Grand Lake was formed around 30,000 BC during the glacial period that covered the area. The lake is Colorado’s largest and deepest natural lake and forms the headwater for the mighty Colorado River that stretches for over 1,400 miles across western America. The Ute Tribe that occupied these lands had named it Spirit Lake, as they believed departed souls lived in the cold, still waters.
Grand Lake is located in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, with the town of Grand Lake built along its northern shoreline. The town is next to the western entrance to the Rocky Mountain National Park, and both the town and lake have become popular tourist attractions.
Although this is mountainous terrain, there is the main highway to the lake and the two nearest cities of Fort Collins and Denver, both on the western edge of the Rocky Mountain National Park. Search for an RV in Grand County, and you won’t be disappointed by the range of things to see and do in the area. Should you visit in the winter, the ski resort of Aspen is only a few miles southwest of the lake.
This is a high mountain location, at a height of over 8,000 feet, and has two distinct tourist seasons for getting outdoors. From late spring until early fall, hiking, fishing, and boating are popular, but once winter and the snows arrive, ice fishing, snowmobiles and skiing become the norm.
You’ll find world-class fishing at Grand Lake, and it has been awarded many honors for the quality of fish here. The cold waters are perfect for rainbow trout, lake trout, sockeye salmon, and other species of trout. In the town are many companies offering guided fishing trips, and these are particularly useful during the winter for the ice-fishing season.
All types of boating are catered for on the lake, from canoes, kayaks, powerboats and jet skis. Water skiing is also popular. There are two or three marinas along the northern shore of the lake in the town of Grand Lake, where you can rent various types of boat, safety equipment, and fishing tackle. At the eastern end of the lake are a public boat ramp and a parking area big enough for your RV rental.
Although the water is very cold, there is a swimming beach on the north shore. Kids and dogs probably won’t notice the cold so much and will enjoy the water while the adults relax and take in the beautiful mountain views surrounding the lake.
Camping at Grand Lake
Just north of Grand Lake is the Elk Creek Campground. This medium-sized campground has 50 campsites, all with water and electric and some with full hookups. On-site are modern restrooms with showers, a laundry, and a playground to keep the kids amused, plus a store for your essentials. The wooded location is home to numerous wild animals, so do not be surprised to wake up to an Elk peering into your rental RV!
At the southern end of Shadow Mountain Lake, which connects to Grand Lake via a short canal, is the Green Ridge Campground. This is a basic recreational site that does not have any electrical or water connections when RV camping here. There are flushing toilets, drinking water, and picnic sites, but not much else. What it lacks in amenities it more than made up for by the location, right on the edge of the unspoiled lake. This is a basic motorhome campground that is perfect when you want to spend most of your time exploring the great outdoors.
Exploring the Area
The town of Grand Lake on the north shore has all the facilities such as a gas station, store, and restaurants that you should need, but the larger cities to the west are just a short drive if you need more.
While in Grand Lake, take a while to stroll along the wooden boardwalk, with numerous art galleries, craft shops, and more to discover. All the shops here are locally owned and mostly sell locally produced items. When you’ve had enough of shopping, sit back in one of the many cafes and just admire the beautiful views of the Rocky Mountains.
While RV camping near Grand Lake, it is very easy to visit the Rocky Mountain National Park, either using your RV, by taking an organized tour or using the shuttle bus service at the eastern entrance to the park. The roads in the park can get very busy during summer, so taking your rental RV, except for just passing through, is probably best avoided.