9:00 - 0 miles / 0 - 9:00
Grand Lake Village
Three nearby lakes make Grand Lake a popular recreational area. Camping, fishing, hiking, and boating can all be enjoyed in the vicinity of Grand Lake. This mountain resort town provides friendly service and enjoyment for people of all ages. Grand Lake is one of Colorado's oldest resorts. First settled in 1876, it became a supply center in 1879 when gold and silver were discovered nearby on the Colorado River. The much sought-after gold existed only in small amounts. By the early 1880s, the prospectors started moving on. Grand Lake survived by becoming a lakeside resort. Grand Lake, Shadow Mountain, Lake Granby, and the Colorado River headwaters are all near this town. Grand Lake still has wooden boardwalks and split lodge pole pine facades on homes and downtown buildings to give this a historic and friendly feel. Many visitors enjoy the town's historic walking tour, which begins at the Kaufmann House Museum. Any season is a good one to visit Grand Lake, with boating and camping in the summer and cross-country skiing and an extensive snowmobile trail system in the winter.
9:00 - 2.9 miles / 5 minutes - 9:05
Arapaho National Recreation Area
The Arapaho National Recreation Area is home to five lakes, including Lake Granby, which is the second largest body of water in Colorado. Lake Granby, Monarch Lake, Shadow Mountain Lake, Willow Creek Reservoir, and Meadow Creek Reservoir all provide visitors with an abundance of recreational opportunities. Boating, fishing, canoeing, camping, horseback riding, mountain biking, and ice fishing are all popular activities in this recreation area. Visitors can hike portions of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail within the recreation area. The Arapaho National Recreation Area also is home to many different species of wildlife, such as elk, deer, moose, coyote, bobcat, bear, red fox, badger, beaver, ground and pine squirrels, chipmunks, bald and golden eagles, osprey, five species of trout and kokanee salmon.
9:05 - 12.5 miles / 25 minutes - 9:30
Windy Gap Reservoir and the Colorado-Big Thompson Project
Windy Gap is a natural water-carved notch in the volcanic flow where the Fraser and Colorado Rivers meet. After much controversy and debate, construction of the reservoir gave the Colorado-Big Thompson Project additional water storage. West slope residents were afraid of total depletion of the Colorado River by greedy East Slope farmers and communities. Many on both sides of the issue hoped that this would be the last trans-mountain diversion project planned for the Rockies.
Windy Gap also offers wildlife viewing that includes HQ-accessible viewing blinds, a 1/2-mile trail and information kiosks. A variety of birds and animals can be spotted here. The roadside pull-off offers restrooms and covered picnic tables. This area was inhabited between 4000-8500 years ago by PaleoIndians, revolutionizing archaeological thought that they weren't nomadic. Fire pits and stone cutting tools have been unearthed, along with "wattle and daub" construction artifacts.
10:30 - 6.1 miles / 12 minutes - 10:43
Pioneer Park and Colorado River Restoration Project
Pioneer Park is an 80-acre open space park located along the banks of the Colorado River. Originally, the site served as the location of a railroad depot and refueling station. Now it offers camping, fishing, trails access and wildlife watching opportunities. The river flow has been altered by upstream diversion, moving its channel over 100 feet. Numerous federal, state, regional and local partners are working to restore the river channel and preserve unique wetlands features.
13:43 - 44.1 miles / an hour 28 minutes - 15:11
Colorado River Headwaters Byway - end