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A hike here can be a destination in itself: generally speaking, the trails on this side of the Continental Divide are longer than those on the Western Slope, meaning you'll trek farther and higher than you might have expected to your destination. Many trails take you 5 mi one-way before you reach a lake or peak. If you hike in the backcountry, be sure you're outfitted for adverse weather. The National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map No. 503 (Winter Park/Grand Lake) has excellent coverage of hiking and biking trails in the area, with information about regulations.
For those who'd rather not venture quite so far, there are many shorter hikes in and around Grand Lake, all of which offer gorgeous scenery and wonderful relaxation, as the trails here tend to have fewer hikers on them than those near Estes Park.
Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. At the southeast end of Lake Granby, the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, located within the Arapaho National Recreation Area, is great for hiking. The area around Monarch Lake is popular with families for the selection of trails and the views of the Indian Peaks and the Continental Divide. Trails range in distance from 1.5 to 10.8 mi one-way. The easy Monarch Lake Loop is 3.8 mi and a mere 110 feet in elevation gain. You can get a day pass ($5) from the staff or at the self-serve pay station. Take U.S. 34 south to County Rd. 6. Follow the lakeshore road about 10 mi, Grand Lake, CO, 80446. 970/887-4100. www.fs.fed.us/r2/arnf/recreation/trails/srd/monarchlake/shtml.
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