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Arrowhead Lodge: On Colorado’s trout route

I’m kind of picky about historic sites. If it’s been fully interpreted and restored, yay. But I probably won’t come back. And I won’t even go in if I have to buy a ticket and wait my turn.

I like sites that aren’t sites yet. Or that haven’t been fussed over much. And most of all, I like sites where staff  leaves me alone but then give me immediate attention when I have questions.

Arrowhead Lodge

Arrowhead Lodge, built in the 1930s. Photo sometime before 1970

And so it was that I visited the Arrowhead Lodge, 45 miles up the canyon (Poudre, that is. Colorado’s Trout Route).  The lodge closed in 1984, and it’s a Visitor’s Station for the Forest Service now. It’s a few days before its official season opening, but the staff  said I could look around, and then sent me off.

Prisoners cleaning up grounds.

Prisoners cleaning up grounds.

There are a dozen cabins around back. Most  trashed, but two are restored to their rustic 1950s glory. The doors were unlocked …

"Hopi" cabin

"Hopi" cabin

…so I went in.

Only interpretive fakery: Painted wood or plaster mattress and pillows

Only interpretive fakery: Painted wood or plaster mattress and pillows

And I also hiked through the brush to the old fireplace and the wind power plant.

Lost windmill fed bank of batteries. Meant lights out around 9pm most nights.

Electricity house. Lost windmill fed bank of batteries. Meant lights out around 9pm most nights.

…which anybody would have told me, had I allowed anybody to accompany me, is an excellent way to draw ticks in May.

After my lookaround, I grilled a Forest Service guy about the economic outlook of resort lodges in mid-century Larimer County and the likely activities of anyone who visited there.

In short, it was my ideal perfect historic site visit.  Don’t let the parasites and chain gangs deter you–Recommended.

7 comments to Arrowhead Lodge: On Colorado’s trout route

  • Years ago, we had a meal at Arrowhead Lodge (unless I’m thinking of Mishiwaka — anyway, I know it wasn’t Kinnikkinnik) with my grandparents, who were up from Texas. There was a pump organ there, and Grandma mentioned that she used to play one of those, so they had her demonstrate.

    She was quite a pianist, and she practiced regularly, so she was able to acquit herself quite well. Might have been around 1975. She didn’t play for long, as the work of pumping the pedals was even harder for her at the high altitude.

    Remember the Deerheart Inn? I’m thinking it may have burned down, but then I could be confusing it with Ted’s Place or the Matterhorn.

  • catfc

    The Arrowhead had a pump organ. It’s in some of the old pictures. It was right in the dining room and regularly played by the owner.

    Don’t you wish you’d have taken pictures, now?

  • Lauren

    If you’re ever in Grand Teton National Park, you’ll have to check out the old Bar-B Guest Ranch. Off the beaten path, but well worth exploring. They haven’t started fixing it up yet and I’m not sure they will… but while they last you can check out quite a few of the original buildings including guest cabins, main lodge with dance floor, kitchens, and stables/corral.

    I agree, it’s fun to explore.

  • Sue

    Great that someone has discovered and appreciates the Arrowhead! When I moved to Fort Collins/Walden in about 1975, the Poudre and North Park had numerous lodges and camps, and restaurants up and down the canyon. Sadly, most fell victim to “progress” and the desire to drive the canyon as fast as possible. A couple of other camps now gone were Spencer Heights (last place going up the Poudre Canyon from Fort Collins) and the M-Bar-M Lodge on Cameron Pass (Jackson County side).

    Thanks for the website! Especially liked the basement houses and Quonset hut items — and I have a VHS tape of Geraldo at Debbie Duz Donuts……….

  • Douglas Beard

    Thanks so much to everyone for their contributions. Places, that I have not thought about in years keep popping up. Good times, great memories! The Fort was a great place to grow up!

  • captainbevo

    Stan Case and his family owned arrowhead for years and he also wrote a really interesting book called the poudre-and has stories about the businesses and people up and down the canyon. I know the library has a copy. By the way his daughter is Sandy Case Lundt.

  • Chuck Boyer

    I spent time at Arrowhead lodge in the 60’s and seventies, when the Case family owned it. It was wonderful and I have great memories of the Case girls. Cheryl was my age and Christie and Sandy were younger. I remember playing the games in their game room and helping the girls to select the weekly movie ( Quite a good turnout from the canyon folks) I think the Movie was “she wore a Yellow Ribbon” with John Wayne. I loved every minute I spent there.

    Chuck