The answer is yes, we are open year round. Our summer customers ask what we do with the cabins in the winter, and our winter customers ask where we go in the summer. Our Venn diagram of customers looks like this:
My math teachers would be proud!
Let’s start with some basic information that covers questions we get all year.
We are located at 10,200′ in elevation. We get about 420″ of snow each winter. We are on top of the Grand Mesa, not in the town of Cedaredge, but that is the closest town and we share a zip code.
All of our cabins have a full kitchen, a bathroom, and different bed situations that can sleep up to 8 people. The most beds a cabin has is 5 and that includes a futon. Each cabin is about 400 square feet. Even if there are more beds in a cabin, and you can technically sleep up to 8, putting more than 4 adults might be tight, especially in the winter. When each person has snow gear that needs to hang and dry, the cabin quickly becomes smaller.
In the kitchen: refrigerator with freezer, stove, oven, microwave, toaster, coffee pot, dishes, silverware, cooking utensils, pots, pans, lids, glasses, coffee mugs, coffee filters, coffee, sugar, and spices. We also stock each cabin with dish soap, dish towels, paper towels, sponge, large bowl, some Tupperware, colander, baking dish, cookie sheet, cutting board, tin foil, and matches. We expect you to be able to just bring your groceries and be able to cook meals easily.
In the bathroom: shower, toilet, sink, toilet paper, tissues, towels, wash clothes, hand towels, conditioning shampoo, body lotion, bath soap, and hand soap.
All of the beds have sheets, blankets, and pillows.
The cabins are pet-friendly. You may bring your pet with you for an additional fee.
Each cabin has a very efficient heater for winter and nights in the summer. The cabins do not have air conditioning, fans, or fireplaces.
The heaters are very easy to use. However, if you set them to 68 – a normal temperature – it will feel like 80! We keep ours set to 60 all winter long.
During the summer, each cabin has a picnic table, charcoal grill, and fire pit. So you can bring firewood and charcoal or you can purchase those items from the office. On the property, we also have two larger fire pits. So if you are hosting an event, you can gather around one of these fire pits instead of the smaller ones at each cabin. We also have a community pavilion with more picnic tables and a gas grill. We provide propane for the grill. During the winter, we shovel out the fire pit next to the community pavilion. So you can use the gas grill and the fire pit all winter long.
This information hopefully helps get rid of some of the questions like, “do you have running water?” and, “should I bring blankets?” Well, you can bring blankets if you want…
Jeff & Jessica
Super short story: Jeff is originally from Milwaukee, and I am from outside Philadelphia. We met in Vail in 2010. Then Jeff visited the Grand Mesa and stayed Thunder Mountain Lodge in 2011 & 2012 when he was working for the VIP Ski-doo demo tour. After the restaurant burned down, Jeff was able to buy the lodge in 2014. We opened for business in May 2015. Then we got married at the lodge in September 2015, and we had all of our friends and family visit to see what we were up to.
The lodge with the restaurant burned down in April of 2012. We do not have plans to rebuild or open a restaurant at this time. We sell espresso and hot cocoa in the office.
The previous owner had the fire, and we were able to buy the cabins and the business at an affordable price. If the restaurant had not burned down, we would not be the owners. So yes, it is sad that the building burned down, but that event created an opportunity.
The lodge changed names in 2006 from Spruce Lodge to Thunder Mountain Lodge. We still get many phone calls for Spruce Lodge. If you haven’t stayed here since it was named Spruce Lodge, we have made many improvements! Please come check it out!
Are there any nearby restaurants?
Yes. Just down the road, a half a mile is Alexander Lake Lodge. They have a bar and restaurant. Then about 2 miles away, on Highway 65, Grand Mesa Lodge opened a bar and restaurant. You can also always drive to Cedaredge, a 20-25 minute drive, where there a multiple restaurant options. Coming Spring 2020, in the old Frost RV location is a new restaurant being built.
Where should I stop on my drive to pick up groceries?
If you are coming from I-70 Grand Junction area, I would stop in Grand Junction. We are an hour drive from Grand Junction.
If you are coming from I-70 and driving through Glenwood Canyon, I would stop in the next town, New Castle. There is a very easily accessible City Market right off of the exit.
If you are coming through Delta, I would stop in either Delta or Cedaredge.
Is there cell phone coverage at your lodge?
Do you have WiFi?
Yes. It works best the closer you are to the office. Therefore, cabins 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 get decent WiFi. Cabins 1, 2, 3, 4, and 10 not so much.
Do you have an off season rate?
Yes. During the months of October – Mid December and again Mid March – Mid May, we offer an off season rate. It is applied at check out when you book online. After a long winter, this is a great time for people to come and snowmobile in spring conditions. Then in the fall this is a great opportunity for hunters to come and stay for a week trying to get their elk!
Where can we fish?
All of the lakes are stocked. So anywhere! You can buy bait in Cedaredge at the grocery store or at Grand Mesa Lodge. They also sell lures and other fishing equipment. We do not sell any fishing gear at our lodge. There are some lakes that have posted signs about using lures only. If there are no signs, you can use bait.
How many lakes are on the Grand Mesa?
More than 300!
Can we swim in the lakes?
Yes….. but usually the water temperature is usually quite cold. You might not last long.
Do I need a fishing license? Where can I purchase one?
If you are 16 or older, yes you need a fishing license. I suggest purchasing one before you get here. Any Walmart or Sporting Goods stores should sell them. You can also get one online at the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website. If you get one online, make sure to take a screenshot of it to have it with you while you are here fishing.
What is the best hike on the Mesa?
What is an easy hike from the cabins at Thunder Mountain Lodge?
You can walk around Deep Ward Lake and Alexander Lake right from our cabins. There is also a short hike behind the cabins to the edge of Hotel Twin Lake and Arch Slough. Then a split off from the trail would take you back to the Ward Camp Ground. Here is a digital copy of the map you can get in our office.
What else is there to do on the Grand Mesa?
We rent canoes, a rowboat, inflatable kayaks, stand up paddle boards, a hydrobike, and a peddle boat. You could rent one or a few boats and have fun on the lakes! Grand Mesa Adventures (now Altitude Outdoor Adventures) offers ATV and fishing tours. There are mountain bike trails, downhill mountain biking at Powderhorn, weekly events at Powderhorn, weekly nature lectures at the visitor’s center, and there is always a chance to see some wildlife. We have mule deer, bears, elk, moose, porcupines, fox, coyotes, chipmunks, bald eagles, golden eagles, boreal owls, and more! Stargazing is amazing on the Grand Mesa. Since there are fewer lights and fewer cities, light pollution is very low, and the stars are extremely visible.
Some people come to the Mesa just to forage for mushrooms. We have porcini mushrooms on the hiking trail behind the cabins.
In the summer, do not miss out on eating fresh cherries, apricots, peaches, and apples from the surrounding orchards! I live all year long for peach season! I never knew what a peach really was until moving here.
Also, we are not far from the town of Palisade, you can check out some wineries! Or if you are into mountain biking, they are building the Palisade Plunge – a downhill mountain bike trail that leaves the Grand Mesa and ends up 5000′ lower in the town of Palisade!
Are there trails for ATVs, side by sides, dirt bikes, and/or 4×4?
Yes. The visitor’s center sells a large paper map of all the OHV trails. They also have a general map that also marks the OHV trails. I would suggest getting one of the maps at the visitor’s center. The maps online are difficult to navigate, but if you would like to try, check them out here.
Click here to go to a good map of the Grand Mesa, where you can zoom in and see many of the different trails.
Can I ride my OHV from the cabin to the trails, or do I have to trailer?
This one is tricky to answer. Technically, you are supposed to trailer the 2/10s of a mile to where OHV is permitted on the road. The “OHV allowed” sign is literally 2/10s of a mile from our driveway, and it seems very arbitrarily placed. It is in the middle of a paved road with no distinguishing characteristics of why it is placed there. You cannot park at the sign and continue riding. So we tell people to just use caution when driving that 2/10s of a mile. No one has ever gotten in trouble for driving there that we know of, but there is always a chance you could be the first. However, if you want to access some of the trails on the other side of the Mesa, it is best to trailer over to them. There are some great, family friendly, easy cruising trails out by Land’s End.
When are there fewer mosquitoes?
During June, August, & September the mosquitoes are not as present. We sell bug spray at the lodge!
Do you sell ice?
No. Each cabin has a full size refrigerator with freezer and two ice cube trays, so you can make ice!
Do people hunt on the Grand Mesa?
Yes! We get hunters from all over who come up to the Mesa to hunt elk, bear, deer, moose, and mountain lions. We are located in unit 52, but we are on the border of the unit so we are very close to units 411, 41, and 421. Colorado elk hunting is great on the Grand Mesa! You can stay in a cabin and shower each day to make sure that your scent is not scaring the elk away!
Can I drive to your lodge in the winter?
Yes. CDOT does a great job plowing our road, and we plow our parking lot.
Is there ample room for my large trailer?
Yes. You may not be able to park directly next to your cabin, but you will be able to park close to your cabin.
Do I need 4×4 to drive to your lodge?
No. For 3 winters, I drove a 2 wheel drive Honda Fit with snow tires and made it up and down the mountain all the time. Without snow tires, it may be tricky and difficult. I highly recommend snow tires.
The drive up Highway 65 by Skyway Point is a little scary in the winter. If you don’t like this, just drive up through Cedaredge.
Can I access the snowmobile trails from my cabin?
Yes. You can drive your truck right up to the cabin, unload, then snowmobile from the property to the trails. No need to load up on a trailer each day.
Do you rent snowmobiles?
Yes! Check out the information here on our website. We have guided tours, unguided rentals, and a private guide service.
What is the snowmobile terrain like?
There are 800 square miles of snowmobile terrain. There are open meadows, tree riding, and steep hills and creeks. There is really something for everyone. You can stay on the 100+ miles of groomed trails, or you could leave from the cabin and never use the trail. We generally use the trails to access some riding terrain away from the cabins, but we don’t need to.
Can I cross country ski from the cabins?
The cross country trails are across the street from the cabins. I wouldn’t recommend skiing across the pavement, but the trails are very close. These trails are on the Ward system, and there are more trails if you want to drive about 5-10 minutes down the road to the County Line trail system or the Skyway trail system. The Grand Mesa Nordic Council now has free Avenza maps which you can download onto your smartphone and it will come up with your location on top of the ski trails. I can help you download the free Avenza app and the free maps from GMNC in our office if you need help.