6 Places to Visit in Winter Park this Summer

The Heidi Guide explores Winter Park's best summer spots
Winter Park Courtesy Photo

Courtesy of Winter Park

When it is reaching high temps on Colorado’s Front Range, just drive an hour and a half west to Grand County, where the average temperature in August is just 74 degrees. Sound nice? It is. And the dog will think so too. Ryan and I headed to Winter Park in Grand County this past weekend with Fritzi, our 65-pound German Shepherd in tow. She’s been heading out on the road since she was a puppy, and she’s now four.

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Courtesy of The Heidi Guide

Thankfully, Grand County, home to Winter Park (9,100 feet above sea level), is an incredibly dog-friendly place. Our spacious two-bed condo at Trailhead Lodge was dog-friendly, and I think everyone staying at the lodge had a dog or two. Every morning and evening we would head out on the paved path along Vasquez Creek (about two minutes on foot from the condo). We’d make our way to Confluence Park and take the short loop trail. The walkway is lined with lush greenery dotted with wildflowers. At certain times of the day, sunlight magically illuminates the creek, river and flowers. 

Trailhead Lodge Courtesy Photo Swimming Pool

By the pool. | Courtesy of Trailhead Lodge

Confluence Park is where Vasquez Creek meets the Fraser River, and Fritzi enjoyed taking a dip each day, nearly pulling Ryan in with her as she would leap the length of her six-foot leash into the water. This German Shepherd, unlike others, is not afraid to get wet. Behind Trailhead Lodge is Fraser Creek including access to the paved creek path despite construction in the area. Summer is always the time to build in Colorado. As close as the property is to nature, Trailhead Lodge is located in the middle of town.

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Courtesy of The Heidi Guide

Across the street is Rendevous Event Center at Hideaway Park and the Visitor Center. The park is home to live music, yoga, and festivals all summer long. We were in town for the Winter Park Brew Fest, but there is still a lot happening in August including High-Note on Thursday nights, Winter Park Uncorked, SolShine, and Country at the Park. Click here for a list of all events in Winter Park and the surrounding area. 

Winter Park 2 Courtesy Photo

Courtesy of Winter Park

Cooper Creek Square, a short stroll from Trailhead Lodge, hosts summer music and has shops and restaurants. Saturdays and Sundays through September 2, the entire place comes alive with the sound of music, and water splashing over the rocky water fountain in the square. Visitors can partake in drinks and dinner, listen to live music or just stroll through the scene, enjoying the blissful summer feel. My favorite spots for dinner in Winter Park are two very different restaurants: Deno’s Mountain Bistro and The Ditch on 40. Located close to each other, Deno’s is a little more upscale. Open since 1976, it is beloved among longtime Grand Valley dwellers. 

Winter Park The Heidi Guide 3

Courtesy of The Heidi Guide

The Ditch on 40 is a little newer, but with license plates lining the walls, one would think it opened years ago. Tap handles hang from the ceiling, along with dollar bills, and locals belly up to the bar at this Winter Park staple. Go hungry because portions are huge, and beware, green chiles are king here and on almost everything. With more than 600 miles of bike-friendly trails in the area, Grand County is a cycling paradise. In 2016, we rented bikes and rode the Fraser River Trail from Winter Park to Fraser. An easy ride, anyone at a bike shop or the visitor center can help find a trail that suits a rider’s ability. Winter Park Resort, 15 minutes south of town, features a Trestle Bike Park for those who are looking for a little downhill excitement. 

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Courtesy of The Heidi Guide

From hiking to riding to shopping, dining, drinking, or festival-going, Winter Park in Grand County is an excellent way to escape the heat of the Colorado summer. Be sure to bring the dog, she’ll love it. Ours sure did.

Categories: The Heidi Guide