Fall in Colorado

Fall in Colorado Rocky Mountains

Grand County experienced a frost August 18th and 19th this summer! That is a sure way to get things turning to reds and yellows. August has not provided much rain either, so a few bushes and trees here and there are showing gold colors already. Predicting when the colors will turn is difficult, perhaps as early as Labor Day Weekend, perhaps as late as the second week of September. Peak colors are often experience during the third week of September. We will see how this Fall in Colorado turns out.

No matter what, Fall in Colorado is a fabulous time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park and Grand Lake, Colorado! Both the Rocky Mountain National Park and the Historic Rapids Lodge are finishing up celebrating their Centennial Year! At 100 years old, this building is a must see. The blockish, “barky” covered building hides a real treasure inside. The Rapids Restaurant offers a cozy ambience with fascinating details in décor, two fireplaces and a wonderful view over the river.

Fall in Colorado offers crisp mornings, brilliant blue skies and vibrant color everywhere you look. Migratory birds and waterfowl begin passing through Grand County on their way south for the winter, and the area offers good opportunities for excellent Colorado birding. Watch bull Moose in rut and bull Elk herding their harems of females and “bugling” in the meadows of the Rocky Mountain National Park. An evening enjoying the elk is perfectly followed by a dinner at the Rapids Restaurant next to the fireplace! Taking a day drive anywhere in Colorado is bound to amaze in the fall. Hot Sulphur Springs is a great place to relax in steaming starlit pools after a long day of hiking and mountain adventure.

The Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre will be presenting their fall show “Forever Plaid” through September. Check their website for show days and times. Grand Lake also celebrates “Constitution Week” (Sept. 14-19) which offers all sorts of interesting talks and even a fun fireworks show on Saturday the 19th.

No matter when you visit during the fall, there is plenty to do, some of the best weather, busy weekends or quiet weekdays and endless opportunities to make memories!

Arapahoe National Forest …

Even if you are not a big fan of snowmobiling, off road motorcycles and ATVs, exploring the Arapahoe National Forest is still worthwhile! In the winter roads and trail provide almost 100 miles of groomed snowmobile trails and in the summer the same accesses are used for horses, off road vehicles and even regular cars!Access the Arapahoe National Forest from highway 34 and follow County Road 4 West. At the Idelglenn staging area, you have a choice.

To the right (North), the road will take you up North Supply. The views back over Grand Lake, Shadow Mountain and into the Rocky Mountain National Park are strikingly beautiful. A regular sedan can go most of the way and a four wheel drive vehicle will take you further.

Hiking Grand Lake Colorado The Bowen Gulch Interpretive Trail is located approximately 9.1 miles from the fork and is a mile long trail leading through one of Colorado’s largest Spruce-Fir old growth forests. A Sedan can reach 7.6 miles followed by a scenic walk along the 4×4 road to the trail head. If you are in a high clearance vehicle you can reach the trail head easily. Moose are common among the fir and spruce trees and although the trees are large but not massive, the forest is exquisite in its untouched state (part of the Never Summer Wilderness). From 1988 to 1990 the area was designated for a logging sale but public outcry stopped the process and preserved it forever. Pick up the interpretive trail guide at the USFS office in Granby.

If you want to climb a peak with a good head start in elevation, try Cascade Mountain from a little further up the road at Blue Ridge. The views are breathtaking along the 11 mile trail.

For those of you who prefer a scenic drive, consider traveling over Stillwater Pass. This loop will take you from the Idleglenn parking area, over the ridge of mountains to CO 125. Follow 125 south to US 40 and head East to Granby. Return to Grand Lake by heading North on US 34. The road offers excellent views and wildlife viewing. Travel through dense lodge-pole forest, spruce-fir forest, glades of towering aspen, areas of sage and valley bottoms filled with willows, beavers and moose. The entire loop is accessible by sedan car (a few rough spots) and is a very well worthwhile trip. Don’t miss out on the 2 mile round trip Lost Lake Trail on the East side!

The Rapids Lodge is the perfect base from which to explore the area. The Arapahoe National Forest is pet-friendly as are some of our cabins and Rapids Suites, so bring your family four-legged member along! When not exploring, relax riverside with a delicious lunch or dinner at the Rapids Restaurant.