15 Grand Summer Adventures
As the snow melts and the rivers swell in Grand County, our thoughts turn to the simple pleasures of summer... like these...
Also known as CR 3, Grand County's Ute Pass is an incredible scenic drive through the Arapaho National Forest that runs between Parshall, Colorado and Silverthorne, Colorado. It's one of the best scenic drives in Colorado—and you can take the road all the way to the Summit County and Grand County border!
From Granby, head west towards Parshall and turn off Hwy 40 just east of Parshall onto CR3. Winding through the Williams Fork Valley, you’ll pass the Henderson Mill up over the top of Ute Pass and descend down to Hwy 9, which lies in between Silverthorne and Kremmling. You can turn right onto Hwy 9 and head through Kremmling on your way back to Granby and Winter Park, or you can turn left on Hwy 9 and you run into Dillion and Silverthorne. From there you can pick up I-70 East and you catch Hwy 40 at exit 232 to head over Berthoud Pass back to Winter Park.
From Denver, take I-70 west to Highway 9, then turn onto Ute Pass. It runs all the way up to Parshall, Colorado on Highway 40. From Hot Sulphur Springs in Grand County, head west on Highway 40, and take Ute Pass south. No matter where you start, this 27.2-mile-long road offers pristine views of true Rocky Mountain wilderness.
From Parshall, head east on Highway 40, then south on County Road 3, where you'll cross the Colorado River. Make your way adjacent to the Williams Fork Reservoir and Valley. You will pass the Henderson Mill before you get to the top of the pass. Make sure to stop at the top for one of the most impressive views of Eagles Nest Wilderness! On your descent, the views of the Gore Range are incredible. Along your drive, see if you can spot Prairie Mountain and Ute Peak, and keep your eyes out for other distinct mountain peaks in the area. The road ends between Kremmling, Colorado to the north and Silverthorne, Colorado to the south on Highway 9.
Along this stretch of scenic road, there is plenty of hiking on trails like the Ute Peak Trail or the Ute Pass Trail. Biking is also popular in the area, but if you decide to try it yourself, be prepared for some challenging climbs. The road passes Williams Fork Reservoir and runs nearby the Williams Fork River for much of the drive, so take a detour for some fishing if you have the time—fly fishing in the Williams Fork River is about as close to quintessential Colorado as you can get.
For more scenic drives and scenic byways in Colorado, check out Trail Ridge Road, Trough Road, Corona / Rollins Pass, Stillwater Pass and Colorado River Headwater's Scenic and Historic Byway.