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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests > Sulphur Ranger District

Quick Facts

Knight Ridge Trail

Beginning Elevation: 8,360 Feet (2606.0 Meters) at Arapaho Bay Campground
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 40 Feet (12.5 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 8,400 Feet (2618.5 Meters) at Grand Lake Village
Length, One-way: 12 Miles (20.0 Kilometers)
Other Maps: Arapaho Roosevelt National Forest Map
TI Topo Maps: #200 Rocky Mountain National Park
Trail Number: 5
Usage: Moderate
USGS Maps: Shadow Mountain

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

The Knight Ridge Trail begins at the northwest end of the Arapaho Bay Campground. It can also be accessed at the Shadow Mountain Dam, Grand Lake Village or by boat anywhere along the trail's length except for a mile stretch immediately below Shadow Mountain Dam. It leads generally along the east side of Lake Granby to Shadow Mountain Dam, then along the east side of Shadow Mountain Lake to Grand Lake.

The Knight Ridge Trail has several stretches that are popular with day hikers, fishermen and picnickers. Although not many people hike its entire 12 miles at one time, it can easily be accomplished with the help of a car shuttle at either end. Signs posted along the trail designate the boundaries between Rocky Mountain National Park, the Indian Peaks Wilderness, and the Arapaho National Recreation Area. The latter two areas are administered by the U.S. Forest Service which has slightly different regulations from the National Park Service. On the National Park Service's portion of the Knight Ridge Trail there is no hunting, pets, wood collecting or camping without a permit.

Fishing is good anywhere along the water's edge, and camping is good in select spots from Roaring Fork to the U.S. Forest Service/National Park Service boundary on Grand Bay. The trail is generally accessible by mid-May.

The Knight Ridge Trail, beginning from the Roaring Fork access, heads northwest from the campground parking lot. The path immediately crosses the Roaring Fork via a wooden bridge and then crosses a small dike alongside some beaver ponds.

After traveling for a short distance through a lodgepole pine forest, the trail begins to sidehill along a steep and barren slope which rises from the eastern shores of Lake Granby.

After McDonald Cove Trail turns north, climbing steeply over switchbacks before leveling off along Knight Ridge. Once on the ridge top, hiking becomes easier, providing ample opportunities to enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding area. The trail follows the ridge for 1 1/2 miles through aspen stands. The trail then descends the ridge, cuts inland and follows a draw for 1 1/2 miles before rejoining the lake shore near a Forest Service cabin at Grand Bay.

After the cabin, the trail loops around the bay, crossing Twin Creek on a log footbridge. The trail soon enters Rocky Mountain National Park. The remainder of the trail to Shadow Mountain Dam parallels Columbine Bay and then the Colorado River, sometimes close to the water's edge and sometimes straying off into the woods. Overall, the trail is fairly level with only a few short ups and downs. Halfway between the cabin and Shadow Mountain Dam is the trail junction with the Columbine Creek Trail. The Columbine Creek Trail was built in the 1930's to provide a forest fire access road and therefore has no particular destination.

Within the last mile to the dam, the trail joins an old road for a short distance before once again becoming a trail in the woods. At the same time, the quiet waters of Columbine Bay become the rapids of the Colorado River. The last half mile to Shadow Mountain Dam is a pleasant and scenic walk through a meadow.

Shadow Mountain Dam is once again on Forest Service land, but hikers may choose to continue on through Park Service land to Grand Lake. Here the path travels for a fairly level 2.8 miles along Shadow Mountain Lake's eastern shoreline and through a continuous lodgepole pine forest.

Directions from Granby: Follow Highway 40 west to Highway 34. Go north on Hwy 34 to Forest Road 125, on the south end of Lake Granby. Follow 125 east to the Arapaho Bay Campground. The trailhead is located at the northwest end of the Arapaho Bay Campground parking lot.Alternate Access: The Knight Ridge Trail can also be accessed at the Shadow Mountain Dam, Grand Lake Village or by boat anywhere along the trail's length except for a mile stretch immediately below Shadow Mountain Dam.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: Summer through Fall (NOTE: This trail is normally accessible by mid-May.) .

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking The Knight Ridge Trail forms part of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail.
ICON Cold Water Fishing Fishing opportunities exist all along the trail.
ICON Hiking & Walking Knight Ridge Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Knight Ridge Trail

Related Activities
Arapaho Bay Campground - Arapaho Bay Campground is located north of Granby in the Arapaho National Recreation Area. It sits on the southeast end of Lake Granby, at an elevation of 8,360 feet.

Green Ridge Campground - Green Ridge Campground is located north of Granby in the Arapaho National Recreation Area. It sits on the south end of Shadow Mountain Lake, at an elevation of 8,360 feet.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Grand Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, 928 Grand Avenue , Grand Lake, CO, 80447, Phone: 800-531-1019


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