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12 Unusual Places to Stay near Rocky Mountain National Park

You can stay in a beautiful tiny house resort or at a haunted hotel. Here are our top 12 places next to or on the way to Rocky Mountain National Park, if you are seeking unforgettable, adventurous experiences.

1. Hot Springs Resort with Attitude

Soaking at Hot Sulphur Springs Resort
Courtesy Hot Sulphur Springs Resort

What’s unique about a hot spring resort? This one loves to say, “No.” No telephones. No smoking. No alcohol. No pets. And no cooking. It’s their way of giving you a simple, relaxing experience away from distractions. Hot Sulphur Springs Resort’s lodging options include simple motel rooms, a cabin, and an apartment. Your room includes access to hot pools fed by seven natural springs.

On a budget? Bring your RV or tent and camp for free at Pioneer Park. Pick a spot on the southern edge of this 80-acre park to be within walking distance to the hot springs resort. A day pass for the hot pools is less than twenty dollars.

For more information:

Hot Sulphur Springs Resort & Spa
5609 Co Hwy 20, Hot Sulphur Springs, CO 80451

Pioneer Park–hss.htm

2. Historic 1920s Mountain Lodge

The pool overlooking Grand Lake at the Grand Lake Lodge
The pool overlooking Grand Lake at the Grand Lake Lodge. Don Graham via Flickr

Rocky Mountain National Park doesn’t have any lodges inside the park. However, there is a cabin resort just outside the park’s West Entrance. It’s surrounded by the park on three sides and overlooks Grand Lake, a stunning alpine lake,  on the other side. Its large veranda and lookout decks have earned it the nickname  “Colorado’s favorite front porch.”

Grand Lake Lodge got its start in the 1920s and is a registered National Historic Landmark. Visit the main lodge to relax at the circular fireplace, hickory rockers and swings before retreating to your cabin.

For more information:
Grand Lake Lodge
(855) 585-0004
15500 US Highway 34, Grand Lake, CO 80447

3. Yurt Glamping

Snow Mountain Ranch Yurt
Photo courtesy of YMCA of the Rockies

On the western edge of Rocky Mountain National Park, stay at one of two yurt villages at YMCA’s Snow Mountain Ranch. Even though the yurts are not heated, they are available year-round except for a few weeks downtime in April and May.

An hour and 20 minutes fro​m the national park, Golden Gate Canyon State Park has two yurts available to visitors year-round. Visit the Panorama Point Scenic Overlook, where visitors can see 100 miles of the Continental Divide. With pristine bathrooms nearby, a budget-friendly price tag, and dogs allowed, these huts are truly family friendly.

For more information:

YMCA of the Rockies, Snow Mountain Ranch

Golden Gate Canyon State Park
(303) 582-3707
92 Crawford Gulch Road, Golden, CO, 80403

4. Ski or Hike to a Mountain Hut

Broome Hut in winter in the wilderness west of Rocky Mountain National Park
Broome Hut in winter. Photo courtesy of Grand County

Grand County on the western edge of Rocky Mountain National Park is building a series of backcountry huts. The first to be completed was Broome Hut west of Berthoud Pass. Bring 15 of your closest friends to this hut situated at 11,350 feet at treeline in the Second Creek Basin and watch the sunrise hit the face of the headwall. Or just reserve the beds you need and meet others staying at the hut. There is gorgeous alpine hiking from this hut during the summertime.

Read more about backcountry huts and yurts.

For more information:
Grand Huts Association
PO Box 1046, Fraser, CO 80442

Reservations through 10th Mountain Division Huts
(970) 925-5775

5. This YMCA isn’t a Sweaty Gym

Lodging at YMCA Estes Park Center
Ali Pfenninger

The YMCA of the Rockies offers cabins and lodges on both the east and west sides of Rocky Mountain National Park. Both locations are  unlike any Y you’ve ever seen. The Estes Park location is minutes from the East Entrance. The Tabernash location is about 45 minutes from the park’s west side.

Stay in a rustic mountain cabin, a yurt, vacation home, lodge or ranch. In the summer learn how to rock climb, do archery, or go horseback on a trail ride. In the winter, ride a dog sled, go snowmobiling, or go on a horse-drawn sleigh ride.

For more information:
YMCA of the Rockies

Estes Park Center
2515 Tunnel Road, Estes Park, CO 80511

Snow Mountain Ranch
1101 County Road 53, Granby, CO 80446

6. Pretend you’re a Colorado Cowboy at This Luxurious Ranch

Pool at Devils Thumb Ranch
Devil’s Thumb Ranch Pool. Courtesy Devils Thumb Ranch

Legend says that warring tribes reconciled and buried the devil in the mountains above Tabernash, Colo., about a 45-minute drive from Rocky Mountain National Park’s West Entrance. But they left the devil’s left thumb protruding above the dirt to remind them of the evil of war.

Under the Devil’s Thumb rock formation is a gorgeous upscale resort set on more than 6,500 acres. It’s home to three beautiful restaurants, a pool and spa and dozens of trails.  In winter there are seemingly endless trails to cross-country ski or snowshoe. You can also ride on a horse-drawn wagon.

In summer, the ranch offers a ton of activities from mountain biking, fly fishing to ziplining to spending time with the resident goats, chickens and ducks. Stay in the ranch’s cabins, lodge rooms, bunkhouse or sister inns.

For more information:
Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa
3530 County Road 83, Tabernash, CO 80478

7. Stay in a Tiny House

WeeCasa Tiny House Resort in Lyons, Colorado
The Gnome Home Tiny House. Courtesy WeeCasa Tiny House Resort

Stop in Lyons, a charming town about 45 minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park, and stay in a tiny house at WeeCasaTiny House Resort. Featuring a number of unique tiny houses with flush toilets, WeeCasa has fun and creative themes for its houses, including the Gnome House featuring a circular entrance door to Judy Blue Eyes, a well appointed house with turquoise accents.

For more information:
WeeCasa Tiny House Resort
Lyons, Colo

8. Sleep Lightly at a Haunted Hotel

Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo.
The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO which inspired the Stephen King Book “The Shining” PC: Depositphotos

A Victorian mansion stands out in the forefront of Rocky Mountain National Park’s Lumpy Ridge in Estes Park, a gateway town to the park. Seen above the Stanley Hotel is the ominous rock formation called the Twin Owls. But that’s not the spookiest part of the Stanley story. Author Stephen King was inspired by the Stanley Hotel before he wrote The Shining, a tale about an alcoholic winter caretaker at a remote mountain resort. We dare you to to stay in room 217. Read more about Freelan Stanley and his hotel’s haunted history.

For more information:
The Stanley Hotel
(800) 976-1377
333 Wonderview Avenue, Estes Park, CO 80517

9. Hang Your Keys on the Ceiling

While another Estes Park hotel, The Stanley, inspired a book, the Baldpate Inn built in 1917 was named after a book. The author of the mystery novel Seven Keys to Baldpate visited the inn and said it looked just like the lodge in his book, so the name of the real inn was changed. The theme of the novel revolved around seven guests, each with their own key to the inn.

The modern-day Baldpate Inn boosts the world’s largest key collection as a result of their key-giving tradition in honor of the book. Each guest was given a key to keep as their own. After it became too expensive to continue the giveaways, guests started donating their own keys to the inn, often from exotic locations. The collection of over 20,000 hangs in the Key Room.

For more information:
The Baldpate Inn
4900 South Hwy. 7, Estes Park, CO 80517

10. Bed in Fire Tower has 360-degree View

For an unforgettable adventure, stay in a fire lookout tower. While this is not near Rocky Mountain National Park (it’s 75 miles and a 1 hour and 45-minute driveaway), it’s definitely worth considering if you are up for an adventure.

Drive to a 11,000 feet elevation near Evergreen, Colo. then hike 1 mile (2 miles in winter) and climb up the stairs on the outside of an old fire lookout tower to reach a 14-foot-square room with unobstructed views. Oh yeah… there’s no water up there so you have to lug your own drinking water up with you. Need to use the bathroom? Climb across a catwalk and down exterior stairs to a privy that gets rid of the evidence with fire. (It’s called an incinerating toilet.) The good news is that there are comfy beds, a heater, and a kitchen for your use.

For more information:
Squaw Mountain Fire Lookout
Idaho Springs CO 80452

11. Stay in a Hostel Bunkhouse

Colorado Mountain School
Ben Fullerton

Would you swap privacy for inexpensive accommodations? Don’t forget to bring a headlamp and earplugs to the Climber’s Lodge at the Colorado Mountain School located in Estes Park minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park.

It offers 16 single bed spaces (6 are bunkbeds) in three shared rooms. But there are luxuries too, like a full kitchen, WiFi, lounge games and a ping pong table. Having a family reunion or a group retreat? Rent the entire lodge for $1,000/night. Shuttles run to and from its doorstep to the Denver International Airport daily.

For more information:
(720) 387-8944
341 Moraine Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517

12. Immerse Yourself in Mid-Century Modern Style

A-Lodge Lyons boutique lodging
Retro accommodations. Courtesy A-Lodge Lyons

In the heart of the artistic town of Lyons, Colo., you can stay at the newly renovated A-Lodge, which opened in 2020. Just 40 minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park, this hip downtown hotel with mid-century modern furnishings offers a mix of rooms, including a two-bedroom king suite, a queen suite with a kitchenette and a queen kitchenette with bunk bed.

Stroll to Lyons’ charming downtown for a bite at one of its restaurants, including Mojo’s Taqueria, or get picnic supplies at the St. Vrain Market, known for its baked goods and fresh bread.

The lodge also features an outdoor beer garden on the lodge’s east side where you can relax with a drink in the evening.

For more information: