Grand County Colorado Releases Its Pandemic Playbook: Take it Outside

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Grand County Colorado just announced its pandemic playbook. In Grand County, the recreation and hospitality industries are taking all the recommendations and guidelines very seriously. And they have an easy prescription in the months ahead for staying safe and getting much needed recreation. Take it outside.

Grand County Colorado

Grand County Colorado just announced its pandemic playbook. Take it outside.

It is undeniable. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended everybody’s life and schedule. The world as we know it is radically different than it was last year--whether we are talking about work, school, or recreation. And there are plenty of messages about how to stay safe and sane.

In Grand County, Colorado, the recreation and hospitality industries are taking all the recommendations and guidelines very seriously. And they have an easy prescription in the months ahead for staying safe and getting much needed recreation. Take it outside.

Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding
Winter Park Resort and Granby Ranch Resort have attracted skiers and riders for decades and both resorts are innovating and implementing strategies to keep children and adults happy on their snow-covered slopes. But there are dozens of other quiet trails and snowy meadows throughout the county where adults and families won’t even know they are following the recommendations for social distancing as they play in wide open spaces.

Granby Ranch Resort has a new management team in place for the upcoming season—Ridgeline Executives—and is scheduled to open Dec. 11. Bluebird Backcountry, near Kremmling is scheduled to open before Christmas.

Nordic and Cross-Country skiing
Backcountry skiing is an ideal way to escape the crowds and soak up some mountain serenity. Winter Park and the Fraser Valley are known as Mountain Bike Capital USA during the summer months and that extensive network of bike trails that rope their way throughout the valley are swiftly transformed into Nordic ski paths after a few winter storms. For beginners just looking for a gentle meander through the woods, there are options like the Fraser River Trail stretching from Fraser for six miles to Winter Park Resort. The Jim Creek Trail with its trailhead directly across from the Resort’s main entrance offers an out-and-back moderate climb up a forested creek drainage. The Bamse and Travis Dog Loops at the YMCA of the Rockies about five miles outside Granby offer an easy and scenic loop on the northern section of their Nordic Center that allows skiers to bring their four-footed buddies along for the workout. And the Grand Lake Nordic Center, opening in December, has several groomed and intersecting trails that allow skiers to do a variety of circuits of varying lengths.

Not so sure about kicking and gliding on cross country skis? Modern snowshoes that strap onto an individual’s own waterproof winter boots open up literally hundreds of miles of trails throughout the Arapahoe National Forest. Groomed trails are purely optional with these claw-bottomed footwear devices that are both simple to use and sturdy underfoot. They can be used on both groomed and unpacked snowy trails, leaving much of Grand County’s public forest lands accessible for exploring, or simply escaping.

The outdoor combination
The all-inclusive Latigo Ranch with its cozy and contemporary cabins in the midst of an outdoor playground is the ideal place to retreat and recreate. With 50km of groomed cross-country trails and more than 200 miles of ungroomed powder, it is easy to social distance while taking in abundant fresh air and giant vistas. Meals and rental equipment are included with the first guests checking in on Dec. 19.

Other options
Few things capture winter solitude and serenity the way ice fishing does. Fishing with Bernie in Granby or Spirit Lake Outfitters in Grand Lake can help novices get started in this unique winter pastime and assist with rods, bait, and how to punch a hole in the ice. From there, the thrill of trying to catch either Rainbow Trout or Kokanee salmon begins with the potential of bringing home dinner. For a roaring good time, consider climbing aboard a snowmobile for a tour along Continental Divide tour with Grand Adventures in Winter Park or exploring trails that surround Grand Lake and skirt the edges of Rocky Mountain National Park. If there are kids in the crowd, snow tubing is a must with tow-rope service at Winter Park Resort and in the town of Fraser at The Tubing Hill.

What about Dining?
And after a busy day taking in the views and burning plenty of energy in the cold, crisp mountain air, there is nothing more relaxing than settling into your accommodations and having dinner delivered right to your door. On the east and central sections of Grand County, restaurants such as Hernando’s, Elevation Pizza, and Azteca in the Winter Park/Fraser area will deliver a touch-free meal to your door. Takeout offerings ran the full cuisine gamut throughout Grand County. Deno’s Mountain Bistro is known for great burgers and pizza while Fontenot’s is a magnet for Cajun-style specialties and much more. The Granby Garage and Brick House 40 in Granby will have meals ready to go when ordered in advance for easy pickup. Debbie’s Drive-Through offers quick service right at your car. And if you are thinking about hot coffee and a breakfast sandwich, Java Lava and Mid Town Cafe in Granby can manage the takeout order. Grand Lake village has a loyal clientele who love the ribs at the Sagebrush, the burgers and soups at Squeaky B, with fresh baked bagels at Bighorn Bagels.

Classic comfort food that can be taken back to your lodging is also available on the west side of the county. Bait Shop Grill in Hot Sulphur Springs is the “go-to” spot to pick up some classic Colorado menu items to top off a day outdoors. Heading west on Highway 40 – Kremmling offers a variety of take-out options from Grand Adventure Brewing Company to Dean West or for a taste of the Far East while in the mountain west, the Mt Dragon Chinese & Sushi Restaurant.

Social distancing might be an unfamiliar concept when thinking about travel and recreation, but in Grand County it has always been a prominent part of what attracts visitors to the wide-open spaces of the Rocky Mountains. With a few minor tweaks and the occasional use of a face mask for brief periods when in public places, a winter getaway in Grand County can still deliver all the exhilaration and relaxation visitors have come to expect while staying safe in these unusual times and circumstances.

Grand County, Colo. (
Located 67 miles west of Denver, Grand County is home to wide-open spaces, breathtaking mountain scenery and authentic old-west towns. Outdoor recreational activities include skiing, snowboarding, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, snowmobiling, dog sled rides, ice fishing and ice-skating.

The area features more than 600 miles of mapped and marked trails, one national park, two national forests, six wilderness areas, two national scenic byways, two major Alpine ski resorts, four Nordic ski areas, four world-class dude ranches and four mountain golf courses. Grand County’s extensive water network includes Colorado’s largest natural lake, 1,000 miles of streams, 1,000 acres of high-mountain lakes and 11,000 acres of reservoirs.

Gaylene Ore, Ore Communications,, 970-531-2336

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