We’ve been to Snow Mountain Ranch a handful of times and during various seasons. We’ve eaten in the cafeteria and done quite a few of the activities offered. This time, we decided to use our cabin as a place to stay while we explored Grand County.
Grand County is downright beautiful. It is home to what I like to think of as “old Colorado.” Time is a bit slower and cows and horses roam the fields. Mountains rise in the distances and during the summer, wildflowers explode in meadows and beside the road. It’s the type of place Ryan visited while growing up outside of Denver.
The tiny town of Hot Sulphur Springs, about 12 minutes from Granby, was a big deal in the late 1800s and early 1900s. People were drawn to the healing powers of the hot springs and the mighty Colorado River runs through town.
Less than a 1000 people call Hot Sulphur Springs home today and yet the first-ever ski jump tournament west of the Mississippi was held here in 1911. Grand County and Hot Sulphur Springs have a close relationship with John Wesley Powell. Learn about it at the Pioneer Village Museum in town. Also, I highly recommend the book “Beyond the 100th Meridian: John Wesley Powell & the Second Opening of the West.”
It was here, past the Pioneer Village Museum, that we started down the unpaved Cottonwood Pass Road, also known as Country Road 55. The pass begins and ends the same way; green pastures dotted with the occasional herd of horses. This is ranch country and it is on full display.
The easy road gently rises and at the summit CR 555 veers off of CR55 into Arapaho National Forest. We’d love to take it one day.
The summit is filled with aspen trees, wildflowers and caterpillars. It is a serene place and worth stopping for a bit.
This used to be the only road between Granby and Hot Sulphur Springs, and in fact, was the original stagecoach road and toll road until the train came in 1905. For all historic small roads in the area go to VisitGrandCounty.com.
We crossed the cattle grate and a quintessential Colorado view opened up before us. A scene framed by pine trees, Indian paintbrush, fireweed, blanket flower and prairie flax. I spend a lot of time during this time of year shooting photos of flowers. If you like Colorado wildflowers, a twitter follower just told me about this Facebook group. I joined and it’s awesome if you’re a little wildflower crazy.
Down the road, we passed by ranch land again, including a large meadow full of cows and their offspring. They weren’t really baby cows anymore, they were kinda big.
People on bicycles began pedaling past us on the Granby side of the pass, but we were off the road before noon, so we saw very few vehicles.
When Cottonwood Pass/CR 55 hits Hwy 40, Snow Mountain Ranch is just 5 minutes down the road. This is a simple and beautiful excursion to take while staying at Snow Mountain Ranch. The property is almost in the middle of Grand County, so it is an excellent place to stay while exploring the area.
Thank you to Snow Mountain Ranch for hosting our stay.