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

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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.


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.

Grand Lake Colorado in the Winter

What will winter bring?

November was unseasonably warm and except for a few days following a snow storm, Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park remained open into November! The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a cold winter with average snow – good for playing in! Who knows when winter will arrive in Grand Lake, Colorado, but it is coming, so start making your plans for a winter vacation in the Colorado Rockies.

The Rapids Lodge will be open from December 1st through the winter and we have unbeatable winter rates: stay for just $60 per night for 2 people or $89 for up to 6 people! Some of the one bedroom Rapids Suites are pet-friendly. We offer the widest variety of accommodation in Grand Lake and some of our adjoining condos sleep up to 12. Our Grand Lake condos sleep 2-12 and offer either electric, gas or wood burning fireplaces. We are just a block from the end of the main street in town (Grand Ave.) and just 2 short blocks to the lake so you can walk everywhere.

Grand Lake Colorado

Grand Lake Colorado

If you would like to rent a snowmobile for your stay, contact “On The Trail Rentals” or “Grand Adventures”, then you can park right outside your room at the Rapids and access the 100 miles + of groomed snowmobile trails in the Arapahoe National Forest right from town. There are two snowmobile poker runs in February which raise money for good causes and anyone can join in – “Flight for Life Snowmobile Poker Run” and “Rocky Mountain Warriors”.

Some of the activities you can enjoy in our area include winter hot air ballooning, dog sled rides, sleigh rides, ice fishing (there are several Grand County Ice Fishing Competitions during the winter), snow shoeing, cross country skiing, sledding, ice-skating, shopping and romantic dinners. The Rapids Restaurant (opening December 9th) is a great place to host your holiday party whether for work or family. Call us today!

Are you looking for a reason to visit Grand County, Colorado this winter? Check out the December activities below:

December 2 – 13th Annual Festival of Trees – Fraser 4-8pm

December 4 – Free Cross Country Ski Lesson at Snow Mountain Ranch

December 7+8 – “The Importance of being Earnest” presented at Crooked Creek Young Life Camp

December 10 – Full Moon Ski at Grand Lake Nordic Center

December 12 – Granby’s Birthday Party Celebration 11am to 1pm

December 17+18 – “Home for the Holidays” at Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre

December 17+18 – Break the Ice Weekend at Snow Mountain Ranch – free family

December 18 – Free Ski Lessons =- Grand Lake Nordic Center

December 24 – Torchlight Parade at Winter Park Resort

December 26+27 – Kauffman House Museum Open

December 31

Kauffman House Museum Open – 10pm to midnight

December 31 – Ski the Wilderness in Winter – Rocky Mountain National Park

Beginner Snow Shoe – Rocky Mountain National Park

December 31 – Fireworks at midnight – Grand Lake

December 31 – New Year’s Eve at Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre

Later in the winter, the Grand Lake Winter Carnival is a must for family winter fun. Martin Luther King Weekend and President’s Day Weekend and Valentine’s offer great opportunities for a quick getaway.

The winter playground of Grand County and Grand Lake, Colorado is waiting for you!

Getaway ideas for Grand Lake Colorado

October Getaway Ideas ….

So the fall colors are at their tail end but the elk are still bugling away in Rocky Mountain National Park. What a great time of year to see the grand bull elk round up there harems and defend them. The elk herds appear out of the trees every day like clockwork at dusk and you are guaranteed a sighting! If you are an early riser, you can watch them head back into the trees after a night in the meadow.

Grand Lake Colorado

Grand Lake Colorado

The scenery in Grand Lake, Colorado is always breathtaking no matter what time of year, the mountain scenery and the sparkling lakes always astound. October is a great time to visit for those who like to avoid the crowds. The Rapids Lodge begins offering low season rates at the beginning of the month: stay for as low as $60 for 2 people and $89 for up to 6 people.  Some of these are pet-friendly so the whole family can come along!

There is still plenty to do besides shopping and dining out in Grand Lake (The Rapids Restaurant will be serving dinner during October, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday). Fishing, hiking, hot air ballooning  and biking can still be enjoyable as any random snowfall is not likely to stick until November. If it does get a little cool, soak in Hot Sulphur Springs or snuggle up in front of one of our fireplaces. Beware that if a substantial snowfall occurs at higher elevations, Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park may close, even if temporarily. Permanent closure usually happens when plowing the road becomes too difficult but can be late into October. Access to Grand Lake from Granby is year round.

The Arapahoe National Forest offers great hunting and if you are not the camping type, access is very quick and easy from the Rapids Lodge.  The Rapids has some larger condominiums  which can accommodate larger hunting groups if you are visiting Grand County with friends.

Fall in Grand Lake Colorado

Fall Foliage Tours …..

Colorado’s fall color is something to behold. The grass, the willows and the Aspen Trees turn a glorious gold. A few red Aspen Trees may be found in patches. If the leaves are backlit, the brilliance of the leaves is unsurpassed!  Fall peak colors may be a bit early this year. Golden trees and willows began appearing in late August and show no signs of slowing down! There are plenty of fall color drives to choose from and Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the best!

Grand Lake Colorado

Fall in Grand Lake Colorado


Fall in Grand Lake, Colorado also has a few fall festivals and activities to keep you entertained. Our main fall attraction is “Constitution Week” which runs September 12th through 17th. Enjoy talks and fun activities celebrating our constitution and don’t miss the fireworks that bring the week to a close!

The Elk mating season is another reason to visit us here at the Rapids Lodge in the fall. People come from all over the world to witness the bull elk bugling as they round their harems of females up for mating. You mightThe Tonahutu Creek at the Rapids Lodge be lucky enough to see a fight between majestic, antlered bulls. The elk (also known as Wapiti) come out of the trees and gather in the meadows daily at dusk and tourists gather with chairs and blankets on the road verges to witness the action. The bulls elk’s mating call is a haunting sound and will stay in your memory forever.

So head our direction on your fall road trip and enjoy Colorado at its best. The Rapids Lodge is located on the Tonahutu River, at the end of the main street in town (Grand Ave.). You can walk everywhere …. it is just two short blocks to the lake. Some of our accommodations are pet-friendly too. Monarch Lake Trail is a perfect loop for a fall hike with your dog!

The Rapids Restaurant is in a spectacular location overlooking the river . Savor dinner next to the fireplace in the evenings or join us for lunch (served outside on warm fall days).

“Leaf peeping” is just too much fun to miss! Call us today.