The scenery in and around Granby is absolutely stunning and worth exploring. It is near impossible to cover all of this area by foot, but you can explore some incredible places by car. You won’t want to pass up the chance to experience these breathtaking routes and all of the Rocky Mountain activities these roads have to offer. So get out your itinerary – here are some beautiful scenic drives that shouldn’t be missed when you visit Granby.
Starting at the mouth of the Colorado River in Rocky Mountain National Park, this scenic byway is one not to miss if you’re traveling through Granby. The Colorado River Headwaters Scenic Byway is around 80 miles in its entirety, passing through the towns of Grand Lake, Granby, Hot Sulphur Springs, and Kremmling. The road follows the bends of the Colorado River, eventually bringing you through Gore Canyon and all the way to the town of State Bridge.
There are so many wonderful outdoor activities and Rocky Mountain adventures to be had on this route. You can explore two beautiful lakes: Lake Granby and Grand Lake. The water may be cold, but in the summer months, it is definitely worth taking a dip. You can also rent a boat and enjoy being out on the water in the middle of these incredible high-alpine lakes. Discover white water rafting in Kremmling or bring out your waders for some fly fishing on the Colorado River. Maybe even take a hike on one of the many trails you will encounter along the way. In Hot Sulphur Springs, there are even hot spring pools available for soaking if you choose to do so. The views and recreational activities are endless while traveling the Colorado River Headwaters Scenic Byway.
Ute Pass is a popular scenic route for locals that is used to travel between the towns of Parshall and Silverthorne. This road and all of its beauty has so much to offer for anyone who chooses to travel along its path.
Driving this scenic road provides the opportunity to explore both the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests. Hiking is easily accessible in many areas, and you should definitely check out the Ute Pass Hiking Trail as well as Ute Peak. Fly fishing and spin fishing are also available, as you will have access to the Colorado and the Blue River. You will pass by Williams Fork Reservoir and a short detour away is Green Mountain Reservoir in Heeney. Be sure to take a peak at Henderson Mill to experience some of Colorado’s rich mining history. Ute Pass is not far from the town of Granby, and is accessible off of US Highway 40 in Parshall.
Cottonwood Pass is a great scenic route that takes you through some of the mountains in Granby, looping you around to the town of Hot Sulphur Springs. This road is best traveled from May through October as snow makes it unpassable during the late fall and winter months. This route is a bit “off the beaten path” and allows you to view free range livestock grazing in the surrounding fields as well as beautiful natural streams and seclusion. Although National Forest land is accessible, staying in your vehicle is recommended while traveling on Cottonwood Pass unless you know where you are headed. This is a public road, but it passes through a few private ranching properties. Be sure to have a plan of action if you would like to hike or camp in this area. Cottonwood Pass in its entirety is only about 9 miles long and takes around 20 minutes to drive one way.
Corona-Rollins Pass is a beautiful, unpaved 4×4 road that can be accessed by a high-clearance four-wheel drive vehicle during late spring and summer, or by snowmobile during the fall and winter months. This road climbs up the continental divide in Winter Park and is located off of US Highway 40. It tops out at 11,676 feet and then begins to climb down the eastern slope of the divide, eventually ending near Rollinsville, Colorado. Walking up this road is an option if you are not able to drive. This is an abandoned railroad route and offers incredible views of the eastern and western slopes of the continental divide. Corona-Rollins Pass offers some access to incredible hiking trails and the opportunity to fish in high-alpine lakes.
Beginning in the town of Grand Lake while traveling through Rocky Mountain National Park, Trail Ridge Road has some of the best views and most easily accessible outdoor activities in Grand and Larimer County. A “bucket list must-do” for many, this road is 48 miles long and the highest paved “through road” in the state of Colorado. From Grand Lake, this scenic route also known as the Beaver Meadow National Scenic Byway traverses the Rocky Mountains and winds you down into the picturesque mountain town of Estes Park. At its highest elevation, Trail Ridge Road reaches 12,183 feet. The road is entirely paved, but depending on the weather, is only able to be fully accessed during the months of May or June through October. The National Parks Service shuts down this scenic byway due to snow for around seven months each year.
The possibilities of hiking, sightseeing, experiencing locally guided tours, and creating unbelievable memories are endless in Rocky Mountain National Park. Be sure to stop at one of the many scenic overpasses off of Trail Ridge Road to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. This scenic byway is perfect if you’re wanting to have the opportunity to view wildlife or experience some incredible classic Colorado views.
From Granby, you will have the option to dine or shop in three separate places. The town of Granby, Grand Lake, and Estes Park are all great for these two things. Each town is equipped with their own unique locally owned stores and delicious restaurants. There is something for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to check out one of the Rocky Mountain National Park visitor centers to get a map of the area and see where this wonderful road takes you.