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 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.
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.
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
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
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
- 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
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
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!
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
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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!
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.
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
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!
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.”