CO River Headwaters Grand Lake

Colorado River Headwaters Scenic Byway

From Grand Lake to Kremmling to State Bridge.America's BywayScenic Byway

The Kremmling Cliffs from the Colorado River Headwaters Scenic Byway.
Kremmling Cliffs by Jean Landess

How to get there:

The Byway is reached at the intersection of US 40/US 34 in the town of Granby.

  • From I-70/C470 to Granby
  • 74 miles 1 hr 30 mins
  • GPS
  • Parking Area
  • 40.0906 -105.9586

In General:CampgroundFishing AvailableKayaking/River Rafting

  • Length: 68 miles
  • Driving Time: min. 1 hr 30 mins

From Grand Lake in the north, the Byway follows US 34 to Granby, then US 40 through Hot Sulphur Springs and Parshall to Kremmling. At Kremmling, it follows SH 9 south to the unpaved portion of the route, CR 1, the Trough Rd, and ends at the intersection with SH 131 in State Bridge. The Trough Rd is well maintained and, in good conditions, passable by 2wd passenger vehicles.

Photo Ops:Fall ColorsFlowers

Mile 14.4 E – Grand Lake HikingWaterfallsCross Country SkiingSnowmobile TrailsScenic vistasWildlife

Heading northeast, the Byway passes Lake Granby and Shadow Mountain Lake to reach the village of Grand Lake on the shores of Grand Lake. This section of the route offers countless photo and water recreation opportunities.

With a large network of trails, Grand Lake bills itself as the “Snowmobile Capitol of Colorado”. Even the streets in town are left snow packed so that snowmobilers can use their snowmobiles as transportation.

Adams Falls loop trail.

In Grand Lake, follow West Portal Road and signs toward the boat launch area 2.7 miles to the trailhead. The short trail leads to picturesque Adams Falls.

Mile 0.0 – US 34/US 40 at Granby Waterfkowl ViewingWildlifePicnic Area

Windy Gap Reservoir and Wildlife Viewing Area is located about a mile west of the intersection. Numerous migrating waterfowl and shorebirds make the locale their temporary home.

Mile 9.1 – Hot Sulphur Springs Natural Hot SpringsWildlifeCampgroundFishing Available

The Hot Sulphur Springs Resort first opened 140 years ago and continues to operate to this day. The resort contains seven natural springs and 22 mineral pools with temperatures ranging between 104 to 126 degrees.

Pioneer Park, located in Hot Sulphur Springs on Grand Avenue-CR20 on the west side of the bridge that crosses the Colorado River, offers camping, fishing, trails access and wildlife watching opportunities.

Mile 12.4 – Hot Sulphur SWA Waterfkowl ViewingWildlifeCampgroundFishing Available

Again, an opportunity to photograph waterfowl and wildlife. The unit along the highway has a campground.

Mile 14.5 – Parshall Fishing Available

This section of the Byway offers several river access points, primarily used for fishing, they also offer fine photo ops and wildlife watching opportunities.

Mile 26.5 – Kremmling Historical Site or BuildingsScenic vistas

A large butte forms Kremmling’s predominant landmark. The William’s Fork Range, Continental Divide and the Gore Range complete the vista.

The Heritage Park Museum complex provides a window into the past life of early Grand County ranchers. The museum complex is home to the 1906 DNW&P Train Depot, the McElroy livery and barn, the Horseshoe Ranger Station, the old Kremmling town jail, a fishing cabin, and historic ranching machiney.

Mile 37.3 – Inspiration Point Scenic vistas

South of Kremmling, the byway turns onto Trough Road and begins its climb to Gore Canyon. Inside the canyon, the shelf road hugs the sheer granite walls 1,000 feet above the Colorado River.

Mile 39.2 – CR 106 to Pumphouse Rec Area CampgroundKayaking/River Rafting

The stretch of river from here to Radium is mainly Class II water, Needle’s Eye Rapid is Class III with two large holes above 4000 cfs. This section is heavily used (about 60,000 visitors annually) by private and commercial boaters.

Mile 43.3 – CR 11 to Radium Rec Area CampgroundKayaking/River Rafting

This site also provides access to the river for rafters, kayakers and fishermen.

Mile 53.2 – SH 131 at State Bridge

The route reaches its end at the junction with SH131 at State Bridge, site of Colorado’s first state-constructed bridge across the Colorado River. I-70 is just 14 miles south and the Flat Tops Scenic Byway begins in the town of Yampa, 29 miles to the north.

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