Grand Lake, Colorado, was the first mountain town I visited when I moved here more than three decades ago. That’s why it’s always held a special place on my favorite list of Colorado places to visit. Last summer I finally had the chance to stay at the historic Grand Lake Lodge along with my hubby and grandson. Now I have another favorite Colorado mountain hotel to add to my list. Read on to see why you should too!
Surrounded by pine trees on a hillside overlooking Grand Lake Village, the rustic and historic Grand Lake Lodge offers a prime location adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) overlooking the mountain town of Grand Lake.
Since 2018, Grand Lake Lodge is part of the Highway West Vacations brand, offering a diverse portfolio of unique camping, glamping, and boutique hotels across the American West.
Welcome to the Historic Grand lake Lodge Colorado
The historic Grand Lake Lodge Colorado celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2020, the summer I accepted an invitation to stay overnight with my family, but the celebrations were on a small scale due to the pandemic.
And then sadly in October, the now-infamous Grand Lake wildfires threatened to consume the entire area. Fortunately, the town of Grand Lake and Grand Lake Lodge were spared, but other areas were not, including the entrance to RMNP and an area behind the lodge — and so many other residences and land.
But Colorado mountain towns are resilient as Grand Lake Lodge gears up for another May to October season, with plans to reopen on May 21, 2021, to complete their 100th-year celebration.
Read along as I share my experiences of staying at the Grand Lake Lodge last year, and get ready to book your stay in 2021 and beyond.
Arrival at Grand Lake Lodge, Colorado
If you’ve not been to Grand Lake and the surrounding Grand County, seriously you’re missing out. It’s a mountain town, but without the bells and whistles of Vail and Aspen. You’ll still get all those amazing Rocky Mountain views, and it’s welcoming small-town magic.
Grand Lake is just 98 miles from Denver, so (with no traffic issues) your scenic drive is about 2 hours to the historic lodge, via I-70, then take US 40 East to US 34 East. Pass the signs to the town of Grand Lake, for another couple of miles.
We actually were already enjoying a Grand County road trip, departing from our stay at the pet-friendly Indian Peaks Lodge at Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby, so we packed up our four-legged dog, the grandson, and set off for a short 30-minute drive.
Then, voila, we arrived at the pet-friendly Grand Lake Lodge.
Arrival at Historic Grand Lake Lodge
Our family already had our inner clocks on mountain time. We took our time and enjoyed the scenery on our drive to the lodge, noting that we were within a few miles of Rocky Mountain National Park. Bonus!
We entered the parking lot, with curbside check-in was marked by vintage antique cars.
We opted for in-person check-in and enter the lodge via the rustic wooden staircase. We passed through the open balcony, known as “Colorado’s Favorite Porch” complete with chairs to enjoy the view.
Speaking of view, be sure to look behind you at Grand Lake and the sprawling lakes below.
Step into the lodge where the reception desk, gift shop, and entrance to dining.
We opted for in-person check-in which went smoothly and then we were directed back to our cars to drive to our Coyote Ridge cabin.
Accommodations at Grand Lake Lodge
Did I mention prime accommodations near Rocky Mountain National Park?
The lodge sits next to the park and offers a hotel and guest cabins, with renovations completed in May 2019. Since its opening in 1920, the lodge has grown to over 100 buildings as the western slope gateway to RMNP. Lakeside cabins feature ceiling fans, flat-screen TVs, and electric heaters. Some have porches and kitchenettes.
On the hillside nestled in the pines above the lodge, the 70 cabin accommodations range from two-person rooms to a “grand” 25-person cabin, the latter perfect for multigenerational families or reunions!
Our pet-friendly Coyote Ridge cabin was a one-bedroom with a fold-out sleeper sofa in the living room with a refrigerator and a small table. The shared bathroom was down the hallway. Our dog Tigs and grandson had plenty of room together, and our bedroom was cozy.
While some might consider the cabins a bit small, but when you’re in Colorado, how often do you really hang out in your cabin? Not so much.
To our skip-gen family of three plus our dog, the cabins were just right with wood-paneled walls, leather couches, plaid-carpeted floors, refrigerators, microwaves, and coffeemakers.
We also loved the screened-in porch with the view of Grand Lake and a walkway to the lodge.
For a more spacious place to rest your head, take a look at the three-bedroom Ford Cabin, where Henry Ford stayed in 1927.
Or the Elk Cabin, a two-story building that sleeps 25.
Additional Amenities at Grand Lake Lodge
My grandson was totally looking forward to lounging in the pool, while we were eyeing the hot tub.
When he got a look at the view from the pool, he was stoked. Only to be disappointed as it was closed for repairs.
Yes, the pool is amazing, but we did hang out on the deck enjoying snacks and drinks — and that awe-inspiring view of the town and Grand Lake!
Other amenities included the porch (with a view), game room, access to basketball, horseshoe, and volleyball courts. There’s also a picnic area with BBQ grills.
As mentioned above, there are also accessible hiking trails as well as a short path leading to the Grand Lake Village.
And of course, Grand Lake Lodge is IN the Colorado Rocky Mountains, so step outside your door and boom, there you are in the great outdoors with plenty of other things to do.
Dining Options at Grand Lake Lodge
Breakfast is served for a fee in a wood-furnished dining room
Lunch and dinner are also offered.
The dinner menu at Huntington House Tavern includes a decent wine list with options ranging from cheese and charcuterie board to scallops and sirloin.
The main lodge has a HUGE lobby with a fireplace and hickory chairs.
This beautiful historic hotel boasts an amazing location near Rocky Mountain National Park, the town of Grand Lake and so many outdoor activities. You can make your reservation directly through the website, or compare rates and book through a site like Expedia or Travelocity.
Thanks to Grand Lake Lodge for hosting our stay; all opinions expressed are my own.
Photo credits: Diana Rowe / TravelingInHeels.com & Grand Lake Lodge.