Colorado River from RMNP west to Utah

Colorado River Headwaters Scenic Byway

The mighty Colorado River that carved the Grand Canyon has its headwaters on the west side of the Continental Divide in Rocky Mountain National Park.

The route begins at Grand Lake, western gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park - a resort on the shores of Colorado's largest natural Lake.  It ends on a gravel road through spectacular Gore Canyon.

This scenic byway follows the magnificent Colorado River through Colorado as it begins its journey west through the Grand Canyon and flows to the Pacific.

The byway passes mountain valleys, canyons, lakes, historical ranchlands and high-country communities.

Wildlife, river rafting, hunting and year-round recreation is plentiful with easy access to thousands of acres of public land.

In the Park about 9.5 miles north of Grand Lake, you can get closer to the source by hiking from the Colorado River Headwaters trailhead.

Lulu City, an 1880s gold mining camp sited along the banks of the Colorado, is now just a green meadow next to a stream in the Park. You can hike or backpack to the site of Lulu City (see photo).

Take Hwy. 34 from Grand Lake to Granby, Hwy. 40 to Kremmling, County Road 1 (gravel road) to State Bridge. Avoid travel on gravel portion after rain or snow.  Map of Scenic Byway.

  • Elevation: 6,500-9,000 feet
  • Length: 75 miles
  • Driving time: 90 minutes to drive, 3-6 hours to enjoy

To enrich your drive, order the award winning DVD PBS Production "Rivers of the Rockies".