We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Grand Lake restaurant suggestions

Which Grand Lake hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Framingham...
Level Contributor
150 posts
Save Topic
Grand Lake restaurant suggestions

Hi,

Heading to Grand Lake for a couple of days next week. Would love restaurant suggestions. Is everything pretty casual? We enjoy just about everything.

Also, we've never visited this area in Colorado. We have 2 full days - is it worth taking one day to visit Estes Park or just enjoy Grand Lake. We like the water and not too difficult hikes. We're both photography buffs.

thanks!

Windsor, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
Level Contributor
10,022 posts
124 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Grand Lake restaurant suggestions

It is not Estes Park you want to see but Trail Ridge Road and the east side of RMNP. The east side has more areas to explore than the west side. It is the east side of RMNP that has the best mountain views and the favorite hiking trails in RMNP. This also makes the east side busier but kids in our area have either already started school or start early next week. The crowds will be better.

RMNP famous Trail Ridge Road is the route you take through RMNP between Grand Lake and Estes Park. With 11 miles traveling above 11,500 ft., Trail Ridge Road is known not only for astounding views but great opportunities to see wildlife like moose, elk, deer, bighorn sheep, marmots, pikas and a variety of birds and other animals. There are numerous short trails and overlooks (park, get out of the car, sometimes take a short walk and look) along the route. Many people spend much of a day exploring and enjoying Trail Ridge Road.

Trail Ridge Road is best enjoyed with an early start as views are better, traffic is less, your chances to see wildlife are improved and you get over the exposed higher elevations before the very common afternoon thundershowers move in. The most dramatic views and favorite overlooks are between the Alpine Visitor Center and Estes Park - the east side of Trail Ridge Road. Moose frequent the Grand Lake area and the west side of RMNP. The drive over Trail Ridge Road is about 90 minutes between Grand Lake and Estes Park. Add 2 hours just for the overlooks, more for short trails. Grab a picnic lunch at Cy's Deli in Grand Lake.

Here is information I routinely post about the short trails along Trail Ridge Road when traveling west to east.

Adams Falls - Get directions in Grand Lake or see the link. It is .3 miles one way to the waterfall and beyond to the meadow for wildflowers and wildlife

rockymountainhikingtrails.com/adams-falls.htm

Coyote Valley Trail - 1 mile loop along the Colorado River. In the early am or dusk, can have wildlife. As the day warms, this is not as likely.

Holzwarth Historic Site - 1 mile total in and out to 1920's dude ranch and wildlife (especially moose) frequent the area. You cross the Colorado River.

Lake Irene Picnic area - short trail to pretty alpine lake and a nice meadow overlook

Alpine Ridge Trail - 1/4 mile straight up steps for views (known as the "huff and puff trail"). This trail is at the Alpine Visitor Center. The Trail Ridge Store and Cafe next door are very popular.

Tundra Communities Trail at Rock Cut - .5 miles one way interpretive trail with great views, tundra flowers, wildlife. This is a do not miss.

rockymountainhikingtrails.com/tundra-communi…

Ute Trail - past Forest Canyon Overlook. Walk about a mile or so for views.

Hidden Valley Nature Trail and picnic area - .5 mile interpretive loop through 300-700 year old Spruce and Pine forests

Beaver Boardwalk - short boardwalk into what is now a meadow with pretty views. Elk and moose have been spotted in the willows between Hidden Valley and Beaver Boardwalk.

Exit Trail Ridge Road through the Beaver Meadows Entrance to RMNP but reenter RMNP through the Fall River Entrance for the return trip.

If you have time, the most popular short hikes in RMNP are along Bear Lake Road on the east side.

Bear Lake

protrails.com/trail/238/rocky-mountain-natio…

Bear Lake to Dream Lake

rockymountainhikingtrails.com/dream-lake.htm

Alberta Falls

rockymountainhikingtrails.com/alberta-falls.…

Sprague Lake

protrails.com/trail/231/rocky-mountain-natio…

Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
351 posts
92 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Grand Lake restaurant suggestions

Another good restaurant in Grand Lake is the Sagebrush Grill and BBQ. We have eaten there for many years and always find the food and service great. And, don't miss the ice cream at Rocky Mountain Chocolates on the Boardwalk in Grand Lake. There is no better ice cream (or chocolates) anywhere! Enjoy your trip!

Edited: 13 August 2014, 05:00
Windsor, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
Level Contributor
10,022 posts
124 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Grand Lake restaurant suggestions

It is Grand Lake Chocolates and not Rocky Mountain Chocolates to which Laura Z is referring. Like me, Laura Z has a review for Grand Lake Chocolates. We both gave it an excellent rating. Currently, Grand Lake Chocolates is the #1 rated restaurant for Grand Lake here on TA. They are next door to Fat Cat Cafe - popular for their breakfast. We have been pleased with dinner at Rapids Lodge. To check restaurant reviews for Grand Lake, just click on the restaurants tab at the top of the page.

WI
Destination Expert
for Wisconsin, Colorado Springs
Level Contributor
6,135 posts
117 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Grand Lake restaurant suggestions

funny about the chocolate place and then Estes Park mentioned too, I saw the video of the 2012 bear who visited the chocolate shop in Estes Park. A bit OT. At least the bears have good taste!

We didn't have much time there but Estes Park was nice for an overnight, though Grand Lake on our way through I really liked and would have liked to see more of. I'll have to put these ideas on our future to do list.

Frisco, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Frisco
Level Contributor
5,712 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Grand Lake restaurant suggestions

We love long weekends in Grand Lake! The Grand Lake lodge is a fun place for lunch - they have a good menu selection and the views from their porch is unbeatable!

www.GrandLakeLodge.com

Framingham...
Level Contributor
150 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Grand Lake restaurant suggestions

Thanks for all the great suggestions.

I really appreciate the detailed hike list and you can be sure there will be ice-cream and chocolate for dinner one night :)

7. Re: Grand Lake restaurant suggestions

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 26 June 2016, 04:18