Arapaho National Recreation Area

ANRA Lake.

Arapaho National Recreation Area covers 35,000 acres in the upper reaches of the Colorado River Valley. Established by Congress in 1978, the area offers world-class recreation opportunities and contains five major reservoirs: Lake Granby, Shadow Mountain Reservoir, Monarch Lake, Willow Creek Reservoir and Meadow Creek Reservoir. Adjacent to the recreation area is Grand Lake. With its deep, clear blue waters, it’s the largest natural lake in Colorado.

The recreation area has a fee program that is essential to providing quality facilities and services such as boat ramps, campgrounds, picnic areas, trail maintenance, and more.

To visit Arapaho National Recreation Area –

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Day-use is from sun-up to sun-down, overnight use is allowed in campgrounds only. For boat ramp hours, view Water Activities at the bottom of the page.
Fees: Arapaho National Recreation Area fees apply. All vehicles must display a valid ANRA or interagency pass. Interagency Annual, Military, Senior, Golden Age, Access, Golden Access, and 4th Grade passes are accepted.
Usage: Heavy

In the Arapaho National Recreation Area, motorized boats will only be allowed to launch from designated boat ramps whenever Colorado Parks and Wildlife inspectors are present. Emergency access onto Arapaho National Recreation Area reservoirs and one-way access off the water will be provided 24/7 at Stillwater and Green Ridge boat ramps.


Closest Towns: Granby, Colorado; Grand Lake, Colorado
Operated By: Forest Service


Campground Camping

Recreation areas with activity Campground Camping:

Group Camping

Recreation areas with activity Group Camping:

Campers only need an ANRA pass if they access any fee areas.

Dispersed camping is also allowed near Meadow Creek Reservoir, along some of the eastern shore of Lake Granby and along other roads within the recreation area identified for dispersed camping on the Sulphur Ranger District Motor Vehicle Use Map.

Lake and Pond Fishing

Recreation areas with activity Lake and Pond Fishing:

River and Stream Fishing

Recreation areas with activity River and Stream Fishing:

Fishing is available on each of the lakes and on public land along creeks and rivers within the area. Lake Granby is known for its kokanee salmon and trophy lake trout. Shadow Mountain Reservoir is stocked with brown and other trout species. Fishing licenses are required per State of Colorado regulations and seasonal regulations exist on the Colorado River below Shadow Mountain Reservoir Dam.

Ice Fishing

Recreation areas with activity Ice Fishing:

Ice Fishing Safety

Vehicles operating on frozen reservoirs must be less than 1,000 pounds. For more info, see Restrictions above.

Day Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:

The Monarch Lake, Junco Lake, and Roaring Fork trailheads within the ANRA are entry points to Indian Peaks Wilderness. Visitors entering Indian Peaks Wilderness are responsible for following all regulations and permit requirements.

The easy to moderate, four-mile circuit around Monarch Lake offers views up to the valleys and high points of the Indian Peaks Wilderness and is one of the area’s most popular hikes.

The Shadow Mountain Dam Trailhead, accessed near the Green Ridge Campground, offers access to trails into Rocky Mountain National Park and along the Colorado River (dogs are not allowed on National Park trails).

The Continental Divide Trail crosses the ANRA east of Lake Granby.

Viewing Wildlife

Recreation areas with activity Viewing Wildlife:

Bird lovers enjoy watching the many osprey in the area. Visitors can watch for them hovering over the water then plunging feet-first for fish, and for the body-parallel method osprey use to carry their prey (versus the perpendicular method eagles use to carry fish). There is an osprey viewing platform and parking for it near the Green Mountain Campground, at the gated end of County Road 66.

Print this self guided osprey tour brochure

Other types of wildlife that may be seen in the ANRA include birds like the Stellar's Jay, raven, western bluebird, ptarmigan, and mountain chickadee, and mammals including antelope, moose, deer, elk, bobcats, pine martens, mountain lions, squirrels, black bears and pika.

Never feed or approach wildlife. Keep a clean camp in order to ward off bears. Be aware that moose can become aggressive and may be a bigger threat than bears, particularly around dogs.

Group Picnicking

Recreation areas with activity Group Picnicking:

Boating - Motorized

Recreation areas with activity Boating - Motorized:

Boating - Non-Motorized

Recreation areas with activity Boating - Non-Motorized:

Boating Safety

Lake Granby and Shadow Mountain Lake are open to motorized and non-motorized boats.

Willow Creek, Meadow Creek and Monarch Lake Reservoirs are open only to non-motorized boats.

Inspections required – Motorboats and sailboats must have an Aquatic Nuisance Species Stamp prior to launching in Colorado.

  • Lake Granby – Colorado State Aquatic Nuisance Species inspection and decontamination are available at Sunset Point and Stillwater boat ramps (adjacent to campground).
  • Shadow Mountain Lake – Aquatic Nuisance Species inspection and decontamination are available at Green Ridge boat ramp.
  • Non-motorized boats (not requiring state inspections) may launch from Hilltop Boat Launch, near Grand Lake, and Willow Creek Boat Launch on Willow Creek Reservoir.
  • State of Colorado boating regulations apply within the ANRA.

Know Before You Go

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Related Links

Campgrounds At-A-Glance

Featured Events


  Latitude : 

  Longitude :