Grand Lake History

Grand Lake History

Our area is steeped in fascinating history stretching from the days when Ute, Arapaho and Cheyenne Indians used our famous valley for summer hunting and fishing grounds. Explorers pushed west and traded in skins. Finally Grand Lake was settled with year-round residents in 1867. The discovery of silver, although short lived, brought more people to our area. Finally tourists arrived and hotels were built.

Walking through downtown Grand Lake is like stepping back in time.

The Grand Lake Area Historical Society offers a great walking tour and the self-guided tour pamphlet (50c donation) is available at the Rapids Lodge front desk.

So next time you are in Grand Lake, take a walk and read up about:

  • The Grand Lake Yacht Club (est. 1902)
  • Some of the great old houses for example “The Spider House” which has a rather tragic history.
  • The public square.
  • The Lariat Saloon (est. 1924).
  • The Grand Lake Mercantile general store (early 1900s).
  • The glacial moraine that Grand Avenue intersects.
  • Humphreys Store (Est. 1908).
  • The Smith-Eslick Cottage Court (fine example of an early motel accommodating motor vehicles).
  • The Kauffman House, an early Grand Lake hotel (Est. 1892).

Of course the Historic Rapids Lodge and Restaurant is on the list (est. 1915) and Laps Ish, who built the Rapids, also had a house just down Rapids Lane dating from 1900. Did you know that the Rapids Lodge was one of the first hotels in the area to have running water, electricity and heat! The Rapids had a water powered generator just upstream from the building in the North Inlet.

The Rapids Restaurant is a great place to enjoy a meal overlooking the Tonahutu Creek and we are in a prime location from which to explore Rocky Mountain National Park in any season. Our low season rates begin early October and run through Mid-June and are hard to beat: just $60 for 2 people and $89 for up to 6 people. Pets are welcome in some units too. We invite you to visit in any season, there is always lots to do and the beauty of the area will astound you.

The Rocky Mountains in May…and Mother’s Day

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

Mother's Day Dinner

 

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

Mother's Day

 

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

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

Things to do for Easter ……

Easter comes early this year and the Rapids Restaurant will be open for Easter Sunday dinner on March 27, 2016! Lodging will be open through the night of the 26th of March (we will take our spring break March 27th through May 1st as we prepare for a busy summer season beginning May 2nd).

Easter Grand Lake Easter and spring break are great opportunities to get the family away together and enjoy the great outdoors during the tail end of winter. Bring a group of friends and your four-legged family member along too. Our pet-friendly rooms are spacious and comfortable and sleep up to 6 people for just $89 per night on our “winter special offer”.

Don’t believe everything you’ve heard about Grand Lake weather. February has been a little warmer than usual and snowfalls of 1-3 inches periodically have kept things fresh. The snowpack is still above average in our basin for this time of year. This means there is still a great base of compacted snow on hiking and snowmobile trails. As soon as you get a little higher in elevation, there is still an amazing amount of snow to play in. If anything, compacted trails mean you can go faster and further on snowshoe trails in Rocky Mountain National Park, with much less effort than feet of fresh powder would demand.

12308127_10153724700012552_6964529756002343896_oSo what else is there to keep you busy? Try ice-fishing (check out Fish Explorer for some great information). Rocky Mountain Outfitters will rent you ice fishing gear and get you set for success. Snowmobiling in the high country is a great experience with unbelievable views from the 100 or so miles of groomed trails which are easy to negotiate for any skill level. The Grand Lake Nordic Center will provide you with snow shoes or cross country skis and teach you how to get around the trail system. Rocky Mountain National Park trails are a real adventure but stay aware that you might bump into a moose anywhere, even in town! Try winter hot air ballooning or dog sled racing followed up by a relaxing soak in the hot pools of Hot Sulphur Springs.

Grand Lake is a true western town with history and character, old buildings and a historical walking tour. It is easy to envision the old days of the Old West as you walk the streets shopping. Just one stop sign in town and everything is in walking distance. Although the Grand Lake Lodge is closed, there is still plenty to see. The Rapids Lodge and Restaurant really is the “hidden gem of Grand Lake”. The historic lodge building was established in 1915 and offers an astonishingly cozy interior with 2 fireplaces, comfy couches and a view over the frozen Tonahutu River. The food is simply delicious, the wine list is extensive. The Lodge Guest Rooms upstairs are all quaintly different and inviting, sleeping 2 to 6 adults. We have two of these rooms on a “Winter Special Offer” of just $60 per night. Book them soon – at that great rate, they disappear fast.

So when you are searching for Grand Lake CO Lodging options, think of us.

Memorial Day Ideas In Colorado

It may be the dead of winter but I bet many of you are already thinking of where to go and what to do for the first holiday weekend of the summer, a three day weekend at that! We are dreaming of green grass, warm days, wildflowers, sunshine and baby animals.

Rocky Mountain National Park The end of May in the Rocky Mountains is early spring and the higher you go, the further behind spring lags. Grand Lake, Colorado is at 8,400 feet above sea level and by Memorial Day Weekend the three lakes will be thawed, the Aspens Trees will have sprouted bright green leaves and many wildflowers will be reaching skyward. Birds will be nesting in earnest and moose and elk will be fat with young.

Almost everything opens up for the summer on Memorial Day Weekend: the marinas, all the shops, all the restaurants, all the hotels and much more. Grand Lake swings to life as is always very evident on Memorial Day itself when the townsfolk have fun with a Memorial Day Parade, crowds, candy, fun displays and all sorts of vehicles and floats.

Grand Lake Lodging

The Rapids Lodge has a two night minimum this weekend BUT we still have our fantastic “Special Winter Offer” in place until early June. This means that 2 people could stay with us for as little as $60 per night (Lodge Guest Room 5 + 7) and up to 6 people for as little as $89 per night (Rapids Suites). Some of the Rapids Suites are pet-friendly. So make your plans early and ensure you “get in on the good deal”. Book online right here on our website.

The Rapids Restaurant will begin serving lunch outside by the Tonahutu River as it rushes by, swollen with snowmelt. Dinner overlooking the creek will create magical memories for you and your family.

Hike, bike, boat, fish, soak up the sun all the while enjoying the awe inspiring scenery of Rocky Mountain National Park and Grand County. Snow-capped mountains against the foreground of spring in the Rockies, is quite the sight to see!

Fall Foliage and Lodging in Grand Lake

Weather in the Rocky Mountains has been highly variable this September! From beautiful “Indian Summer” days, sporadic light rains, cloudy days, sunny days, a dusting of snow on the highest peaks here and there, we’ve had a little of everything, and WOW has it been beautiful! – As they say, “if you don’t like the weather in Colorado, wait five minutes.”

Fall Foliage and Lodging in Grand Lake

It seems like peak fall colors in Grand County may occur next weekend, September 25th and 26th and remain good through the end of the first weekend in October which would be wonderful for Grand Lake visitors and locals alike! There are not as many reds as last year but the golds are spectacular and absolutely glow in the sunlight! Even if the weather forecast shows cloudy, don’t be fooled, there are always patches of sun to highlight the magnificent fall colors!

The elk are bugling in Rocky Mountain National Park and can be seen in the meadows in the early mornings and at dusk every day! It is such fun to watch the bulls herding their females and keeping a close eye on them. If a competitor comes close, they are soon challenged and fights can be witnessed as the bulls vie for dominance. Bull moose can also be seen following their females around very closely. It is that time of year!

Elk in Grand Lake

Lodging in Grand Lake is easy to find this time of year! We’ve got wonderful river side cabins, condos, and rooms tucked neatly in the stunning aspens and pines, some that are even pet-friendly! Our neighbors include a variety of fox, moose, deer, and the occasional elk. If you’re looking for lodging in the heart of Grand Lake, Colorado with scenic views and abundant wildlife, stay with us at the Historic Rapids Lodge and Restaurant.

Book your stay today! 

 

Fall Getaways and Hotels in Grand Lake

Why visit Grand Lake in October?

 

The month of October can offer fabulous weather in the Rockies, or a dusting of snow! It is a peaceful month and folks who don’t like crowds love to visit Rocky Mountain National Park at this time of the year. The elk are still bugling and the trails are quiet. Sunny days can be t-shirt warm, and the scenery always astounds.

 

Looking for affordable Hotels in Grand Lake?

Take advantage of one of the Rapids Lodge hotels deals: enjoy a one bedroom Rapids Suite that can sleep up to six people and has a fully equipped kitchen for just $89 per night. Rapids Suite 4 is a studio that runs at just $60 per night! The lower level Rapids Suites (1-4) are all pet-friendly so you can vacation with your four legged family member!
If a smaller, more romantic room is your style, Trails End or Garden Room on the second floor of the historic lodge building might be perfect for you at just $60 per night.
Hotels in Grand Lake
The Rapids Restaurant will be open for dinner four nights a week in October, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Enjoy a sumptuous meal with a view over the spot-lit river. Cozy up in front of the lobby fireplace with a nightcap before bed.

Ideas for Daytime Activities in October:

  • – Hike to Adams Falls, just 0.3 of a mile
  • – Drive Trail Ridge Road (average closing date Oct. 23)
  • – Listen to the elk bugle in Rocky Mountain National Park at sunset
  • – Shop downtown for early Christmas gifts
  • – Soak at Hot Sulphur Springs
  • – Book a relaxing massage with Sarah Chabot
  • – Take a Hot Air Balloon ride and soar above the Rockies
  • – Fish Grand Lake, Shadow Mountain, and Lake Granby
  • – Read that book you have wanted to read for ages
If you a Colorado hunter, you will find some of our larger units ideal for groups if you don’t want to rough it at a hunting camp!
We invite you enjoy the peace and quiet in Grand County, hear the crunch of Aspen leaves underfoot and completely relax when you visit Grand Lake, Colorado

 

Looking for Things to Do in Grand Lake?

Play The Mountain Golf Courses

If you are looking for things to do in Grand Lake you should play game of golf in the Rocky Mountain High Country! Temperatures are comfortable, usually in the 70’s, sunshine abounds and the scenery is breathtaking. Wildlife such as moose, elk, deer, and fox abound and are often sighted during a game. Grand County Colorado has four, 18 hole golf courses you can play day after day.

Things to Do in Grand LakeThe Grand Lake Golf Course was designed by Dick Phelps and offers rolling fairways, Lodgepole Pines, and Aspen tree groves. The course is just five minutes away from the Rapids Lodge where you could enjoy a riverside Condo, vintage Cabin, or romantic Lodge Guest Room.  If you make a reservation for a tee time at Grand Lake Golf Course and present your lodging receipt to the golf course, you can receive a special “Stay and Play” rate. Lessons and a driving range are also available.

Things to Do in Grand Lake

Grand Elk and Granby Ranch golf courses are just 20 minutes away and Pole Creek Golf Course is about 40 minutes away from Grand Lake. If you want variety, this valley is where to get it. After a good day out on the course, nothing beats a delicious dinner with a view at the Rapids Restaurant, “Grand Lake’s Hidden Gem”.

Things to Do in Grand Lake