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.”

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 Hotels and Deals

Shadow Mountain Reservoir October 12, 2016

Shadow Mountain Reservoir October 12, 2016

The last of the fall colors are evident in the high country of Grand County, Colorado.  Grand Lake is quiet and peaceful and preparing for a coating of snow. We have had a few snowfalls up high and Trail Ridge Road has closed temporarily but with all this nice weather coming up expect that  it will be open quite a bit longer. We still have some golden Aspen Trees here at the Rapids Lodge.

The lakes are beautiful right now with waterfowl occasionally disturbing the tranquil waters. Bring your kayak or get that last hike in for the season! The trails are “all yours” now that the crowds are gone and a good soak at Hot Sulphur Springs is a must after a workout. The elk in Rocky Mountain National Park will bugle through October, their haunting calls echoing through the valleys as they round up their harems.

Grand Lake, Colorado is top of the list if you are looking for Grand Lake hotels deals you can’t beat. You can stay at the Rapids Lodge for just $60 for 2 people and $89 for up to 6 people. Rapids Suites 1-4 are dog friendly so bring the whole family! The Rapids Restaurant is serving dinner Wednesday through Saturday beginning at 5pm.  Our riverside location provides a stunning view!

If you can’t visit the Rapids Lodge this month, plan to come up in December, the same great hotel prices still apply. The lakes may still be free of ice in early December, sometimes they have frozen over as late as Christmas. November might bring us a heavy snowfall for all the winter sports and activities that Grand County has to offer: snowshoeing, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, winter hot air ballooning, sleigh rides, dog sled rides and sledding! If you have never tried cross country skiing, take advantage of the Grand Lake Nordic Center’s ” Learn to ski free with Grand Nordic Club instructors. Sign up in advance. All ages, all experience levels, Classic and Skate skiing lessons”.

Contact us today or book online! 970-627-3707

The National Park Service Centennial begins August 25, 2016!

The National Park Service Centennial

Rocky Mountain National Park

Last year, Rocky Mountain National Park and The Historic Rapids Lodge and Restaurant turned 100! The RMNP Centennial celebrations were awesome and enjoyed by the myriad visitors to Grand Lake, Colorado. Grand Lake is the Western Gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park and this little town certainly has the feel of an old western town! Original buildings line the main street, Grand Avenue, and the Grand Lake  Area Historical Society has done a great job of preservation in the town. Enjoy the Kauffman House Museum, Smith-Eslick Cottage Court and a great walking tour of historic structures.

The National Park Service Centennial is so exciting! This summer has already been much busier because of this grand celebration and it hasn’t formally begun yet! Make your reservations for hotel rooms in Grand Lake, Colorado, as early as possible. Lodging in Grand Lake Colorado can be hard to find especially on a holiday like Labor Day Weekend (we still have a few rooms available). In early September, the  Colorado fall colors and fall roadtrips will bring people from far and wide. Weather is often good well into October and Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park will stay open as late as possible in the season.

The Rapids Lodge has amazing fall rates beginning the second week of October. One hotel deal is a Lodge Guest Room for 2 people from just $ 60 per night. Another great hotel special is that our Rapids Suites, which can sleep up to 6 people, run at just $89 per night. Four of the Rapids Suites are pet-friendly accommodations!

These great hotel specials run all the way through early June next year! Winter is also a great time to visit the national parks and Rocky Mountain National Park certainly offers the quiet and peace of a pristine winter vacation. Although Trail Ridge Road may be closed, you can still access miles and miles of the park via car as the keep the Kawuneechee Valley portion of the road well plowed and in good condition. From there you can snow shoe and cross country ski many trails.

We hope to have you stay with us and dine in our spectacular riverside Rapids Restaurant.

Cascade Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Cascade Falls is located approximately 3.5 miles from the Rapids Lodge on the North Inlet Trail. This is a popular hike that is rated as moderate but is not too challenging. The trail head is located just north of the Rapids Lodge (on the hill above us) and follows the North Inlet river. Terrain varies between open fields and sage, meadows, lodge pole pine forest and old growth Spruce forest. There are some good view points along the way too. These photos were taken in mid-June when the water was really roaring. This is a great trail for anyone to start out with when arriving in Grand Lake, Colorado!

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If you are really ambitious you can take the North Inlet Trail all the way up above tree-line and traverse “Flattops” before heading down into Estes Park.

The Tonahutu Trail also leaves from about the same location and follows the Tonahutu River north to Big Meadows and eventually Granite Falls. You can reach the Kawuneechee Visitor’s Center on an off shoot from this trail as well.

The Rapids is in a great location for being able to simply walk everywhere right from your ro0m. Trailheads are right here, the lake is two very short blocks away and the end of the main street (Grand Ave.) where all the shops are, is just one very short block away.

Although many of the peaks weekends in July are booked, there is still great availability during mid-week periods and through all of August. We invite you to stay with us here at the Rapids Lodge “Grand Lake’s Hidden Gem” on the banks of the Tonahutu River.

Hiking Rocky Mountain National Park

Flat-top Mountain RMNP

Rocky Mountain National Park Hike

Rocky Mountain National Park offers extensive trails for all to enjoy, no matter your skill level. The Historic Rapids Lodge and Restaurant is situated at the West Entrance of RMNP and is the quieter side of the park. Compared with the traffic and crowds of Estes Park, we are a peaceful option.

The famous Adams Falls Trail leaves from the east end of Grand Lake, and you will arrive at the falls after just about a third of a mile. Just beyond, is a stunning meadow with views of Mount Craig. Of course, you can hike a long way into the park to Lone Pine Lake and Lake Verna (13.8 miles) if you want to get a longer hike under your belt.

A great trail that is easy for everyone to do is the East Shore Trail, about 3.6 miles one way, but you can go as far as you are comfortable and turn back. The trail is pretty easy and follows the scenic shore of Shadow Mountain Lake. If you are looking for something more strenuous, there is a trail that diverges to the top of Shadow Mountain and the historic fire lookout which offers astounding views over Grand Lake, Shadow Mountain Reservoir, Rocky Mountain National Park and the Never Summer Mountain Range.

In the Kawuneechee Valley, the Harbison loop will take you on an easy trail that for much of the time follows the course of the Colorado River. Several other easy trails include the Coyote Valley and Holzwarth Ranch trails. The Colorado River Trail will take you up to the site of Lulu City, an old mining town, and if you would like to go further, Little Yellowstone is well worth seeing. Yes, it really looks like “Little Yellowstone”!

Some challenging high country hikes that leave the Kawuneechee Valley are the Bowen Baker and Timber Lake trails that will take you way above tree-line for breathtaking views.

We have two great trails that depart right from the hill above our property.  For ambitious hikers, the North Inlet Trail to Flattop Mountain connects Grand Lake and Estes Park (Bear Lake) and can be accomplished in one day or overnight. We have regular guests who do this hike every year and always plan for the end point to be the Rapids Lodge which is just a little downhill from the end of the trail. A quick clean up and a sumptuous meal at the Rapids Restaurant overlooking the scenic Tonahutu Creek is the perfect way to end the day. Believe it or not, we have had some endurance trail runners jog over from Estes Park, have lunch at the Rapids Restaurant, and then jog back to Estes Park. Wow!

The North Inlet Trail is also a pleasant shorter hike for many of our guests, most of whom set the goal of Cascade Falls. The Tonahutu Creek Trail which departs at almost the same point follows the course of our very own Tonahutu River, all the way through Big Meadows to Granite Falls. You can also reach the Kawuneechee Visitor’s Center via this trail.

So, how about booking your “hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park trip” with us today. You just might try “trail running Rocky Mountain National Park” next time!

Spring in the Rockies

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Spring starts late in the higher elevations of the Rockies. May is when it all begins: the last of the lake ice melts, grass is green and flowers brighten the landscape. Aspen trees bud out and animal babies arrive. If you are thinking of a spring trip to the Colorado mountains, there is plenty to do!

The Rapids Lodge has low season rates in effect until June 9th, 2016 and this means that you can stay as low as $60 for 2 people and $89 for up to 6 people. Some accommodations are pet-friendly too.

  • Hike Rocky Mountain National Park.
  • Watch the baby elk in the meadows at dawn and dusk.
  • Keep an eye out for foxes, coyotes, moose, porcupines, deer, marmots, pine martens and weasels. Of course squirrels and cute chipmunks are everywhere!
  • Enjoy lunch Riverside at the Rapids.
  • Take a canoe, pontoon or fishing boat out on any of the three lakes
  • Kids get to have fun at Rocky Mountain Speedway and the min-golf at the hardware store.
  • Play the Grand Lake Gold Course.
  • Fly fish the Colorado River
  • Soak at Hot Sulphur Springs
  • Float up above the valley in a hot air balloon
  • Rent an ATV or bring your own.
  • Grill out at Point Park and enjoy a breathtaking view of Grand Lake and Mount Baldy.
  • Test your Bingo skills in town on the weekend.
  • Attend a Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre performance after dinner at The Rapids
  • Restaurant.
  • Birdwatch mountain, meadow and lake environments.
  • Revel in the rivers rushing by full of spring snowmelt
  • Drive Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park – the highest continuous highway in the United States.
  • There is never a dull moment in Grand Lake Colorado!

MAY

Mother’s Day at the Rapids Lodge and Restaurant!
Sunday May 8th, 2016

History Chat: Early Days of Grand County EMS with Ida Sheriff and Tim Nicklas.
Learn about the needs and history of Emergency Management in Grand County. Meet the first certified EMT in Grand County, Mrs. Ida Sheriff.
6-8pm
Tuesday May 17, 2016

Juniper Library Progressive Dinner
Wednesday May 25, 2016

“Around Granby” History Book Signing
11am -2pm
The area around Granby was developed in the late 1800s and today remain
Friday and Saturday May 27 + 28, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend
May 27+28+29+30
Stay at the Rapids Lodge!

Grand Lake Memorial Day Parade
Monday May 30, 2016

Bingo in Town Park with the Rotary Club of Grand Lake
Saturday and Sunday May 28 + 29, 2016

JUNE

Grand Lake Golf Tournament
9am – 2pm. 970-627-8008
Saturday June 11, 2016

Birds of the Kawuneechee
All day birding excursion. 970-586-3262
Saturday June 11, 2016

Art and Crafts Fair
Saturday Jun 11, 2016 – Sunday Jun 12, 2016

BINGO Every Friday and Saturday 7pm

Ride the Rockies
Wednesday June 15 and Thursday June 16, 2016

2nd Annual Duck Derby
Race your rubber duck! Fundraiser.
Saturday June 18, 2016

Hummingbird Research
Learn about the hummingbird populations in the Rockies while observing field ornithologists as they safely capture and band these remarkable birds. 970-586-3262
Monday June 20, 2016

Secret Places is RMNP – Colorado River
970-586-3262
Friday June 24, 2016

Songwriters in the Round
with Nashville songwriters, Monty Powell, Anna Wilson and Peggy Mann.
Friday June 24th

33rd Annual State of Colorado CASI Chili Cook Off 2016
303-831-5061
Saturday Jun 25, 2016

Painting the Kawuneeche: Beginners Class
970-586-3262
Saturday Jun 25, 2016 – Sunday Jun 26, 2016

Diversity in Wildflowers
970-586-3262
Thursday June 30, 2016

The Rocky Mountains in May…and Mother’s Day

Great low season rates through June 9th! Stay as low as $60 for 2 people and as low as $89 for up to 65 people. BOOK NOW. The Historic Rapids Lodge and Restaurant is the perfect place to treat your Mom for Mother’s Day whether for a scrumptious dinner at the Rapids Restaurant or a relaxing getaway for a day or two. Don’t forget to treat her to flowers from “The Stalk Market” and an indulgent massage from Sarah Chabot or Sage!

Mother's Day Dinner

 

The Rapids Lodge is gearing up for spring and summer! Grand County, Colorado received excellent snow in March so the ground is well saturated and ready to burst forth with spring flowers. Wildlife watching is prime at this time of the year as animals are easily spotted against the backdrop of remaining snow. The grazers congregate in the lower reaches of Rocky Mountain National Park where melting snow has exposed tasty morsels and the predators follow. Expect to see Moose, Elk, Mule Deer, Coyotes and Red Foxes. You might even spot a hungry Black Bear or a rarely seen Lynx! Although Trail Ridge Road probably won’t open until Memorial Day Weekend, there are still 8 miles of the road entering Rocky Mountain National Park, plenty of trails and grand views.

Mother's Day

 

Early May is still relatively quiet meaning you have the option for solitude. The Town of Grand Lake will be open and getting ready for Memorial Day guests right from the beginning of the month. Although our three lakes, Grand Lake, Shadow Mountain Reservoir and Granby, have thawed as late as middle of May, we expect the thaw earlier this year due to the warmer winter temperatures. This means you can enjoy the open water in your kayak, canoe, motor boat or pontoon very early in the season. Due to the “Big Thompson Pumping Project”, Shadow Mountain Reservoir and Grand Lake remain brimful year round. Bring your fishing gear!

So join us for a refreshing start to the 2016 summer season. Soak in Hot Sulphur Springs, take in the view from the Grand Lake Lodge, breath in the sweet clean air and enjoy all that Grand Lake, Colorado has to offer!

Last Minute Spring Break Plans …

If you have left your spring break planning a little late, how about Grand Lake Colorado! It may not be crazy, it may not be crowded but it is simply beautiful with lots to do. The Rapids Lodge property consists of a variety of lodging such as Lodge Guest Rooms, River View Condos, Rapids Condos and Rapids Suites. The condos sleep up to 8 people and the Rapids Suites are one of the best hotel deals out there – just $89 per night for up to 6 people. What an adventure it will be in CO!

The Rapids Lodge is unique among Grand Lake Colorado lodging options. The hotel was built in 1915 and boasts a few ghosts. If haunted hotels are your thing, you might find the Rapids quite interesting. We are just a few blocks from the Western Riviera lakeside lodging and a ½ block from the Grand Escape Cottages Grand Lake Colorado. Walk to the shops in town, walk to the frozen lake, walk everywhere!

View of Grand Lake Colorado taken by local Dawn R

So what is there to do? Rocky Mountain National Park of course: cross country skiing, snowshoeing, wildlife watching and more. Then there is ice-fishing to try out (rent your ice fishing gear at Rocky Mountain Outfitters), sleigh rides at Winding River Ranch, a good soak at the Hot Sulphur Springs, tubing and downhill at Granby Ranch, Dog Sled Rides of Winter Park and Grand Adventure Balloon rides (a great experience in winter).

The Grand Lake Colorado Weather in late February and March can bring some awesome fresh snow but the days are longer and warmer making outdoor adventure much more comfortable. We have had good snows this winter and despite a warm spell, our base is good so winter fun will last a long time!

Call us today or book on-line. Spring Break is here.

Snowmobile in Grand Lake this Weekend!

Snowmobiling

What are you doing this weekend? How about coming to Grand Lake Colorado and joining in a snowmobile poker run, no experience required. You can ride at your own pace between 9am and 4pm. The Poker Run benefits the “Right to Ride Fund” and FLIGHT FOR LIFE (the best part of your worst day) and is on Saturday February 20th, 2016.

The Rapids Lodge has Lodge Guest Rooms 1+2+3+4 available that sleep 2 people and if you CALL US to reserve for the Poker Run, we will give you a rate of just $60 per night! We also have Rapids Suite 4 (dog-friendly) at $65 and one bedroom Rapids Suites with full kitchen at just $89 per night for up to 6 people. Even if you aren’t going to stay, it is one of the easy day trips from Denver.

Registration is from 9-noon at the Grand Lake Community House (cash or check only).

$5/hand or 5 hands for $20

Cash Prizes of $700 for 1st, $200 for 2nd and $100 for 3rd.

WeatherSilent Auction and Bonus Hidden Boondocking Stop.
Check out the Grand Lake Trail Groomers website to see current trail conditions and a map of the area.
The poker run is sponsored by The Grand Lake Trailblazers Snowmobile Club CO and the Mile Hi Snowmobile Club- Denver CO.

To donate to the silent auction or volunteer or sponsor the event contact Toni Boettcher at 720-208-6692

While you are up here, bring your ice fishing gear and enjoy the world class fishing on any of the three lakes. Fish Explorer can tell you more. Rocky Mountain National Park is open for wildlife watching, snowshoeing cross country and our local moose are on the move so likely to be seen.

Grand Lake Co Weather is going to be great this weekend. Come play!