Hey everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It’s been a really long time since I posted about our travels! After touring the east coast this summer with the Cramper we have settled back down in Fraser, Colorado for our second winter. Why do we keep returning to Grand County Colorado you ask? The simple answer is the beauty, the fun, and the laid back mountain vibe. The area averages 245 sunny days a year which is good for the soul and for playing outdoors. We have big, snowy peaked mountains, lush forests, babbling brooks, clear rivers, and deep lakes full of colorful trout. In the winter we get oodles of snow that coat the trees and freeze over the lakes, turning the outdoors into a majestic winter wonderland of sparkling ice and fluffy white snow. In the spring Mud Season descends as the snow melts and the ice thaws causing the rivers to rage and rise. Summer brings colorful mountain wildflowers and long sunny days. Fall is full of fiery aspen trees set against mountain backdrops. I could go on and on about how beautiful it is here but I’ll let our photos do the talking.
Instead, I will talk about how FUN it is here! No matter what season it is, there is tons to do in Grand County Colorado. Out our front door we have access to the Fraser River Trail which starts at one end of town and runs alongside the Fraser River over to the little tourist town of Winter Park, then it winds through Idlewild Campground, and over to Winter Park Ski Resort. The trail meanders past lakes with swimming beavers, geese, ducks, and through a forest of delicious smelling Lodge Pole Pine Trees. If you are lucky (or unlucky depending on your point of view) you may run into a moose or a deer. It’s a great place to walk, run, or ride bikes during the warmer months and is used for crossed country skiing, fat biking, and snowy walks in the winter months. A short drive or good bike ride away is the Fraser Experimental Forest. It is the perfect spot to mountain bike with trails for riders of any skill level. It’s also a beautiful place for snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and just meandering through the woods. We’ve done some really great challenging hikes in the area, like to the top of Byers Peak, the mountain we can see from the front window of our cute little condo.
About 40 minutes away at the Town of Grand Lake is the western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. If you like to view wildlife, hike, or just enjoy a scenic view Rocky Mountain NP is a must see. You will truly feel like you are on top of the world here! We spent an hour there this fall just listening to the elk bugle during the rut. Grand Lake, the Arapahoe National Forest, and Granby Lake are also nearby with superb fishing, hiking, and camping. I don’t plan on trying ice fishing myself anytime soon, but there are always people out on the lakes in the winter. There’s also snowmobiling and sleigh rides in the winter, hot air balloon rides, and heart pumping white water rafting nearby in the summer.
I haven’t even touched on Winter Park Ski Resort! With 24 lifts, 168 trails, and over 3000 acres of space it’s an amazing winter playground. The resort is divided into seven different territories, each one giving the rider a different unique experience. We spent most of our ski time last winter on Mary Jane Mountain trying out the moguls, and escaping the crowds in the laid back area of Vasquez Ridge. The views are amazing going up the lifts and equally amazing coming down the slopes. In the summer it is a mecca for Mountain bikers. Riders and their bikes take the lifts to the top and then bomb down the mountain for an adrenaline rush. For those that don’t like to ski or bike there is a tubing hill in the winter, an alpine slide in the summer, lots of shops, restaurants, and a spa or two. No matter what season it is the town makes it really easy to get around and take advantage of happy hour with free buses running all day. Between the town trails, our bikes, and the bus our truck is getting a well deserved break from carting us and the Cramper all over the country.
If you are thinking about your next vacation, come give Grand County and the Fraser Valley a try, it’s a great place to get outside and feed your soul. Come visit and we’ll show you how to play like a local!