Colorado River Headwaters Byway

State: Colorado
Length: 80 miles / 128.0 km
Time to Allow: 2 hours

Take a leisurely drive through the Colorado River Headwaters Byway following the infamous Colorado River. The 80-mile route only takes two hours to drive, or you can meander for hours, days, or even weeks if you love the outdoors. Drive past reservoirs, ranchlands, canyons, and even a railroad.

Start out in north-central Colorado at Grand Lake northwest of Denver. The town boasts the Grand Lake that flows into the larger Shadow Mountain Lake right by the Colorado River. It’s an excellent location for year-round recreation for the entire family. Hike around the lake or take an ATV through gorgeous terrain. In the winter, find miles and miles of trails perfect for snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, and snowmobiling.

Find lodging at the lake or your can take your RV or go camping. When you want a break from outdoor recreation, head to the boardwalk for shopping. Grab a meal at the rustic Sagebrush BBQ & Grill or try out a variety of local cuisine without going near a chain restaurant. When you are ready for another adventure, head to the Rocky Mountain National Park for incredible views of the mountains and diverse wildlife.

Follow the byway south to Granby with a massive lake of its own and views of the Twin Peaks. Begin the day at the Rise & Shine bakery cafe for breakfast and coffee. Next, head to the Granby Ranch for skiing, golfing and biking. You can even stay at the resort a couple of miles away. Spend a day a the lake and another on scenic trails in the Arapaho National Forest.

The byway moves west to Hot Sulphur Springs, a relaxing location ready to take away stress. Rejuvenate with fresh mountains and hot springs, and pools. Grab a massage after a long day outside exploring gorgeous scenery or even antiquing and thrift shopping. No other area offers quite the same views of the mountains and clear water filled with trees and a few nearby rivers perfect for fishing.

Not far down the road, find the town Kremmling next on the byway with an authentic Colorado experience. The town converges at the Muddy Creek, Blue River, and Colorado River. It’s elevated at 7,364 feet, brimming with history. Stay in the city for a day or two to see the Great Mount Reservoir teeming with fish and wildlife. Find camping, hunting, fishing, and several other reservoirs nearby, along with a rodeo for a fun western activity.

End your journey in State Bridge, Colorado. With the right timing, you can stay in the scenic area in a yurt or a cabin. The Bridget dates back to the late 1800s, and it’s located at the base of the Yarmony mountain on the Colorado River. It’s a fantastic place for entertainment, outdoor activities, scenery, and much more. Fans of coffee and chocolate will want to stop at Mouse’s Chocolates on main street for unique treats ready to delight.

More Colorado Byways

You can check out additional Byways in Colorado by clicking on the list of byways below, or by going to the Colorado Byways home section. To find even more of scenic byways in the United States, visit our scenic byways map.