Established in 1874, Grand County lies in the north-central Rocky Mountains. It is named after the Grand River, an early name for the Colorado River. Encompassing 1,868 square miles, the County’s major geographic feature is Middle Park, a large mountain basin that includes the headwaters of the Colorado River. It also features Grand Lake, the deepest natural lake in Colorado. The majority of the county’s land—about 75%—is administered by the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Colorado State Board of Land Commissioners, and Rocky Mountain National Park.
Today, tourism is the main driver of the Grand County economy. Grand County’s difficult terrain and lack of major industrial development meant that the natural landscape of the mountain basin was generally preserved, and since a majority of the county is administered by both the state and federal government, much of the area’s natural beauty persists for visitors to enjoy. Accommodations and food is the largest employer, with construction as the second-largest. The county hosts a variety of outdoor recreation including hiking, mountain biking, fishing, skiing, and cross country skiing, among other activities.