Located at the headwaters of the Colorado River and situated on the shores of Colorado’s largest natural body of water, Grand Lake is the gateway to the CDT in Rocky Mountain National Park. Established in 1881 as a supply point for the area’s mining settlements, the town boasts amazing access to a variety of year-round outdoor recreation opportunities, and has been dubbed the “Snowmobile Capital of Colorado” due to its access to Colorado’s largest network of groomed snowmobile trails.
The CDT passes directly through the Town of Grand Lake, making it the ideal place to start an adventure or to resupply on a longer journey. The CDT route through Rocky Mountain National Park consists of approximately 30 miles of spectacular scenery. Although it does not travel the actual Divide, it provides breathtaking scenery, including sections of high peaks and fragile alpine tundra at elevations of up to 11,500 feet.
Information courtesy of the Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce.
Denver International Airport is the best place to fly into to visit Grand Lake. The town is about 2.5 hours from the airport via I-70 W and US-40 W. Due to the distance, it is highly advised to rent a car from the airport. It can be difficult getting from Denver to Grand Lake via public transportation. Once you are in town you won’t need a car to get around the village, but will need one to see other areas like Rocky Mountain National Park. There is also an Amtrak Station in Granby, which is less than 30 minutes away.
The Town of Grand Lake is just one-mile long making it quick and easy to navigate on foot! Anything you need, from grocery stores and breweries to the lakefront beach and visitor center, are all within walking distance. No public transportation or rideshare options are available here.
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Length: 5.4 miles out and back
Closest Town: Grand Lake
Directions: Grand Lake/East Shore Trailhead: From the town of Grand Lake, CO, follow signs from the US Post Office to the Hilltop Boat Ramp and then continue on Jericho Road to the trailhead. Hike the East Shore Trail from the East Shore trailhead at the north end of the lake, or the Shadow Mountain Dam trail head at the south end. Visitors have the option of extending their hike by continuing to the Ranger Meadows loop or by hiking up to the Shadow Mountain Lookout Tower.
USGS 7.5 Quadrangles: Mount Richthofen, Bowen Mountain, Grand Lake, Shadow Mountain
For More Information:
Rocky Mountain National Park: http://www.nps.gov/romo/
- camping/ lodging
- camp supplies
- US Post Office
- 520 Center Dr, Grand Lake
- CO 80447
- Grocery Rocky Mountain
- 701 Grand Ave, Grand Lake
- CO 80447
North Inlet & Tonahutu Trailheads:
From State Hwy 278 heading south, turn left onto County Road 663. The Tonahutu Trailhead will be on your left and the North Inlet Trail will be on your right. The CDT makes a 28-mile loop between these two trailheads. Leave from the North Inlet Trailhead and hike into Summerland Park, a great spot to look for moose in the fall, for a 3-4 mile round trip hike.
East Shore Trailhead:
Take Shadow Mountain Drive south through town. Make a slight left onto Lakeside Drive, then turn right onto Jericho Rd. Follow Jericho Rd. to the intersection with Shoreline Way to reach the East Shore Trailhead. The Continental Divide Trail heads south from here along the shore of Shadow Mountain Lake.