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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Fall in Grand Lake Colorado

Fall Foliage Tours …..

Colorado’s fall color is something to behold. The grass, the willows and the Aspen Trees turn a glorious gold. A few red Aspen Trees may be found in patches. If the leaves are backlit, the brilliance of the leaves is unsurpassed!  Fall peak colors may be a bit early this year. Golden trees and willows began appearing in late August and show no signs of slowing down! There are plenty of fall color drives to choose from and Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the best!

Grand Lake Colorado

Fall in Grand Lake Colorado


Fall in Grand Lake, Colorado also has a few fall festivals and activities to keep you entertained. Our main fall attraction is “Constitution Week” which runs September 12th through 17th. Enjoy talks and fun activities celebrating our constitution and don’t miss the fireworks that bring the week to a close!

The Elk mating season is another reason to visit us here at the Rapids Lodge in the fall. People come from all over the world to witness the bull elk bugling as they round their harems of females up for mating. You mightThe Tonahutu Creek at the Rapids Lodge be lucky enough to see a fight between majestic, antlered bulls. The elk (also known as Wapiti) come out of the trees and gather in the meadows daily at dusk and tourists gather with chairs and blankets on the road verges to witness the action. The bulls elk’s mating call is a haunting sound and will stay in your memory forever.

So head our direction on your fall road trip and enjoy Colorado at its best. The Rapids Lodge is located on the Tonahutu River, at the end of the main street in town (Grand Ave.). You can walk everywhere …. it is just two short blocks to the lake. Some of our accommodations are pet-friendly too. Monarch Lake Trail is a perfect loop for a fall hike with your dog!

The Rapids Restaurant is in a spectacular location overlooking the river . Savor dinner next to the fireplace in the evenings or join us for lunch (served outside on warm fall days).

“Leaf peeping” is just too much fun to miss! Call us today.

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!


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.

Fall in Colorado

Fall in Colorado Rocky Mountains

Grand County experienced a frost August 18th and 19th this summer! That is a sure way to get things turning to reds and yellows. August has not provided much rain either, so a few bushes and trees here and there are showing gold colors already. Predicting when the colors will turn is difficult, perhaps as early as Labor Day Weekend, perhaps as late as the second week of September. Peak colors are often experience during the third week of September. We will see how this Fall in Colorado turns out.

No matter what, Fall in Colorado is a fabulous time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park and Grand Lake, Colorado! Both the Rocky Mountain National Park and the Historic Rapids Lodge are finishing up celebrating their Centennial Year! At 100 years old, this building is a must see. The blockish, “barky” covered building hides a real treasure inside. The Rapids Restaurant offers a cozy ambience with fascinating details in décor, two fireplaces and a wonderful view over the river.

Fall in Colorado offers crisp mornings, brilliant blue skies and vibrant color everywhere you look. Migratory birds and waterfowl begin passing through Grand County on their way south for the winter, and the area offers good opportunities for excellent Colorado birding. Watch bull Moose in rut and bull Elk herding their harems of females and “bugling” in the meadows of the Rocky Mountain National Park. An evening enjoying the elk is perfectly followed by a dinner at the Rapids Restaurant next to the fireplace! Taking a day drive anywhere in Colorado is bound to amaze in the fall. Hot Sulphur Springs is a great place to relax in steaming starlit pools after a long day of hiking and mountain adventure.

The Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre will be presenting their fall show “Forever Plaid” through September. Check their website for show days and times. Grand Lake also celebrates “Constitution Week” (Sept. 14-19) which offers all sorts of interesting talks and even a fun fireworks show on Saturday the 19th.

No matter when you visit during the fall, there is plenty to do, some of the best weather, busy weekends or quiet weekdays and endless opportunities to make memories!

The little things in Grand Lake Colorado ….

The Rocky Mountain National Park (100 years old this year) is a great place to learn about life on the Continental Divide. The Rapids Lodge (also 100 years old this year) is just 5 minutes from the West Entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. We are located just below the North Inlet Trail access in Grand Lake Colorado. Our stunning location along the banks of the Tonahutu River offer great opportunities for Moose and American Dipper viewing. On occasion an Otter or Mink might clamber along the river’s edge and Red Foxes often traverse the property.Grand Lake Colorado

The Rocky Mountain Conservancy is providing several educational day excursions on the West side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Contact them at 970-586-3262 to reserve  your spot.

Starting out on June 13, 2015 is a “Birding in Rocky Mountain National Park” all day excursion. Start indoors and then head out into the field within Rocky Mountain National Park. Identify birds by sight and voice and learn about their natural history. Look for woodpeckers, bluebirds, swallows and wrens at their cavity nests.Grand Lake Colorado

On July 11, 2015 look for common and not-so-common “Rocky Mountain Wildflowers” and the park’s diversity. Did you know the West slope has more plant diversity than the East side of the park? A naturalist will answer your questions.

Grand Lake ColoradoAugust 15th, 2015 brings a chance to learn about the “Butterflies of Rocky Mountain National Park”. Learn about diversity and behavior. You might see Rocky Mountain Parnassian, Scudder’s Sulphur, Silver-Bordered Fritillary, Mourning Cloak and Dark Wood-Nymph. Bring binoculars and cameras.  The instructor will have a net and release permit so a close look can be enjoyed.

The final excursion will cover the “River Otters of Rocky Mountain National Park” on September 12, 2015. River Otters live in the Colorado River and were re-introduced beginning in the 1970’s having been absent from the landscape since the early 1900’s. The region now shows a healthy reproductive population at carrying capacity. This course will be enjoyed at the Trail River Ranch in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Book your room at the Rapids Lodge today and plan a scrumptious dinner overlooking the river after a long day of exploration.

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Memorial Day Weekend

The first holiday weekend of the summer season!

Stay 2 nights or 3. The Rapids Lodge is offering fantastic hotel deals in select Rapids Suites and select Lodge Guest Rooms. Stay for as little as $60 for 2 people and $89 for up to 6 people! These rooms will be booked up fast so we suggest you make your plans soon. Dinner will be served nightly from 5:00pm and Memorial Day Weekend is when the scenic Rapids Restaurant starts serving lunch outside by the river once again.

Trail Ridge Road Rocky Mountain National Park

Most importantly, Rocky Mountain National Park’s Trail Ridge Road will be opening for the summer. The road connects busy Estes Park to the quieter Grand Lake West Entrance and is the highest continuous highway in the United States. You will be able follow the route of the historic “Circle Tour” from the early days of RMNP. 2015 is Rocky Mountain National Park’s Centennial Year and the Rapids is celebrating their own Centennial as well. Get ready for magnificent views and towering walls of snow along Trail Ridge Road along its highest sections. These are always great photo opportunities that will have your friends amazed!

Cabins in Grand Lake Hotels

Our three lakes will be open water again and the Aspens Trees will be bursting out in brilliant green leaves. Many of the famous Colorado Wildflowers will be putting on a show! The Kauffman House opens for the season and weekend Bingo starts up in the Grand Lake Pavilion. The Memorial Day Parade is fun for the whole family and is always very entertaining. Hike, bike ride, enjoy the electric go-karts, boat, fish… Grand County offers endless fun!

Grand Lake Hotel


Grand Lake Lodging

The Rocky Mountain National Park Turning 100…

The Rapids Lodge will be celebrating our 100th anniversary starting in 2015. We have been here almost as long as Rocky Mountain National Park and are excited to share part of this anniversary year.


Rocky Mountain National Park’s 100th Anniversary!

Everyone is gearing up for the big day when celebrations begin on September 3rd and 4th. Visit the Rocky Mountain National Park website for more details. Fall celebrations will include music, special presentations, food, art, theatre and activities for the whole family.

Perhaps you can contribute to the park’s virtual time capsule: maybe you grew up coming to Rocky Mountain National Park for summer or winter vacations or your family reunions have been held at the Rapids Lodge with activities in the park. Any great R.M.N.P. photo from times past would be a great contribution and if any of your relatives worked at the Rapids Lodge or for the R.M.N.P. I bet they have some great park oriented stories to tell!

Indeed, if anyone has some historic photos pertaining to the Rapids Lodge, we would certainly love to have a copy to share.

To contact the Rapids Lodge, call 970.627.3707 or email [email protected]

So Much to do This Weekend…

The weather is forecast to be excellent and a good match for all your outdoor activities in Grand Lake, Colorado. The Rapids Lodge still has rooms available so call us today! We have the most varied accommodations in town including pet-friendly cabins and suites. The Tonahutu River is roaring right now and a riverside condo could be the perfect spot to relax. Lunch is being served riverside in the Rapids Restaurant on Saturday and Sunday from 11am. And dinner with a view is available every night.


View from the Rapids Restaurant, June 2014

The Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre opens for the season on Friday June 13th with “Les Miserables”. If you are a fan of Bingo, you can enjoy Friday or Saturday evening at the town pavilion along with other visitors. Are you a birder? You might like to join Jeff Maugans for a full day of birding in the Kawuneechee Valley in Rocky Mountain National Park on Saturday June 14th.

Not only does Grand Lake offer an Arts and Crafts Fair on this coming Saturday and Sunday but there is also a non-profit flea market on Saturday as well. Sneak some birthday or Christmas shopping in. There is plenty of other shopping to keep you busy in town too.

Take a trail ride, rent a kayak or cruise the lake on a pontoon boat. The fishing is excellent and baby animals are starting to appear. You won’t regret a weekend in Grand Lake at the Rapids Lodge. Savor the breathtaking beauty of the Rocky Mountains and our 3 lakes!

To contact the Rapids Lodge, give us a call at 970-627-3707

Grand Lake is waiting for you…..

Grand Lake is open and ready for summer business! The magical days of summer in the Rockies are here. Still mornings, a brilliant blue sky, wildflowers, baby animals and the haunting cry of Osprey. Our days are in the 70’s and the nights cool. Perhaps the Arizona heat records and front range heat is already making you think about a visit to the mountains.


Headwaters Marina, Grand Lake

It may be early in the season but that is a great reason to visit Grand County and Rocky Mountain National Park! The crowds aren’t here yet but everything is spectacular and accessible.

The stables are open, the boat and kayaks are available for rent and the staff at the Rapids Lodge can guide you to all the fun activities in the area. There is an acoustic music festival in town and Bingo in the town park on Friday and Saturday.

Our fantastic lodging special is still available up until June 12th so call the Rapids Lodge at 970.627.3707 today!

Latest news ……

Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park is now open. However weather in these early weeks of June can be very unpredictable so always check with to make sure the road is passable. The odd snow storm up high or freezing melt water can cause adverse road conditions resulting in a temporary closure. The trip is well worthwhile and offers breathtaking views over snowy peaks and down into green valleys teeming with elk.

The Rapids Restaurant has resumed lunch service and we are currently open for lunch on Saturdays and Sundays. The river is flowing high with spring runoff and is something to behold. Outdoor patio tables offer a prime view of our famous rapids. The Rapids Restaurant is also now open 7 nights a week for dinner. Moose sightings at the river are almost daily at the moment.


Bull Moose seen at the Rapids Lodge during dinner!

Everything in Grand Lake is open for the summer season and waiting to welcome and entertain you. Shopping in Grand Lake is a favorite pastime of our guests. Sombrero Stables expects to be offering trail rides after June 9th depending on Rocky Mountain National Park trail conditions.

Our pet friendly rooms have been more popular than ever. Bringing along your four legged family member is a perfect addition to your Colorado Family Vacation!

To contact the Rapids Lodge, call us at 970.627.3707 or email [email protected]