Weather in Grand Lake, Colorado

Best month to visit Rocky Mountain National Park?

A photo taken each month - January to December - left to right"
A photo taken each month – January to December – left to right”

What to do and what to expect:

January is the coldest month with an average high temperature around freezing and an average low of 4F. Temperatures have been recorded as high as 57F and as low as -43F but those don’t last for long! Average precipitation is 1.5 inches but we have had Januaries where it felt like all the winter snow arrived in one month, and Januaries that were dry and sunny! The snow is crisp and firm. The lakes are frozen solid, great for ice-fishing and cross country skiing. The Three Lakes Fishing Tournament is this month on Lake Granby. Snowmobile trails are well packed with a strong base. Soak in the Hot Sulphur Springs after being outside all day. Don’t forget to dine fireside at the Rapids Restaurant before retiring to your comfy room at the Rapids Lodge.

February marks the beginning of the change. Days are a little warmer with marginally higher average temperatures (ave. high 36 and low6) but the days are a little longer, allowing for more sunshine hours and that makes midday feel  warmer than the bitter days of January. The snow may soften a little in the middle of the day. There is the Annual Pond Hockey Classic, Ice Addiction Fishing Tournament and the Snowmobile for Life Poker to enjoy. What is there to do for kids in Grand Lake? The Winter Carnival is a must. President’s Day Long Weekend along with Valentine’s Day offer great opportunities to escape to the mountains. The Romantic Lodge Guest Rooms are just perfect!

March is generally the last month for good snowmobiling and skiing but can be the heaviest snow month. The beginning of the month temperatures are pretty similar to February but real change is seen and felt towards the end of the month. T-shirt sunny days are welcomed. Snowpack melts off road surfaces and around town, snowmobiling meadows may get a little dense and on hot days, pools of water may form on the lake ice although the ice is still nice and thick at this time. It is still a perfect winter playground out there. It’s a good idea to get out snowshoeing and cross country skiing early before surface snow softens. Average high temperatures are around 43F and the average low is 13F but record temperatures of 72F and -36F have been set. Stay in a cozy Rapids Suite for Spring Break. These one bedroom units offer a full kitchen, sleep up to 6 people and some are dog-friendly.

April brings the big melt but Spring is still a long way away. The big piles of winter snow around town are still evident and will take a while to disappear. Of course trails in Rocky Mountain National Park still require snowshoes and you might get too hot, so dress in layers. Soaking up the sun on good days becomes a must for locals. The average high temperature is 51F (record73F) and average low 20F (record -21F). When temperatures are around 20F, locals consider it to be pretty warm. The dry Colorado air makes the cold so much more bearable and it doesn’t feel anything like the East Coast biting cold of Winter. Some of the lake ice may be dicey so always check to make sure it is safe before venturing out. If you are wanting to fish, there are always some open spots like the channel between Grand Lake and Shadow Mountain Reservoir. We can direct you there. Nordic Centers and Ski Resorts begin to close but there is still plenty to do. If you bring your own snowmobile, trailer to Idleglen and ride from there. Moose and other animals in the National Park increase their activity and are frequently seen in the meadows where snow melts faster in the sunshine. Of course you can have a sunny day and a blizzard day all in one! Book a River View Condo at the Rapids and stay inside enjoying the fireplace while looking out onto a picturesque Tonahutu River.

May brings all kinds of weather. Average highs are around 60F and lows around 28F. We have had an 82F day and a 1F night. Days are really noticeably longer and when they are sunny, they can be deliciously warm. Snow storms will still pass through but the new snow doesn’t stick around long. Migrant birds arrive and liven up the skies and the river at the Rapids loses its ice. The lakes may melt off in late April or later in May but Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park won’t open until Memorial Day Weekend. An air of excitement is in the air. Locals know that things are going to liven up when the road opens and visitors flood into our part of the world. Everyone is busy getting ready for the summer season, grass is greening up and Aspen leaves pop out in the latter part of the month. Bring t-shirts and heavy coats – you just never know. The river at the Rapids is often at peak or near peak flow as June approaches. The Rapids low season rates will be available all the way up until just before Memorial Day Weekend. Take advantage of the great rates.

June means being prepared for all weather. It may be sunny and warm in Grand Lake but when you get to the top of Trail Ridge Road it may be snowing with artic blasts of wind (of course not all the time). The Tonahutu River or North inlet, is flowing high and is just magnificent to watch. Trails can still be muddy in the early part of the month but will start firming up towards the end of the month. Peak season usually kicks in around June 23rd when you can expect hotels to be full and people everywhere. If you hike a little off the beaten track you can soon find solitude. Boats, golf courses and all the summer fun options are available to you. Average high temperatures are around 71F and the low 34F … so if you are worried about no air-conditioning, just open a window. Records are noted to have reached 89F and 16F). This is month to look for animal babies everywhere.  The Rapids Condos are perfect for watching the river roar by from the comfort of your room. 

July has the reputation of being the warmest month. Highs around 77F and lows around 39F. Very rarely does it tip over 90F but a frost or two can still surprise you. Believe it or not, Grand Lake has even had snow on the 4th of July! An anomaly for sure, but evidently not impossible! Rain in the afternoon can be frequent so get out on the lakes and trails early before the water becomes choppy for kayaking or lightening becomes a risk for high elevation hikers. Wildflowers are at their peak! Getting sunburned at high elevation is easy so be careful. Always remember to drink a lot of water. The Colorado high country air is very dry and many visitors fine the elevation difficult but taking it easy and drinking a LOT of water can really help. Nights are still cool and almost always require a light jacket. Head into Rocky Mountain National Park to stargaze. It’s great to sit out under the crystal clear skies when it’s not too cold! All of our rooms have fans so even though there is no air conditioning, open a window, enjoy a breeze and savor the still chilly nights!

August is a fabulous month. The Grand Lake Yacht Club has their Lipton Cup Regatta in the first week, and all the white sails against the blue water of Grand Lake is stunning! We still get afternoon showers but often the days are just perfect. Average high temperatures are just a little less than July at around 74F and lows around 38F (record temperatures 92 F and 18F). Here and there, a stressed Aspen or Willow will begin to show a few yellow leaves. Rain frequency lessens towards the end of the month as we get closer to fall. If you want to visit in the summer but want to avoid the crowds, come mid-week during the last 2 weeks of August after most schools have started. The river at the Rapids will be running at much lower levels with lots of boulders visible. Choose from any of the four buildings on property to find the accommodation that is just perfect for you. All of our rooms are different and there is always something to please everybody.

September brings fall temperatures and beautiful weather with bluebird skies. Of course you may experience the odd snowstorm too. September is just about everyone’s favorite time in the Rocky Mountains so book early. Labor Day starts the month off with a bang. Enjoy walking around town and taking advantage of the end of summer sales. Leaves may start to change in earnest in the second week of September and peak color is usually around the third weekend in September. However, every year is different and fabulous colors may extend into October. Elevation also plays a part, so if the colors aren’t perfect at lower elevation, just go higher! The average high is still around 68F which means September days are warm and sunny. Nights now average around freezing  which helps the fall colors along. “Indian Summer” days may bring a high in the upper 80’s and a cold front might drop the temperatures into the single digits. Trail Ridge Road can be very chilly and always plan for the fact that the road may close temporarily due to bad weather and unsafe road conditions at this time of the year. The bull elk start rounding up their harems in the meadows of RMNP and this experience should not be missed. The haunting bugles of the bull elk with their magnificent racks is quite a sight! The River View Condos have Aspen Trees in glorious fall color right outside along the river bank of the Tonahutu River. Soak up the colors!

October if often a really nice time to be in Grand Lake. Hunting season begins and the last fall colors will add to the quiet beauty without the crowds. If it snows, it won’t stay on the ground for long. Colorado is famous for sunshine and this month is no exception. The elk are still bugling and hiking at this time of year is fantastic, peaceful and meditative. Enjoy average temperatures between 24F and 56F, some “Indian Summer” days into the upper 70s and chilly refreshing nights. October is usually a fairly low precipitation month but snow storms are very different at high elevation so if a big one comes in, that may be the final curtain call for Trail Ridge Road. The road has been known to stay open into November. The Rapids begins to over our low season nightly rates around the second week of October – what a deal! The Rapids Lodge and Restaurant is perfect for any special event: weddings, rehearsal dinners, anniversaries,reunions, meetings … really any excuse for a special occasion will do! The Rapids is just 1 short block to the end of the main street in town and just 2 short blocks to the lake so you can walk everywhere.

November is a very quiet month in Grand County, Colorado. Hunters are still trying their luck in the woods but things are really peaceful. Snow at this time of year will begin to stick and ice will begin to form on eddies and still water in the Tonahutu River at the Rapids. Moose wander town at this time of the year, enjoying the remnants of the flower beds as they prepare for winter. Stellar Jays make their presence known again and are stunning as they flash brilliant blue among the trees. Nights can get as cold as -28F but usually hover around 15F. Days are in the 40’s but every now and again we get a hot, surprise “summer” day.  If you want to do something different for Thanksgiving, come join us here at the Rapids Lodge. With Condos that sleep up to eight people, it’s the perfect place for a family gathering.

December brings winter and all the joy of the holidays! Folks get busy decorating town and businesses with a myriad of sparkling lights. Grand Lake is really one of the prettiest towns to be in at this time of the year, and you can’t beat New Year’s with our famous fireworks exploding over the lake, painting the snow all kinds of colors. The river at the Rapids will likely freeze and become silent, covered with snow. The lakes freeze in order. Shadow Mountain freezes first because it is the most shallow, then Grand Lake and finally Lake Granby. The lakes freeze anywhere from late November to mid to late December. The snowmobile trails in the Arapaho National Forest are open and ready for snowmobiling fun! The snowmobile trail from town is usually the last section to open and the National Park Service makes the decision based on the snow cover through sensitive sections that are within the Rocky Mountain National Park Boundary. Highs during this cold month hover around an average of 32F, lows around 5F. Unusual days may bring 55F or -35F. Brrr. When it is cold like this, the snow squeaks and moisture in the air crystallizes and literally snows out of a clear blue sky. It’s a magical time when all the winter sports are available and families and friends can make truly special memories! 

Come see us here at the Rapids Lodge. No matter what month you visit in, there is always beauty and something special to experience.

Interview with Tom Jochems 2019

Owner of the Rapids Lodge and Restaurant 1969 to 1976

In October, a previous owner of the Rapids Lodge, Tom Jochems, spent some time with us and enjoyed lunch out by the river. Tom owned the Rapids from 1969 to 1976 with partners Steve Shryock and silent partner Rob Carmichael (also owned the Pine Cone Inn – now Pancho and Lefty’s). 

Max Ludwig, current owner at left. Tom Jochums at right.

Tom and his partners served two menu items in the Rapids Restaurant: Crab Legs (+/- $7.00) and T-bones (+/- $6.00). Folks came from all around and they did a roaring business! The biggest draw to the Rapids besides the scenic location along the river, was the restaurant and entertainment. Live music and dancing on the wood floor was a highlight. The Rapids hosted a lot of weddings as we do today. Tom was a “jack of all trades”, doing all the jobs necessary to operate a restaurant and lodge whether it was cooking, cleaning, dishwashing, waiting tables … you name it. During those years finding staff for the Rapids was not a problem because all staff were housed at the Rapids and housing with a job is a great attractant, just like it is today. The employees mostly loved the entertainment!

Tom remembers that Bob Lind played here. He had one great hit called “The Elusive Butterfly of Love” which he performed at the Rapids. Rita Coolidge visited the Rapids and maybe sang a few songs as a guest. Rita was married to Kris Kristofferson, who was friends with the local Garber family and came to visit them. Kris is rumored to have played at the Rapids on occasion. Richie Havens, who played at Woodstock, also entertained guests. One favorite celebrity was bartender John Larroquette of Night Court fame, who regaled guests with great tales and made them laugh (also worked at the Pine Cone Inn). Guests just sat at the bar and ordered drink after drink listening to John. He was great for business!

In Tom’s day, the very trees that stand outside the Rapids now, were already gracing the Tonahutu River bank. The interior was a little different though. The stairs from the Lodge Guest Rooms descended on both sides of the door. There was a piano. Tom remembers that the “back dining room” or “Tonahutu Room” as we call it today, was a screened in porch. The bar was actually along the North edge of the main dining room platform perpendicular to the river and then extended toward where the current bar is now in an L shape.  Tom built the bar back which consists of ornate wood carvings by local Mike Matthews and stained glass supposedly made with real Cobalt (CO, atomic number 27) that came from a mansion in Chicago. Cobalt-based blue pigments have been used in jewelry, glass and paints for centuries. We are not sure where the mountain scene of stained glass came from but was likely acquired by owners Lou and Kathy Nigro in the 80’s when they turned the screened in porch into an additional dining room. The doors to the wine cellar (or liquor closet) at the wait station came from the Malo Mansion on Grand Lake which burned down in 1963. Read more here at the Grand Lake Area Historical Society website. Today, all that can be seen of the Malo residence is the old chimney and fireplace on the north shore of Grand Lake. The beer cooler behind the bar is original, predating Tom’s ownership. The fireplaces are still the same although they were wood burning back then!

Most of you haven’t seen inside the kitchen and it is in many ways the same. The beautiful wood “reach-in” cooler is original but now in a different location in kitchen. The walk-in cooler is the same one that Tom used as well. Some of the kitchen shelves had sliding wood doors back in Tom’s day. The doors are no longer there, but the door guides are!

It was particularly interesting to tour the Lodge Guest Rooms on the second and third floors. Tom lived in what is now Lodge Guest Room 7 “Garden Room” but his bathroom was the bathroom that is now Lodge Guest Room 1’s bathroom (Tonahutu Room). All the rooms were about the size of the small Lodge Guest Rooms 2 and 3. This means that Lodge Guest Rooms 1, 4 and 5 were a total of 6 small rooms back in the day (contributing to a total of maybe 10 rooms on the second floor). Lodge Guest Room 4’s bathroom was a shared women’s bathroom and Lodge Guest Room 5’s bathroom was a shared men’s bathroom. The entry to Lodge Guest Room 6 (the whole 3rd floor) was only from what is the exterior fire escape at the North end of the building. The current entrance from inside the lodge second floor hallway was not there in Tom’s time. Each dormer on the third floor was a small guest room (a total of 6). The breakfast nook area was not there in Tom’s day. No windows on the third floor faced the river! Even today, it is only the breakfast nook area window that does face the river. There were no TV’s and no telephones.

The Rapids parking lot at that time was partly taken up by a large above ground pool. The three cabins lined the south side and four cabins lined the north side (where the Rapids Suites Building is now located). The pool was aging at that time and had a few cracks demanding constant topping up. One night, an employee managed to turn the water heat up to a point where he and his girlfriend could enjoy a night swim with steam coming off the water. Tom and his partners decided then that the pool would have to go. 

Tom and his partners made a major improvement in the form of bringing “winter water” from the town to the Rapids. This involved digging up Rapids Lane for an 8 foot deep trench. During this process they discovered the old water channel that in the early days of Grand Lake, ferried water from the Tonahutu River, under the now south corner of the River View Condos and through the parking lot at an angle towards the cabin closest to the main entrance to the Rapids. The aqueduct was about 3 feet wide, V shaped and lined with thick two inch pieces of wood. The last remaining visible portion of the trench is now located by the Smith Eslick Cottage and the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre. See a photo of Grand Ave showing the water ditch in the 1930’s here.

The Rapids Lodge was strictly a summer business before Tom and his partners brought in winter water. Their summer season ran from June 1st to the end of September. Then the water was shut off and the Rapids lay quiet all winter.

The Rapids Condos and River View Condos had not yet been built when Tom was at the Rapids so the Rapids Property was extensive along the river. There was a lawn where the current restaurant patio is, that was mowed and swept, but the rest was wild. Elk and deer were often seen on the property. Moose were not seen at the Rapids in those days because there weren’t any! Twelve Moose were reintroduced to North Park in 1978 and so were not seen at the Rapids for a long time until their numbers increased and they made their way over the Never Summer Mountain Range and into Middle Park.

Grand Lake was a different town back then. It was still very much a little bit of the Wild West. It was a very friendly and fun place. Horses were commonly ridden into town by the local cowboys and every bar had a hitching post. The Lariat Saloon still has theirs! Tom remembers a horse or two inside a bar on occasion! “Western Days” back then offered street gun fights and more. Everybody dressed up in Western clothes and got into the spirit of the event, now the Buffalo Barbecue Weekend. Other fun events in town included the “Sunrise Slalom” which began with Spring skiing races on top of Trail Ridge Road and ending with water skiing on Grand Lake right after the ice broke up (no wet suits). They would also have water skiing shows, where the girls would stand on each other’s shoulders in acrobatic style. Male skiers also performed. The local traffic cops would mostly just give you a ride home if they thought you needed one after visiting a few bars and there was a 3.2 bar called “The Fog Horn”, most recently known as “Grumpy’s Saloon” and currently “White Buffalo Pizza”. Grand Lake was also a visited by “The Brothers Fast”, a biker group that enjoyed the dining and entertainment at the Rapids. They were always respectful and fun.

Tom hails from Wichita, Kansas and pretty much grew up visiting Grand Lake for 6 weeks in the summer. When he was 26, he decided to live in Grand Lake, buy the Rapids with his partners, and work and ski in Winter Park in the winter.

Winter Weekend Getaways

Summer is fast fading away and fall colors are peaking in Grand County, Colorado. Elk and Moose are rutting and mornings are frosty. We have already had a dusting of snow on the mountain peaks. So we know winter is on its way!

Winter getaways Grand Lake Colorado

Winter getaways Grand Lake Colorado

The Rapids Lodge is a great place to stay for Grand Lake’s Constitution Week in mid-September. Then there is Halloween! Before we know it, snow will blanket everything and Grand Lake will have been transformed into a Winter Wonderland! Some of you may already be dreaming of winter days, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing among the peaks. Well, we are the place to stay. The Rapids has great off- season rates and we have a great location, close to everything.

Imagine cold, starry nights, soft snow flakes falling, alpenglow on white-capped peaks, moose in the willows, snow shoe hares under the spruce and vast, breathtaking scenery! Oh, Grand Lake is magical in the winter, all the lights and a towering lit tree at the end of the main street. A more heart-warming Christmas is hard to imagine and perhaps you will see the New Year in with a bang, fireworks over the frozen lake. Tubing and ice skating, sled dog and sleigh rides, a little icy fishing, warm fires and a soak in hot springs – Grand County, Colorado has it all!

Get out of town, take a break and revitalize your soul in the mountains. Weekdays or weekends, Grand Lake will welcome you with smiles and good food. Martin Luther King Weekend, President’s Weekend, Winter Carnival, snowmobile races and rides, make your plans 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!

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!



Its spring in Grand Lake, Colorado!

Its spring in Grand Lake, Colorado!

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

Spring in Grand Lake, Colorado

Spring in Grand Lake, Colorado

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

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

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

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

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

Visit the Rapids Lodge late fall early winter

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

Deer eating bushes, Grand Lake, Colorado

Deer eating bushes, Grand Lake, Colorado

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

Deer eating bushes, Grand Lake, Colorado

Deer eating bushes, Grand Lake, Colorado

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

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




Boating Grand Lake, Colorado

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 Grand Lake, Colorado Public Docks

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.

Non-motorized boating

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!

Kayaks at Monarch Lake, Boating Grand Lake, Colorado
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.

Phone: 970-627-3707
Email: [email protected]

Grand Lake, Colorado Wheelchair Accessibility

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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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.


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.”