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!

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!