Moonlight on the Old Holzwarth Trout Lodge

February 15, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

The enactment of prohibition in Colorado In 1916 forced John Holzwarth Sr., then a Denver saloon keeper, to start over as a subsistence rancher. His new homestead, 8 miles north of Grand Lake, was established in 1917. The ranch never materialized but with the completion of the Fall River Road over the Continental Divide in 1920, John joined other valley residents in serving the increasing numbers of mountain travelers. Thus the Holzwarth's Trout Lodge was born.

Big Dipper over the Mama CabinBig Dipper over the Mama Cabin
The Trout Lodge lasted for 10 years before the ranch was converted to a dude ranch that lasted for 4 decades. In 1973, John Holzwarth Jr. sold the property to the Nature Conservancy, which then transferred the property to Rocky Mountain National Park. The Never Summer Ranch buildings near Trail Ridge Road were subsequently removed in order to return the site to its natural state. The buildings at the Holzwarth Trout Lodge complex, however, were retained as a representation of early dude ranching in the Rockies.

Guest CabinsGuest Cabins

Restored to its 1920 status, you can now see what guests paid two dollars a day or eleven dollars a week for room and board on the American Plan (2 meals a day). Sophie (Mama) Holzwarth added to the atmosphere by preparing scrumptious home-cooked meals, serving local trout, deer and grouse, and supplementing these with ranch-produced chickens, eggs and milk. All this was prepared in the kitchen of the first homestead cabin, the "Mama" Cabin. It was western dude ranching, as it originally existed: plain and primitive, but delightful.

Mama CabinMama Cabin

Although the site is open year-round, there's no access to the interior of the buildings in the winter. The buildings are usually open for tours from about mid-June through Labor Day.

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Please enjoy these photos of the site, taken on a half-moon night under the January sky:


Empty Seat, Starry SkyEmpty Seat, Starry Sky Twin ShadowsTwin Shadows



In the Drift, Under the StarsIn the Drift, Under the Stars


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