Moose in Grand Lake Colorado

Where to see Moose?

Why, the Historic Rapids Lodge and Restaurant in Grand Lake, Colorado of course.

Moose love our river …..  the cool water and the willows that line the shore. July brought an impressively large bull moose to the opposite banks quite regularly. Our lunch and dinner guests got to watch him at leisure and took home some great photographs.  He would nonchalantly munch on willows and now and again, take a long drink at the river’s edge. On occasion he would also wade the river, coming to our side of the riverbank, just south of the Rapids. His antlers grew larger and larger each week. One morning during check out, he wandered right through the middle of the parking lot and then his immense size was really evident. He towered over parked cars and even the dumpsters and so on.

Moose in Grand Lake Colorado

Moose in Grand Lake Colorado

Each season brings different regular visitors. Sometimes its a fox that hangs around, sometimes a black bear includes the Rapids property in his regular nightly patrol, or perhaps we have a few deer that frequent our flower beds.  Some summers we have had a mama moose with a single youngster or even twins, meander past our flower pots for a little extra greenery.

Even if you don’t see the wildlife in town, Rocky Mountain National Park will certainly offer up some great sightings. Early mornings and late evening are the best time for wildlife viewing.  Elk, Mule Deer, Red Fox, Coyotes, Yellow Bellied Marmots, Ground Squirrels, Chickaree Squirrels, Chipmunks and more.

Don’t forget about birding Rocky Mountain National Park!

Fire danger is high in Grand Lake!

Grand Lake had a big scare on June 28th, 2018 and I this is my personal experience.

Fire in Grand Lake

Fire in Grand Lake

On Thursday afternoon, I left the lobby of the Rapids to check something in a room and I noticed a wisp of smoke on the horizon directly West of us, over the hill near the Grand Lake Golf Course. By the time I returned from the guest room, the plume of smoke had thickened and broadened and was an ugly dark color.  I immediately phoned my Columbine Lake home to warn them that there was a fire and it was rapidly growing; they should prepare in case of evacuation orders. Not long after that, I received word homes along the golf course road and in the southern section of Columbine were being evacuated. Those of us who lived in the area, dropped everything and hastily raced home.

On the way home, my car thermometer read 87 F, and that didn’t change with further driving later in the day. It was so very hot for a Grand Lake summer day, usually in the mid 70’s. The wind had also kicked up.

I stopped at a friend on the way home for a second. They were already throwing things in the car and they told me that a man on the horse had ridden by to warn them that although they weren’t in the line of fire, they probably had 45 minutes before formal evacuation orders were in place.

On arrival home, I instantly started reviewing my “fire” list: files, important documents, photo albums, computer….. and if I had time, clothes, water and a little bit of food. The mandatory evacuation call came in. We hooked up the little sail boat figuring that at least we could live in that if we had to for a while, cramped and basic though it would be.

At the time of our hurried departure, I noticed a neighbor had not begun packing their car and banged on their door, alerting them to the mandatory evacuation. A staging area had not been selected at that time and we decided to not clog up town but rather to head down to the Stillwater boat ramp to the south. Amazingly, when we got there, friends texted to say they had been offered a house to stay in and did we want to join them. Yes!

It was nerve wracking watching the smoke, the spotter plane, the helicopters with water bags and the slurry bombers. The big planes took several passes to determine the air flow and line up for dropping fire retardant, then they would disappear below the tree line as they flew the dangerous path to quell the fire.  We heard a little later the slurry bombers had to be sent home because a drone was being flown and making it too dangerous for the big planes.  Soon the smoke began to diminish and we enjoyed a beautiful moonrise before turning in for a restless night.

In the morning we were relieved that the smoke had dissipated from our fire, although the sky was hazy from the larger fire far to the south of us.  By early morning, the smoke began to clear and the afternoon was beautiful. The evacuation order remained in place until 7pm that evening as they worked to douse hotspots and ensure conditions didn’t change and cause flare-ups.

We were so happy and relieved and grateful to sleep in our own beds Friday night!

The Grand Lake Recreation Area and Golf Course had done extensive tree clearing on the south side of golf course road last fall and winter. If they hadn’t done that, this story might have turned out very differently.

The Town of Grand Lake was never affected thank goodness. Businesses stepped up to help the evacuees among many other volunteers. The Grand Lake Center became the staging area for evacuees with food, refreshments and cots. Not many people end up staying there because in this lovely, little town, many of the community members took so many people into their homes.

Hotspot work continued for days to ensure no further flare-ups. The Town of Grand Lake wisely cancelled the 4th of July fireworks and we were grateful for that decision. A stage 2 fire ban is in place and the air is dry and hot. Do your rain dance folks! So much of Colorado is under pressure from wild fires and we hope everyone stays safe, and that all the amazing folks fighting those fires stay safe, and start to make some headway.

Spring sprung early in the Rockies. We have had unusual weather for May. Days were often sunny and 65F to 70F. As a result, flowers have bloomed and the Aspen Trees are well leafed out. Unfortunately, we are already wishing for more frequent rains although we experience a good soaking storm on May 29th. As far as playing outside or on the lakes, however, this weather is awesome! The elk and moose are dropping their calves and when they are all still scrunched up from the womb and wobbly on their spindly legs, such a sight is truly moving. You can see them as they cross the road near the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park in the very early morning and at dusk.

 

The first hummingbird was seen at the Rapids on May 1st!

Grand Lake Colorado

Grand Lake Colorado

The Tonahutu flowed well all month and was just below peak for most of the latter part of the month. Our flow indicator is a big boulder and we only saw the water lap over it on one day. Often, when there is a lot of snow and a quick melt, the boulder becomes completely covered with water. Peak flow is at 10 am….it takes that long for melt from the higher elevations to reach us!

 

Memorial Day Weekend brought regular visitation from a bull moose much to the delight of our guests. He appeared nightly over the long weekend at the water’s edge, sometimes forging the river. The parking lot seemed to be on his habitual route too. Perhaps he will stick around all summer. If he does, hopefully, he won’t munch on all our flowers when we get them into the pots!

 

Boy, bookings are fast and furious this year! Many weekends are already sold out in the summer. Be advised, make your plans for getaways and vacations, reunions and weddings as soon as possible so you can snag your spot! If you missed it this year, remember we open bookings one year in advance!

 

BOOK NOW

Its spring in Grand Lake, Colorado!

Its spring in Grand Lake, Colorado!

The Continental Divide has had some excellent snowfalls recently with snowpack as of April 18, showing at 97% of average in the Upper Colorado Basin. Most of the snow at lower elevations has melted off and the three lakes, Grand Lake, Shadow Mountain and Granby, are days away from returning to open water.

Spring in Grand Lake, Colorado

Spring in Grand Lake, Colorado

The Tonahutu River at the Rapids Lodge is now fully open and beginning to inch up with snowmelt. The American Dippers are back and darting in and out of the water as they search for food below the surface. What a unique species they are. Bird-watching is always good at the Rapids. The Stellar Jays are constantly flitting about and the morning chorus is alive with the calls of American Robins and Chickadees.

Moose are being seen frequently now as they move around in search of spring willow shoots and a coyote was seen running down highway 34 just the other day. Foxes are always darting in and out between the houses. Elk are frequenting the open areas near Granby

The Aspen Trees are blooming and grass is greening up. It’s a quiet time of year but it’s beautiful and peaceful. Weather can change in an instant from sunny and warm to a few flurries to chilly and windy so come prepared with lots of layers!

Although Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park doesn’t open until Memorial Day Weekend, you can still drive 8 miles into the park for wildlife viewing and hiking trail access. You can also now enjoy traffic-free conditions and walk or bicycle past the vehicle barriers to enjoy Trail Ridge Road (with you leashed dog as a bonus). The Rapids Lodge is offering great low season rates in Lodge Guest Rooms and Rapids Suites. The Rapids Restaurant will open for the summer season on May 4th for dinner and lunch service starts Memorial Day Weekend.

Consider staying and dining at the Rapids Restaurant for Mother’s Day or Memorial Day Weekend! Catch Grand Lake before the crowds.

Book direct and save

The Historic Rapids Lodge and Restaurant are now listed by Expedia.com and Booking.com! However, our guests will always find the lowest room price through our “Book Now” link at www.rapidslodge.com or by giving us a call! Whether you are a new or returning guest, book with us directly to make receive the best hotel deal and to ensure that managing your reservation is as simple as possible.

We are booking up more quickly than ever and it is important to plan ahead. Groups, business meetings, family reunions, weddings and other special events should contact us directly so we can offer the full range of accommodations that we have available. We take hotel reservations one year ahead.

Some of our accommodations are privately owned condos with a view. These riverside condos are not listed on Booking.com and Expedia (except for River View 1 and River View Condo 4 which are listed in the winter season only).

Did you know that there are two “families” of online booking agencies? Booking.com owns and operates Priceline.com, Kayak.com, and Agoda.com. Expedia’s family includes Hotels.com, Trivago, HomeAway, Orbitz.com, Travelocity, and Hotwire.com.
So if you see us on one of these online travel agency sites, remember to call us or visit our website to make your booking! We look forward to providing memorable vacations experiences to more and more people every year! Visit Grand Lake, Colorado and stay at the Rapids Lodge.

Spring Break in the Rockies

Spring Break in the Rockies

February always feels like we are turning a corner and progressing towards spring. The days are a little longer and warmer, the birds and the moose increase their activity levels and it is much more pleasant to be outside. Despite reports of low snow measurements this season, the Sky-Hi News, our local county newspaper, just published an article saying that the Upper Colorado Basin is at 102% of average snow levels which is great news. There is still plenty of snow to play in.

Spring in the Rockies

March is often a high snowfall month so perhaps we will get big snows! Either way, March is a great time to come visit Grand County and Rocky Mountain National Park. All the winter activities are still available and days can be beautiful. Consider trying your hand at Ice-Fishing, Sledding, Sleigh Rides, Cross Country Skiing, Snowmobiling, Ice-Skating, watch for moose, scan open water at the channel and do some Bird Watching and more. Finish it all up with a great soak at Hot Sulphur Springs, just 35 minutes away from the Rapids Lodge.

The Rapids Lodge, Grand Lake, Colorado

The Rapids Lodge, Grand Lake, Colorado

The Rapids has historically been closed for the month of April but this year our lodging will be open. This means we are a great hotel for Spring Break in Grand Lake, Colorado! Our off-season rates for a one bedroom unit with full kitchen, perfect for a family, start at just $125 per night. Some Rapids Suites are pet-friendly too. We have the widest variety of accommodation in Grand Lake, there is something for everybody! The Rapids is just 20 minutes from the family-friendly ski resort of Granby Ranch and 45 minutes from the more challenging Winter Park Resort. If you don’t want to downhill ski every day, there is plenty to do and you can enjoy time away from the crowds.

Snow in the Rockies during Spring Break, Grand Lake, Colorado.

Don’t forget to plan for Memorial Day Weekend in May. Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park usually opens for this holiday weekend. Enjoy your 3 day weekend in one of Colorado’s most beautiful locations!

Call us today or book online. We are here to help you plan your trip.

Community

Community – by Faith Zak, Rapids Lodge Front Desk

I am writing about “Community” and what it means in a small town like Grand Lake, Colorado. I went to the neighborhood Church throughout my childhood and my Pastor was amazing. He was there for tragedy, illness and bringing new babies into the world, he was a truly caring person and he taught our church what Community really means. When I was a young adult, married with kids, my Pastor passed away from cancer but left me with a longing for that feeling of being a part of a Community and it was not until I moved to Grand Lake, Colorado that I really felt that feeling of Community again.

Grand Lake, Colorado

Grand Lake, Colorado

Grand Lake is a true community and whether you are a full-time resident, or part-time resident, or on vacation, you are a part of this special Community.  I work at the front desk at The Rapids Lodge and Restaurant, and I do my part to make every person walking through the door to feel like they are a part of this Community, because they are! I want everyone to feel like they belong because that is how I feel, and maybe when you leave our town you will take a part of that feeling of community home and pass that on to others.

You might ask yourself how it is possible to feel like a part of a Community while passing through on vacation. Well that is easy … it is really the little things such as, if you see someone on the side of the road with car problems, stop and see if you can help, open the door for someone, help a parent carry something when you see they have their hands full with their kiddos on the beach or in town. Perhaps you strike up a conversation with someone at a restaurant and buy them a drink, or even just ask how their day is going.

Be kind, kindness goes a long way.

Colorado Winter Activities

It’s December in the Colorado Rocky Mountains! Although we have not had much snow yet, it’s coming! It always does.

When all that good, white fluffy stuff is here, be ready to get into the great outdoors! Snowshoeing is always a fun adventure no matter how much snow is on the ground and Rocky Mountain National Park is our backyard. The North Inlet and Tonahutu trails leave from right above our property so you don’t need to drive anywhere. Red fox and coyotes might be seen in the meadows.

Later in the season, cross-country skiing at the Grand Lake Nordic Center is a must. They have miles of groomed trails, some are pet-friendly, and offer ski lessons too. The kids will love the tubing hill. Some of their events over the winter are:  Saturday December 17 – Learn to Ski Free Day;  Saturday, December 30 + Saturday, January 27 + Saturday, February 24 + Saturday, March 31 – Full Moon Ski;  Sunday February 11 – Romp and Stomp Fundraiser for Pet Pals;  Wednesday February 14th – Valentine’s Day 2 for 1 passes. Book your Grand Lake, Colorado lodging room at the Rapids Lodge with our great low season rates today!

Ice fishing is already underway in Grand County and the Grand Lake Ice Skating Rink is open!

Of course, it’s not even Christmas yet and all our energy is going into the festive holiday season. The Rapids Restaurant is beautifully decorated, as is the Town of Grand Lake. Shops are open if you are looking for special gifts. The Rapids Restaurant is open on Christmas Eve, book your family dinner with us and enjoy the view, fireplaces and lights. New Year’ Eve this year will be a great time with our annual fireworks over frozen Grand Lake following a sumptuous meal at the Rapids Restaurant. Check out the Special New Year’s Eve Menu at the bottom of the dinner menu page on our website.

Need some more ideas on how to make your Grand Lake Vacation the best it can be? Call us for a friendly chat.

Visit the Rapids Lodge late fall early winter

October is proving to be a beautiful month in Grand County, Colorado. Gorgeous days of blue sky and sunshine! Yes, there have been a few snowfalls but the white has settled mostly at higher elevations and melted off at our elevation. Our scenery is truly breathtaking at the moment with the remaining trees still cloaked in gold against a backdrop of stunning, white mountains. At this time the rutting elk are still busy in Rocky Mountain National Park and Trail Ridge is still open for the season despite a few temporary closures including at night. Nothing beats the un-crowded trails and peaceful moments of solitude at this time of year. And then join the Rapids Lodge for dinner.

Deer eating bushes, Grand Lake, Colorado

Deer eating bushes, Grand Lake, Colorado

For those of you who are hunters, the snow always helps to push big game down to lower elevations. If you aren’t a fan of the cold and roughing it at hunter’s camp, the Rapids Lodge has great lodging options ranging from 8 person condos to smaller rooms, some of which are now bookable at a great low season rate. Use our book online option to check availability at these great rates (available all the way through early June next year). Don’t forget Halloween, a really fun time to be up in the mountains and doing something different. Grand Lake and Granby both have trick or treating!

Deer eating bushes, Grand Lake, Colorado

Deer eating bushes, Grand Lake, Colorado

Get planning for the winter! Grand Lake offers so many winter activities. Call us and we will send you in the right direction. A white Christmas in the Colorado Mountains is a magical experience! The Rapids Restaurant is now serving dinner Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Come at 5pm and grab your spot by the fire.

  • Ski & Snowshoe with a Ranger in RMNP
  • Dog Sled Rides
  • Sleigh Rides
  • Guided and Unguided Ice-Fishing
  • Snowmobiling – 130 miles groomed trails
  • Ice Skating
  • Grand Lake Touring Center
  • Sledding
  • Winter Hot Air Ballooning
  • Soak in the Hot Springs at Hot Sulphur Springs
  • Wildlife watching – moose in the snow, red foxes and coyotes, a deer or two.
  • Birdwatching in Colorado can be good, new species from the north make an appearance.
  • Stay at the Rapids Lodge

 

 

 

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!