Rocky Mountains

Grand Lake Trail

Headwaters of the Colorado

Here at the start of the river that carved the Grand Canyon lies an easy-to-reach taste of Colorado’s West Slope. Starting as a trickle of snowmelt high in Rocky Mountain National Park, the Colorado runs across mountain meadows, underneath tangles of willows and over the feet of trout fishermen and moose. It fills up the many lakes and reservoirs around the towns of Grand Lake and Granby, where Osprey spend the summer and Barrow’s Goldeneye pass the winter. It wanders across the open steppe of Middle Park, home to pronghorn and Greater Sage-Grouse. Then it slides down into a series of canyons to begin its career as a whitewater rafting destination, passing juniper woodlands, Pinyon Jays, and Black-throated Gray Warblers. This area in Grand County is the closest place to Denver to sample all these western ecosystems together, providing something for every kind of nature lover.