Mountain Majesty

Unearth the narrative of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park is undeniably one of, if not the biggest, attractions for Colorado visitors- and for a good reason. It features the beauty of untouched nature, sublime mountain ranges, fantastic rivers and valleys, and majestic wildlife. Rocky Mountain National Park has it all, and we are incredibly lucky to be a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Grand Lake entrance to this magical place.

Officially established under President Woodrow Wilson on January 26, 1915, Rocky Mountain National Park was the 11th national park founded in the United States, and the first one to be designed for the automobile, as opposed to the Railroad system. The 265,461-acre park has most definitely grown in popularity in the last 105 years, as it is now the third most visited national park in the country. In 2019 alone, around 4.7 million tourists visited the Park.

Of those millions of visitors last year, the Grand Lake entrance accounted for only about 25%. The truth is that the western side of the park is kind of a hidden gem. With fewer visitors, you can hike around without being crowded by other outdoor enthusiasts, are more likely to encounter the majestic wildlife, and are able to fully take in the sublimity of the mountains, valleys, and rivers. These are just a few of the reasons that guide, Dave Lively, of Lively Talks & Tours, made the western region of the park his focus.

Lively, a past President of the Grand Lake Area Historical Society, has spent the last 15 years volunteering with Rocky Mountain National Park, conducting a ranger-led history program, and was featured in the PBS documentary, “The Living Dream: 100 Years of Rocky”, as the only tour guide who specializes in the west side of the park. Needless to say, he knows the park well.

The tagline for his company, which specializes in historical talks and tours of the park, is “Shine Light on Hidden Narratives.” This statement truly distills his main focus and passion for unearthing the stories of the area and the people who’ve lived those tales. From the Ute and Arapaho tribes, to the homesteaders and gold miners, to the multitudes of different cultures directly involved in the water-diversion project, Lively endeavors to keep these people’s histories alive. His drive to discover and sustain these histories can be tracked to his familial ties to the homesteaders, who worked the land that would become the Grand Lake entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.

As the only certified tour and interpretive guide in Grand County, Lively’s tours are filled with the true stories of the land and its people, not just in the park, but from the moment you meet up with him, until he drops you back off at Devil’s Thumb Ranch. His tours focus primarily on the Kawuneeche Valley, which is highlighted by the Colorado River surrounded by the “Never Summer” Mountain Range. On one of his tours, you’re sure to catch glimpses of elk, deer, moose, trout, and any number of other flora and fauna that make the park their home.

This summer, we are proud to offer weekly Lively Tours for our lodging guests. Click here for more information about these tours.

(All Activities, Dining, Spa, and Amenities are Reserved for Lodging Guests and Ranches Owners Only)


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