Freeway Free in Colorado: It’s Fun to Stay/at the YMCA
Coming down from Rocky Mountain National Park, having gotten our full dose of quaintness at Grand Lake, we were expecting more of the same. But once we hit the T intersection with Highway 40, the next outpost of civilization was Granby, perhaps the most unpicturesque town in Colorado. It is as though the town fathers along US 40 had gotten together and agreed to put all the useful, practical, unromantic elements necessary for civilization in one town: we passed a medical clinic, a truck stop, a modern hardware store, a fire station, and a post office, all seemingly made of the same uncompromising beige 1950’s era cinder block. One building, the Longbranch saloon, shows on the town website festooned with flags and/or flowers, but maybe this is only for photo shoots. Poor Granby is the ugly old-maid sister who makes herself useful.
Happily, we could breeze right by Granby. We had already selected our local home base, an unfussy family-type resort at the Snow Mountain Ranch (AKA YMCA Camp of the Rockies) just a little further down the road. In winter this center offers fine cross country skiing as well as an indoor pool and a roller-skating rink; in summer there are hiking trails with great veiws, a canoeing lake for beginners, an archery range, horseback riding, a miniature golf course (pretty bare of grass, but it’s there), and other outdoorsy things, as well as a craft center for rainy days.
Best of all, this place is ridiculously affordable. A 2-bedroom cabin that sleeps five is $249/day. There are also rooms available in various lodge building which can accommodate up to six people in a single room at true bargain rates, or you can opt for a yurt. If you wish, at a very reasonable cost you can opt for three square meals at the cafeteria. Food is about the quality of Denny’s, except for watery scrambled eggs in the morning.
So we hung out at the Y for a week, hiking, biking, and scaring the local fauna. (More on this next post)