Grand Lake is open!

Grand Lake Colorado: open for the summer & welcoming visitors.

The river at the Rapids is peaking with snow melt and it is quite a sight to see! Enjoy lunch on the patio right next to the river or dinner with a view! Or book a condo with a riverside patio and dine in.

Rapids Restaurant – OPEN Tuesday through Sunday (closed Mondays)

Lunch: 11 am to 3 pm (no reservations)

Appetizers: 3 pm to 5 pm

Dinner: Beginning at 5 pm (reservations strongly encouraged due to reduced seating capacity).

Menu: Click here to see our Lunch, Dinner, Drinks Menus and Wine List all in one place!

Rapids Lodging – OPEN

Lodging Special: Stay 2 nights in a Rapids Suite or Rapids Lodge Guest Room to receive the third night free. Valid for stays up until June 18th, 2020. Not valid with any other offers. Must be applied at time of booking. Call to reserve 970-627-3707

Our lodging accommodation and decor has been simplified to ensure we can clean effectively and keep both guests and employees safe. Our confirmations contain detailed information listing items that are stocked and the items you need to bring with you. The front desk is also operating with contact less check-in and it’s been working very well. Thank you to all our guests for helping us do a great job under this new normal!

Please assist us by wearing your mask.

We keep our hearts and minds on everyone in these tough times, but in particular those who have been awfully affected by losses of family and their livelihoods.

The weather has been gorgeous and it looks like we are getting back to days in the upper 60’s and low 70’s! Everything is green and growing. Moose and Elk are dropping their young. Colorado mountain flowers are popping up everywhere.

We will cut to the chase and go right to what everybody wants to know:

Rocky Mountain National Park – OPEN

May 27 – June 3: access to West Side Trails and 10 Miles into the park (Colorado River Trailhead). Visitor’s Centers Closed. Trail Ridge Road Closed.


June 4 – July 31: TIMED RESERVATION SYSTEM from 6 am to 5 pm.

On sale at

Updates and more information on NPS.Gov

Click here to read an informative Sky-Hi News article about R.M.N.P. opening up.

Hiking Trails: Open

Shops: Open. Pay attention to the signs designating how to proceed at each individual shop.

Grocery Stores Open.

Boat Launching Ramps: Green Ridge, Stillwater and Sunset are open

Marinas – All Open

You can rent bicycles, ATV’s and Slingshots.


Timber Creek Campground – closed all summer.

Private Campgrounds open.

USFS campgrounds – contact the Sulphur District Office in Granby (970) 887-4100 or visit

In a nutshell Grand Lake and the Rapids are welcoming and appreciative of our guests. Our abundance of beauty, fun and peaceful escapes are all available for you to enjoy. Yes, we all have to work with new guidelines but here at the Rapids, we already a few weeks under our belt and it’s all quite workable.

So please do visit, relax, dine, and enjoy if you feel comfortable doing so. Make some great memories despite Covid-19!

Wishing everyone a safe summer that brings us closer to better times.

Is the Rapids Lodge Open?

The world has changed very quickly for us all under COVID-19! Every one of us here at the Rapids wishes you all safety and health during this challenging time. For those who have lost loved ones, we offer our sincere condolences. We remain hopeful for rapidly improving circumstances.

Rapids Lodging is available beginning May 22nd, 2020. You can call us anytime if you want to book for the summer. Alternatively you can book online right here at which always offers the lowest rates.

The Rapids Restaurant is opening Saturday May 2nd for To-Go or Take Out food. Please see our brand new To-Go Menu here. We have lots of delicious choices, gluten free and vegetarian options. For now the Rapids Restaurant  hours will be 11:30am to 6:30pm Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We will keep you updated of any changes through our blogs, Yelp Listing, Tripadvisor, Google, Social Media pages, Grand Lake and Granby Chambers and “What’s open in Grand County “ at the Sky-Hi News. Feel free to call us with questions.

Is Grand Lake Colorado open? Our little town is transitioning bit by bit. Many businesses are open or will be open soon. Here at the Rapids, we are following CDC guidelines and keeping up to date as changes occur. The safety of our staff and guests are of paramount importance to us.

 The three lakes are thawing quickly and as of April 29th, Shadow Mountain Reservoir is approximately 70% open water, Lake Granby is thawed around the edges and Grand Lake is open well into the lake from the channel. A new season is upon us!

Is Rocky Mountain National Park open? RMNP is currently closed. Usually, the National Park Service opens Trail Ridge Road, which connects Estes Park and Grand Lake, for Memorial Day Weekend. We are hoping that this will be the case this year. We will let you know as soon as we hear something!

The Grand Lake Chamber is an excellent resource for information.

Grand Lake is always beautiful no matter how much you do or don’t do. With moose, birds, open water, cool breezes, snow capped mountains, quaint board walks, peace and quiet, our little town offers a rejuvenating escape. Breathe, re-center, relax, meditate right here in one of the most beautiful places in the Rocky Mountains.

Book direct with Rapids Lodge

Here’s why you should book directly with the Rapids Lodge….

Today the travel websites like Expedia and tend to dominate. Google anything and their websites will pop up. Did you know that Expedia owns, Trivago, Homeaway, Orbitz and Travelocity? owns Priceline, Kayak and Agoda. Most hotel software programs automatically post exactly the same prices to all these different websites. Some hotels will post “a deal” or offer a bit more off to a frequent booker. 

The truth is that hotels have to pay a third party booking site a commission and so many hotels offer a lower rate on their own websites or price match. and are a great way to find out what your options are in a particular area but it’s a great idea to call the hotel directly or visit the hotel website. For example is where you can get the best rates here at the Rapids Lodge. 

If your reservation is booked directly with the hotel, it is immediately recorded in the system. Using a third party website relies on good internet service which can be a factor if you are making a booking from the other side of the country, or from another country. Additionally each hotel software program connects with these third party sites at preset intervals. Some of these intervals are not as frequent as you would expect. This lag in communication can result in a double booking just because the hotel website hasn’t received the information from the third party website at the time they take a direct booking. In this case, hopefully the hotel will be able to accommodate you in a different room but that is not always the case and you might end up at a property you didn’t want to book at simply because that is all the hotel can find. 

There is definitely more flexibility when you book directly with a hotel. Let’s say you book a one night stay with and then decide you would like to add on a night. You call the hotel directly to make a change to the reservation only to find that they can’t help you. So you have to wait on hold with or try and sift through the third party website options to find a way to make the change. This can be very time consuming. 

Some hotels, like the Rapids Lodge, have a non-refundable deposit requirement and this makes things even more complex. If the Rapids authorizes a change to your third party booking verbally, there is a great deal of time sending messages back and forth, the guest speaks with for example and then Expedia has to call the hotel to verify or visa versa.  Frustration levels increase on all sides! 

Similarly, even if you arrive at a hotel and want to make a change while you are standing at the front desk, they will direct you to contact the third party site. 

If you had booked directly with the hotel, it’s easy – the hotel can solve any problem for you!

Third party sites offer reward programs but programs like Expedia Rewards or the Genius Loyalty Program are hard work. You have to book a LOT of rooms to get a night free. If some of these rates are higher rates than the hotel would have offered you, then it’s a wash. 

It’s certainly convenient to have all your bookings for a trip in one place, but with just a little extra work, you can create a filing system on your phone or computer to keep all your confirmations nicely organized.

So the big questions are …. is it better to book through a website like Expedia or is it cheaper to book through a third party website?

Well, here at the Rapids Lodge it is definitely better and cheaper to book directly with us at or over the phone!  Call us today….

Privately Owned Condos for rent in Grand Lake, Colorado

Grand Lake is both a lake and an authentic, historic western town with lots of character. The body of water known as Grand Lake is the largest natural lake in Colorado and is also at the headwaters of the Colorado River. Surrounded by spectacular Rocky Mountains, the views are astoundingly beautiful. Located at the West Entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park, this little town has a wide variety of lodging near Grand Lake Co. for folks who come to explore the park and drive Trail Ridge Road in summer. We are just a short block away from the end of main street in town, where all the shops are, and just 2 short blocks from the lake and swimming beach.

The Historic Rapids Lodge and Restaurant offer some of the cutest Grand Lake Cabins. We also have Rapids Suites and Romantic Lodge Guest Rooms. For the best view, choose the vacation condos right here on our property. So many folks looking for Colorado vacation ideas look at VRBO in Grand Lake CO, but you need to look no further than the Rapids! As far as Grand Lake accommodations go, our waterfront condos are the perfect place for a reunion, anniversary getaway, wedding or just a peaceful place to relax. The condos are perfect as large family vacation rentals. Make plans for your next family adventure trip! We even have a 3 bedroom condo for rent. Book Rapids Condos 4A and 4B together and you have a view of the river, 3 bathrooms and a full kitchen.

The Historic Rapids Lodge and Restaurant is a well known and highly rated Grand Lake lodge near Rocky Mountain National Park. Don’t miss out on this opportunity for a grand Colorado vacation surrounded by amazing scenery. There is so much to do. Don’t just think summer, winter is a great opportunity to explore by snowmobile.  We have snowmobile trails and you can ride down main street on your sled! Take a snowmobile tour, guided or unguided. There is ice fishing, nordic skiing, snowshoe adventures and more to choose from.

Searching for Grand Lake places to stay? Look no further, the Rapids Lodge will provide you with the perfect accommodation.

Gluten Free Restaurant in Grand Lake, Colorado

The Historic Rapids Restaurant is a true gem, just one block off the main street in Grand Lake (Grand Ave). The view is spectacular, overlooking the Tonahutu River, and the ambiance is perfectly suited to the 1915 historic building. Stained glass and two fireplaces add to the cozy atmosphere.

Dress is casual and comfortable. We understand that the great outdoors has kept you entertained and demands visitors to dress appropriately.

Lunch, appetizers and drinks can be enjoyed outside on the riverside patio with the water rushing by in summer. Dinner can be enjoyed inside. Book an early reservation for a window table. The river can be seen from almost any table in the restaurant so don’t worry about missing out no matter what time you choose to dine.

 Moose love the river too, so don’t be surprised if you get to see a big bull enjoy a meal of willow on the opposite side of the river. Otters, American Dippers and the Mink can be seen on occasion.

Nearly all of our Dinner Menu is gluten free and there are some pretty great options. All Rapids entreés include Rapids’ Salad and sorbet Intermezzo. Our wine list is extensive and you can find the perfect complement to the dish of your choice. Our delicious entreés offer steaks, game, fish and chicken. A vegetarian dish is always available and we are happy to accommodate vegan options on request.

Our Lunch Menu also has the option of a gluten free bun substitute. One of the few Grand Lake restaurants with gluten free bread. Try our gluten free Mac & Cheese version:  the “G’nac & Cheese” made with Gnocchi

The Rapids Restaurant is a “must see” and your taste buds will thank you forever. Take home some special memories and become one of our family of regular diners.

The Rapids Restaurant is a Coeliac Restaurant

Grand Lake Colorado is open for business!

It’s Memorial Day Weekend! The weather gods are finally shining down on us and we will have a few good days on great sunshine! The Town of Grand Lake is waiting with bated breath to see when Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park (Estes Park to Grand Lake) will open … weekend perhaps? National Park crews have been working hard to clear the roads which have been inundated with big snows this year and its kept snowing! If you are lucky enough to be one of the first to traverse Trail Ridge Road, the cuts through snow drifts at 12,000 feet will be quite spectacular.

Entrance sign to Grand Lake Colorado

When Trail Ridge Road opens, Colorado’s Grand Lake comes alive. The floodgates open and travelers from around the USA and the world, come to enjoy all Rocky Mountain National Park has to offer. Seasonal businesses open for the summer season and we are excited to see several new businesses in town! There is a lot happening.

Kirk’s Fly Shop will be opening later in the spring so if you need a guide, equipment or advice, keep them in mind. Lulu City’s fresh, made while you wait for doughnuts are to die for. Grab a Lulu City Gelato for an afternoon snack. Work is underway for the new Meandering Moose Mini Golf Course.

Sign of Historic Downtown Grand Lake, Colorado

The lakes are looking gorgeous. How wonderful it is to see open water reflecting blue skies, snow-capped mountains, and fresh green leaves. The fish are biting and the Boater’s Choice and Headwaters Marinas are ready to go. Moose are everywhere and the elk are happily munching in the meadows.

When is the best time to Visit Rocky Mountain national Park? Why, anytime! Each month offers a new perspective and stunning scenic beauty. Each time you visit the Rapids, you will take away new and unique memories.

Photo of the dock at Grand Lake, Colorado

Just a reminder ….. always book your room directly at or give us a call. Our direct booking rates are lower than, Expedia, Travelocity, and Priceline. The Rapids Lodge is one of the most popular Hotels in Grand Lake, Colorado, so book as soon as you have a Colorado trip itinerary in mind. We still have a few hotel rooms left for Memorial Day Weekend too!

Give us a call at 970-627-3707

Mother’s Day in Grand Lake

Mother’s Day – spoil her for the whole weekend!

Mother’s Day  on May 12th is just around the corner.

Have you made your plans? Why not take the special woman in your life away to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado to enjoy all that the little Western town of Grand Lake has to offer.

Start by booking a delightful room in the Historic Rapids Lodge building or River View Condo.

Arrange to have a bottle of wine or chilled champagne  waiting in her room.

Book your dinner reservation at the Rapids Restaurant overlooking the Tonahutu River which will be rushing by, swelled by snowmelt.

Contact the Stalk Market  for delivery of a fabulous flower arrangement and perhaps some other indulgent items.

Book her a relaxing massage with Sarah Chabot Massage Therapy.

Visit  Hot Sulphur Springs for a soak in their outdoor pools, surrounded by scenery and crisp mountain air.

Take her shopping in Grand Lake, perhaps visit Studio 8369 and buy her a little painting she can cherish as a take home memento.

Enjoy a wonderful breakfast brunch at Fat Cat Café.

Take a drive into Rocky Mountain National Park to look for moose and enjoy the stunning views. Do a short hike to Adams Falls and East Meadow.

She won’t forget her trip to the Historic Rapids Lodge and Restaurant in Grand Lake, Colorado!

Spring in the Rocky Mountains

We had a very snowy March which is great for the lakes, summer flowers and streams. April will continue to receive light snows but the days can be T-shirt warm when the sun is out.  Change happens fast once spring-melt sets in. Wildlife has found it difficult to move through the deep snow and are anxiously awaiting the time when they can travel freely without effort. Its always amazing that around the first day of Spring, a change can be seen and heard. Not just warmer days, but suddenly the snow begins compacting, Chickadees start singing and a few American Robins appear around the county. On March 28th migratory birds such as Red Tail Hawk, Northern Harrier and Mountain Bluebird were seen! Birding in Colorado is always rewarding. 

This year the vernal equinox, the first day of Spring, fell on March 20th.

We have had the usual sporadic visits by Moose, and there are always Red Fox tracks in the parking lot, sometimes heading up exterior stairs to check for items left outside hotel room doors.
Avid Winter activity enthusiasts kept us busy throughout the month, enjoying the deep powder that the March snowstorms brought. The final week of March delivered some 50 degree days, and quickly brought the snowmobile trail out of town down to gravel in many places. However, the groomed trail system still has an excellent base and will keep snowmobilers happy for a while yet. Check conditions at the Grand Lake Trailgroomer’s website. Savor your last little bit of Colorado mountain Winter!
Think about an April weekend getaway or May break. Everyone should really visit the Rapids Lodge and Grand Lake in every season. 

It will be interesting to see what happens with spring-melt and the Tonahutu river. Will it melt early or late? Will there be a huge deluge with sudden warm temperatures or a more gentle melt?

Its not too early to think about Mother’s Day Weekend reservations, and Memorial Day Weekend is a 3 day weekend with lots to do. The Memorial Day Parade is always a family favorite. Trail Ridge Road traditionally opens for Memorial Day Weekend and when it does, the floodgates open and Grand Lake comes alive with happy travelers. This year, the cuts through the snow drifts high on Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park will likely be huge, awe inspiring and not to be missed.

We feel our own sense of excitement with the onset of Spring although it will be a while before the grass is green and the Aspen leaves burst forth.

Visit the Rapids Lodge, a Grand Lake Lodge with history!

Last minute Spring Break Ideas

So, you planned on a “staycation” but now you are itching to do something fun with the kids for Spring Break. The great outdoors can certainly keep the whole family occupied, and Colorado offers some of the best opportunities. If you are the Front Range, a drive of just a few hours will get you to the special  and unique Historic Rapids Lodge, and the magical little town of Grand Lake. The Rapids offers some great winter hotel rates, steeply discounted from our regular peak season rates. Imagine a spacious one bedroom unit with a full kitchen for just $131 per night, and you can bring the dog(s) too! Our Rapids Suites can sleep up to 6 people and there is also a roll-a-way available if needed.

Moose seen from the Rapids Lodge porch March 2019
Moose seen from the Rapids Lodge porch March 2019

This winter has brought us snow on snow. Spring melt is a little further away than usual. The snowmobile trails have an excellent base and there is still great powder up high. Even if you just want to cruise the groomed trails, the views are amazing and for first time snowmobilers, it’s easy and safe. “Church Hill Downs” is a fast sledding hill in Grand Lake, currently well covered with snow. Of course if you want a bigger hill, just head to the tubing hills of Fraser for an afternoon or evening.

Explore Rocky Mountain National Park and look for coyotes and moose. Although the high elevation section of US 34, Trail Ridge Road, is closed for the winter, visitors can still drive into the park from the Kawuneechee Visitor Center all the way to the Colorado River Trailhead (excellent winter trail). Alternative snowshoe and cross country skiing trails are the North Inlet and Tonahutu trails which start on the hill right above the Rapids Lodge, no need to drive. The frozen Adams Falls or the scenic East Shore Trail along frozen Shadow Mountain Reservoir are spectacular and easy too!

Winter sport equipment is available for rent at Never Summer Mountain products and the Grand Lake Nordic Center. The Nordic Center is surrounded by gorgeous scenery and has trails for all skills and ages, plus a tubing hill. They will even give you tips and basic lessons in cross country or Nordic skiing and snow shoeing.

If you have a fishing enthusiast in your family, don’t forget to try ice-fishing. Rocky Mountain Outfitters can guide you, rent equipment or just tell you where the action is. Shore fishing is still available in the channel between Grand Lake and Shadow Mountain Lake; at the East end of Grand Lake next to the Adams Tunnel; and above and below the Shadow Mountain Dam. Water is always open in these areas due to the flow of water, part of the Big Thompson Water Project.

Grand Lake, Colorado offers restaurants, shopping, cozy fireside spots, an ice skating rink plus other opportunities for family fun and relaxation. 

Book your room at the Rapids today!

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!