Upon entering Grand Lake, Colorado, you might suspect you have stumbled across a frontier town that hasn’t changed much since the 1800s. The village certainly has a distinctly western vibe with western-style storefronts, wooden sidewalks, Old West bars, and restaurants with names like Sagebrush BarBQ and Grill. But then you hear it. A loud zoom…zoom…revvv..revvvvv…revvvvvvvvvv.. Now you notice that instead of horses at the hitchin’ posts, snowmobiles are zipping up and down Main Street. Snowmobiles are just as common on the streets of Grand Lake in 2014 as horse and buggies were in 1875 when Grand Lake was settled as a bustling outfitting and supply point for nearby mining settlements. Snowmobiling is so popular that Grand Lake has been called the snowmobile capital of Colorado.
Grand Lake also boasts the largest, deepest natural lake in Colorado. You guessed it: Grand Lake. Just one block south from Main Street, and running the entire length of the town, Grand Lake is the site of fishing tournaments in spring and summer; but in the winter, the lake transforms into a vast, white, ice-covered, field of snow; and the town of Grand Lake turns into an activity hub of snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and ice fishing.
Grand Lake (the town) and Grand Lake (the lake) are surrounded by national forest and park land on three sides. When Rocky Mountain National Park was established in 1915, Grand Lake became the western gateway into the 250,000 acre park. Kawuneeche Visitor Center is just one mile north of the town.