodges and resorts in Winter Park to Mom-and-Pop motels to RV parks and campgrounds, you’ll find a great place to stay in and around Grand Lake.
And the dining choices in and around Grand Lake, Granby and elsewhere means you’ll never go hungry!
All these things and more makes Grand Lake a grand destination for boaters.