Grand Lake Colorado Fall Vacation

A Colorado Vacation in September or October

Grand County, Colorado has experienced unusual weather this year! January brought endless snow, and nobody had anywhere to put it after shoveling driveways and clearing roads! Then we hardly had any snow for a couple of months. This was all followed up by a snowy April and snowy/wet May. Trail Ridge Road didn’t even manage to open in time for Memorial Day Weekend, and that was not for lack of trying; it just kept snowing at high elevations! June is usually unpredictable weather wise. It can be sunny, snowy, rainy, and most often, all of those in one day! Late June this year was dry, sunny and unseasonably warm. Then the monsoons came in July, and it was more cloudy than usual with longer afternoon sessions of rain, often beginning around noon into the evening. It did this all through August too! August usually brings us quick showers in the afternoons but is generally drier with hot days. The Aspen Trees started turning yellow in spots in late August and although the change sometimes “goes on hold”, this year they have just kept on changing, and it looks like an early peak color in the middle of the month instead of late in September.

Considering all the fires in the North West of the country, we are very grateful for all the moisture and no backyard forest fires! The lakes are all still full as well, including Lake Granby! Full lakes are scenic and are great to be out on in the fall weather. Come fishing and boating in Grand County, Colorado!

What will October, November, and December bring? Will it be an early winter or will we have a warm and sunny October? Will the lakes freeze in early or late December? We look forward to finding out. The elk are usually bugling in Rocky Mountain National Park at the West Entrance through early October. The bull elk, moose and mule deer are all sporting impressive racks at this time of the year. We invite you to visit us a go bird and wildlife watching, hiking and sightseeing. There are excellent hunting opportunities in the Arapaho National Forest. Soak the day away at Hot Sulphur Springs in the outdoor pools under an open sky! Grand Lake, Colorado is a great place to visit in October – the crowds are gone, the shops and restaurants are waiting to welcome you and there are some great sales!

Grand Lake, Colorado Entry sign

Grand Lake, Colorado

The Rapids Restaurant will be serving lunch and dinner 6 days a week through October 7th closed on Tuesdays). Thereafter we will switch to our low season schedule of dinner Wednesday through Saturday. Our amazing low season hotel rates begin October 8th!

The Rapids will be open a little later than usual this year before we take out fall break and that means we will be open for Halloween! Our last night open will be Saturday, November 5th and then we take a break until December 1st, 2017. Book your September or October Colorado Vacation with us today!

It’s almost fall in Colorado!

This summer has flown by and it’s been a wet one for the Colorado Mountains. Nights have been, on average, a little cooler. Perhaps this will bring a fabulous, dry fall bursting with color! Colors have already started to change here and there, the odd willow, a few Aspen Trees, the grass in the meadows …. it won’t be long before the scenery is bursting with color.

Fall in Colorado

Perhaps you have made your fall vacation plans and perhaps some of you are waiting to see when peak color will be. Either way, we encourage you to book soon for fall accommodation at the Rapids. A River View Condo at the Rapids is always the prime spot but there is charm in every room whether it is Lodge Guest Room 6 “Treehouse Suite” or a Rapids Cabins with a fireplace. Our Rapids Suites are spacious and some a dog-friendly too. We invite you to explore our website and enjoy all the wonderful photos of the rooms, property, and area.Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park is a fantastic drive to Estes Park. Plan an evening for spending in the park, watching the Bull Elk round up their harems of females, all the while filling the valley with their haunting “

Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park is a fantastic drive to Estes Park. Plan an evening for spending in the park, watching the Bull Elk round up their harems of females, all the while filling the valley with their haunting “bugling”.  Fall days on the lakes are often warm and still, with the water reflecting blue skies and golden Aspen leaf reflections dance on the water. Try a Starlight soak in Hot Sulphur Springs after a stunning hike. You will likely see Moose around too and the bulls sport really impressive racks in Grand County. We can direct you to some breathtaking fall dives in the area.

A Colorado Fall is just not to be missed, it’s that spectacular!

A fall lunch outside by the river with startlingly blue skies and golden Aspen Leaves is not to be missed. On chilly nights, you may enjoy a fireside table with a view for a sumptuous dinner.

Picnic spots in Grand County, Colorado

Picnic spots in Grand County, Colorado

There are so many great places to have a picnic lunch in a scenic location in Grand County, just a short distance from the Rapids Lodge. The Historic Rapids and Restaurant is the perfect place for a Colorado family vacation or getaway. Take advantage of the last weeks of August to experience the remaining Rocky Mountain Summer or visit us in fall when the Aspen Trees paint the landscape gold.  Late summer and fall days are often clear and dry, and the scenery glows with color.

One of the closest spots is at the East end of Grand Lake, right next to the Adams Tunnel (takes water to the Front Range). Enjoy a few picnic tables and a view over Grand Lake to the West. An evening picnic might serve up a spectacular sunset. The fishing is good in this location due to the flow of water.

Pine Beach

At the West end of Grand Lake, Point Park offers covered pavilions, picnic tables, charcoal grills and a truly spectacular view over Grand Lake and our iconic “Mount Baldy”. There is a viewing dock with information panels and the bridge over the channel connecting Grand Lake to Shadow Mountain Reservoir is a renowned place from which to dangle your fishing line. Moose frequent this spot too!

Heading south towards Granby will bring you to Pine Beach on Shadow Mountain Reservoir. Here there are several picnic tables with charcoal grills on a spit of land overlooking the islands. Bird watching here is excellent whether it be nesting Osprey, Bald Eagles, White Pelicans, Common Mergansers and much more. Again, this is a great place to see moose.

Just a hop skip and a jump away is the Green Ridge Picnic Area with an expansive view and tables ready for your picnic basket. There is an Osprey nest right next to one of the tables and it great to watch the growing chick get fed by the parents. They will leave the best soon after Labor Day Weekend.

Green Mountain

There are numerous opportunities in Rocky Mountain National Park, some with charcoal grills and quite a few with picnic tables. These areas overlook the meadows and the willows, perfect for seeing Elk, Deer, and Moose, perhaps even a coyote.

Enjoy all that the great outdoors in Grand County has to offer and the Rapids’ river front. If you aren’t in the mood to organize a picnic, the Rapids restaurant can offer you a memorable experience!

 

Boating Grand Lake, Colorado

Boating Adventures in Grand County, Colorado….

July, August, and September are all prime months for boating in Grand County and there are so many lakes to choose from! The water is still a bit chilly right now due to the late melt this year, but it is warming quickly. So if you are in the mood for a swim, the water will definitely take your breath away.

Boating Grand Lake, Colorado

Headwaters Marina in Grand Lake, Colorado offers boat tours around historic Grand Lake. Sit back and absorb the history and anecdotes of the lake and its residents past and present. A kayak rental or paddle board rental is also a fun way to explore. Mornings are always best when the air and lakes are still and reflective. Boater’s Choice Marina is also a great option and they offer one of the closest coffee shops to the Rapids Lodge: “The Wake”.

Boating Grand Lake, Colorado Public Docks

Boating Shadow Mountain Lake

Perhaps a pontoon ride on Shadow Mountain Lake may turn into a fun expedition for the whole family. Trail Ridge Marina allows you to explore the wild eastern shore of the lake and you just might see deer, moose or a mink! Head down south and meander between the islands, one of which you can get off on and enjoy a picnic. Birds abound on Shadow Mountain Lake including Canada Goose, Common Mergansers, Red- Winged Blackbirds, White Pelicans, Osprey and more.

Boating Lake Granby

Try Lake Granby for a day of boating. You can rent from Beacon Landing Marina or Indian Peaks Marina. Head east past the Farr Pumping Plant (part of the Big-Thompson Water Project) and you will soon discover scenic beaches to stop off at on the way to Columbine Bay, a narrow finger of water that heads back towards the Colorado River inflow. Campsites abound on these shores and an overnight stay is a memorable experience. You might even see a bear sneak out of the woods between camping “check-out/in time” seeking the odd dropped morsel. This is a great area to see Bald Eagle and Osprey nest on almost all the islands. The shoreline is varied and offers ever-changing views. Colorful Aspen Trees make this a great lake to explore in the fall.

Non-motorized boating

Lastly, for non-motorized boaters, a canoe, kayak or SUP (Stand Up Paddle) paddle board adventure on either Monarch Lake or Willow Creek Reservoir can be very rewarding. These smaller lakes also teem with birdlife and wildlife. Don’t forget your fishing poles, all of these lakes are prime fishing locations!

Kayaks at Monarch Lake, Boating Grand Lake, Colorado
The Rapids Lodge is a great base from which to explore and you can begin or end your adventure with an appetite-satisfying lunch or dinner riverside at the Rapids Restaurant.

Phone: 970-627-3707
Email: [email protected]

Grand Lake, Colorado Wheelchair Accessibility

Grand Lake is wheelchair friendly!

The Historic Rapids Lodge and Restaurant offers an OSHA certified handicapped accessible room in our Rapids Suites building and we are located just one half block from the end of the main street in town, and two half blocks to the lake. Access to the river in front of the Historic Lodge building is at the North end of the main lodge so you may enjoy a lunch or early dinner in our gazebo or on the riverside patio in summer. If it’s cold outside, just let us know and we will direct you to the easy way into the main building for a warm meal next to a fireplace with a view of the Tonahutu River.

The Rapids Lodge is the perfect base from which to explore. The town of Grand Lake offers store front boardwalks that are accessible to everybody. Enjoy the beach area and lakeside docks too. Sitting next to the calming water with tremendous views all around you, is a memorable experience!

Rocky Mountain National Park offers a lot of picnic areas, viewpoints and short trails from which to explore the park and view wildlife. The Coyote Valley Trailhead is fully accessible and will take you along a mile of trail with outstanding views of the Kawuneechee Valley and surrounding mountain peaks. The trail also is alongside the Colorado River and there is a fully accessible little fishing spot on a scenic meander of the river. Try your luck for brook trout, browns, cutthroats, and even the odd rainbow trout!

the fishing platform of Coyote Valley Trail Head

There’s plenty more to do. Grand County and Grand Lake are one of the most scenic and unique areas to visit. Come stay with us!

The Historic Rapids Lodge and Restaurant
Grand Lake, Colorado

Click Here to book

Rapids Lodge A Grand Lake, Colorado Hotel

Rapids Lodge A Grand Lake, Colorado Hotel

Well, this March certainly did not live up to its reputation of being the biggest snow month! After our record January snow accumulation, the rest of the winter was pretty wimpy. No more big snows, no extended cold snaps. Spring definitely arrived in Grand Lake, like elsewhere in the country, three weeks early. The Tonahutu River began opening up in earnest around March 24th and by the 29th, the water was flowing more strongly. By the end of March, the Alders were already blooming along the lake shores. Grand Lake ice was breaking up on April 12th and Lake Granby was largely free of ice by April 15. All the lakes were clear of ice soon after. Boating channel markers were in by mid-April! The Town of Grand Lake will be putting two new docks in at the East Boat Ramp on Grand Lake in May!

So here we are in late April and bulbs are blooming, the grass is greening up and a few green leaves are beginning to appear. Days have been in the 60’s and the weather has been up to its usual spring tricks; rain, snow, sunshine all in a space of a few hours. The last few days of April were cool, and cloudy with flurries but that’s great – the snowpack won’t melt too fast! Moose are really beginning to move around as well. We have seen quite a few yearling moose off on their own, and that means one thing, mom is getting ready to have a new baby. Even the bears woke up early, our local Houdini Bear squeezed into the bear proof dumpster for a little snack on April 18th and 20th.

May is going to be exciting. When all the snow melts, and there is still lots of it up high, the rivers will be rushing, Lake Granby will soon be brimming, and the snow-capped mountains will provide a spectacular backdrop to our stunning scenery.

The Rapids Lodge is open for the summer season starting Monday, May 1st. The Rapids Restaurant is open beginning Friday, May 5th. Restaurant hours TBA – keep an eye on our Restaurant Hours page. Lunch service begins Memorial Day Weekend!

Mother’s Day is coming up, and as you know, the Rapids is the perfect place to treat her to something special; a weekend away and a dinner at the Rapids Restaurant. We also still have some availability for Memorial Day Weekend and that is always fun, especially with the Monday parade!

What to expect: May in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado

As of mid-March, our area is at 143% of average expected snowpack for this time of year! March is often the biggest snow month of the season although I think this January will be hard to beat! The weather right now is fairly warm, days in the mid 40’s with nights not too far below freezing. Just today, the Tonahutu River in front of the AAA Three Diamond Rapids Restaurant, began to open up and for the first time. We can hear the water gurgling again! Music to our ears. Unless we get a remarkably cold snap, we expect the ice to melt away fairly quickly. Perhaps we will have a nice slow melt, maybe it will be really warm and we will have a sudden melt. Either way, the Tonahutu River this spring will be raging and a quite a spectacle to see. Pick a River View or Rapids Condo with a view of the river and enjoy the rushing water from the comfort of your room.

tonahutu-River-Grand-Lake-Colorado

Spring has arrived in many parts of the country an estimated three weeks early. Right now, mid-March, there have been sightings of our spring icons: American Robins and Mountain Bluebirds! Your birding adventures can start now! Perhaps the lake ice will also melt off early this year and the Aspen Trees will sprout green leaves at the beginning of May versus Mid-May in Grand Lake. We will have to see.

The two big events of May are of course, are Mother’s Day and Memorial Day Weekend (enjoy the Parade)! On Memorial Day Weekend, Bingo, on the weekends, in the Grand Lake Pavilion starts up for the summer and the historic Kauffman House (Grand Lake, Colorado’s first hotel) opens up for the summer season. Who needs events for an excuse to come to the mountains in May? The scenery is never prettier with snow-capped peaks towering above azure lakes and the brilliant green of fresh spring growth contrasting with the blues of peaks and sky. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for baby moose!

We have accommodations for every taste: Riverside Condos that sleep 4 to 12 people, Historic Lodge Guest Rooms, Rapids Suites sleeping 4-7 people and in mid-May, our pet-friendly cabins will open up for the summer season! Book now to visit “Grand Lake’s Hidden Gem.”

Bye Bye Winter! Grand Lake, Colorado

One more month of winter!

 

Here we are at the end of February and it seems like winter has flown by. Don’t worry – there is still one more month of prime snow conditions to keep us entertained! The Upper Colorado Basin snow-pack levels are still well above average at 150 %. The base for our downhill skiing slopes (Ski Granby Ranch), cross-country skiing and snowshoeing (Grand Lake Nordic Center) and snowmobiling in the Arapaho National Forest is really good, and that will extend the season for all those activities. The Rapids Lodge will have rooms to rent through April 1st, so if your Spring Break is early, make the Rapids Lodge your base (room start at just $60/night). There is so much to do!

Now that the weather is warmer, moose are more active and have been seen around town a lot lately. The ice-fishing is great too.  During the warmer periods of February, the river right in front of the Rapids, began to open up here and there. We could see that the river otters had been hopping in and out of the openings leaving telltale tracks with tail drag marks. After a fresh snow, there are always red fox tracks all over the snow covered, frozen river. The squirrels are out and about on warm days too. Wildlife sightings are something that make Colorado Vacations truly memorable. We are one of the best places to pick out of all the Rocky Mountain National Park lodging options.  Now

 

Beginner Snowshoe Rocky Mountain National Park

Enjoy a Rocky Mountain National Park hike on snowshoes! It’s easy. If you don’t have your own gear, rent from Never Summer Mountain Products or the Grand Lake Nordic Center. Saturday March 4, 2017

 

Intermediate Snowshoe Rocky Mountain National Park

Sunday March 5, 2017

 

Grand Lake Catch & Release Ice Fishing Contest

Saturday March 4, 2017 – Sunday March 5, 2017

This is something the whole family can do even if you have never tried it before! Rocky Mountain Outfitters will get you set up and on the right track. A family of 6 can stay at the Rapids Lodge for as little as $89 per night!

 

Full Moon Ski

Grand Lake Nordic Center
Saturday March 11, 2017


Snow Mountain Ranch Stampede Ski Race 

Saturday March 11 and Sunday March 12, 2017


Celebrate Women’s Aviation History
Emily Warmer Field, Granby
Friday March 17, 2017

Grand County Concert Series – Atlantic Brass 

Friday March 17, 2017

Kauffman House Museum Open

Saturday March 18, 2017

 The Grand Lake Area Historical Society has done a great job recreating one of Grand Lake’s first hotels. They have excellent seasonal exhibits too.

 

Soon it will be spring in the Rockies and the Tonahutu River will be rushing by. When this snow-pack melts, we expect a river that really wants to overflow its banks! It will be something to see. It’s never too early to start thinking about Mother’s Day and Memorial Day Weekend at the Rapids Lodge and Restaurant. Spring will soon be in the cool mountain  air!

 

Don’t forget, we are one of the best hotels in Grand Lake, Colorado!

The Month of Moose in Grand Lake, Colorado!

All this significant snowfall we have been having is making it hard for our local moose to move around in the high country and as a result, they are frequently seen in town and housing developments. Our water catchment area is classified as the “Upper Colorado Basin, ” and as of mid-January, our snowpack was measured at being 161% of average! That is a lot of snow!
One of the most commonly sighted moose has been a mother and baby: eating flower remains at the Rapids, wandering down Grand Avenue on the town boardwalk, at bird feeders and nosing around homes. Of course, our nicely shoveled walkways and plowed streets are a great way for them to get around! If you haven’t seen a moose yet, or just love watching them, we invite you to stay at the Rapids Lodge where we will keep you up to date on recent sightings! Always be careful and do not approach moose, especially with young.


There is so much more to do at the West Entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, especially with these astounding snow conditions. Snowmobiling is at its best right now, and you can get up to date groomed trail information from the Grand Lake Trail Groomers website. Ride right from your room at the Rapids Lodge.
The Nordic Center will get you set up with gear and lessons for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. If you are still planning your Valentine’s Day weekend, consider a romantic room at the Rapids Lodge (starting at just $60 for 2 people), a special dinner at the Rapids Restaurant (voted Grand County’s most romantic), and two for one passes at the Grand Lake Nordic Center! The Grand Lake Nordic Center also hosts full moon skis with a bonfire and hot chocolate – it’s magical. There is even a special full moon/eclipse ski on February 10th.
The Rapids Lodge has some dog-friendly rooms and your four-legged family member can join you on some trails at the Grand Lake Nordic Center. A favorite dog-friendly trail at this time of the year is the Monarch Lake loop at the southeast end of Lake Granby. Our three frozen lakes really open up terrain for you as well, either with snowmobiles or on skis and snowshoes. It’s great to hike on the ice along the shore of Grand Lake and get a different perspective on all the wonderful homes. Never Summer Mountain Products can also rent you gear for nordic skiing and snowshoeing in the area and Rocky Mountain National Park. Forgot something? Need a hat or gloves – they have everything you need for a great winter vacation in the Rockies!
Interested in Ice-Fishing? Rocky Mountain Outfitters can get you set up with gear and teach you how to do it! They always have the latest information on what is biting and where! The Three Lakes Annual Ice-Fishing Contest is coming up in January with great prizes and lots to offer for kids, a fun winter family activity. The Grand Lake Ice Fishing Contest is in early March.
The Kauffman House has a fabulous collection of dolls through the ages on exhibit at the moment, perfect for the little girl in your family and those interested in history. The Grand Lake Ice-Skating Rink is located at the Grand Lake Center just past the Post Office, and there are free skates available – hard to beat an afternoon on the ice. Shop and dine in Grand Lake!
Don’t forget the Grand Lake Winter Carnival on February 11th. Serious family fun. Watch the antique snowmobile races. The next three day weekend is President’s Day Weekend, don’t miss out. Stay and play at the Rapids Lodge, we can keep you busy: soak in the hot springs at Hot Sulphur Springs, sleigh rides at Winding River Resort, enjoy a winter hot air balloon ride, experience the exhilaration of a dog sled ride….and much more!

December in the Colorado Mountains!

We enjoyed a long fall at the Rapids! Colors began changing before Labor Day Weekend, and the last of the Golden Aspen Tree leaves fell at the very end of October! Trail Ridge Road closed a few times temporarily in October after substantial snowfalls at high elevations but was officially open well into November.
December is always a magical time of year with beautiful holiday lights strung all over town and individual homes. The annual automated Christmas Light show on CR 4 is always a “must-see.”  How about bringing your family along for a “White Christmas in the mountains” or just a quick weekend getaway!

 

Cold mornings make the heart sing when the sun is shining on freshly fallen snow. Crystals crunch and squeak underfoot and your breath clouds the air. Snow crystals dance in the sunlight, filling the sky with a myriad of diamonds. Soft, big flakes fall silently and build to form a thick layer of light, fluffy snow, perfect for the kids to romp in. Or perhaps an overnight wind causes the snow to coat the windward side of trees creating an amazing effect depending on whether you look north, south, east or west!. Perhaps the lakes have not yet frozen, and the moisture rising in spirit like wisps from the water, coats the willows and trees and exposed grasses in a thick hoar frost which captures the sunlight, sparkling and prismatic.

I bet you want to be here right now!

Rapids Lodge Grand Lake Colorado
There are always fun things to do in December in Grand Lake, Colorado, besides shopping, dining and celebrating the Holidays! OnDecember 10 enjoy a  “Full Moon Ski” at the Grand Lake Nordic Center. Take in a Christmas show on December 17+18 at the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre “Home for the Holidays”. Try your hand at cross country skiing with Free Ski Lessons at the Grand Lake Nordic Center on December 18th. Perhaps you would like to join guided snowshoe and ski tours in Rocky Mountain National Park on December 31st before enjoying dinner at the famous Rapids’ Restaurant and heading outdoors to enjoy the spectacular fireworks at midnight! We still have a few rooms left for New Year’s Eve, so book today! We have amazing low season rates/hotel deals during this winter season and some of our rooms are pet-friendly.
Let the Historic Rapids Lodge and Restaurant make your December trip to the Colorado mountains truly special and memorable.