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.
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.
There are a dozen cabins around back. Most trashed, but two are restored to their rustic 1950s glory. The doors were unlocked …
…so I went in.
And I also hiked through the brush to the old fireplace and the wind power plant.
…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.
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.
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?
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.
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……….
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!
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.
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.
I worked with the Case family for the last years Arrowhead Lodge was open. Fond memories of peeling all the potatoes, cutting up chickens, baking all the pies for the famous Sunday dinners after church at the Poudre Chapel…. we had 3 or 4 seatings in the dining room. Special guests prompted a fish fry and there were plenty of pranks on the regulars… Lola and Stan were the best and we always looked forward to weekends when Sandy and Jack and MO would be there for plenty of fun! Those were good days! I’ve been by the Lodge now that it isn’t part of the Case family…. it is just not the same….. But in my memory, it will always be a special place with a special place in Poudre Canon history….
I worked as a camp counselor in 1973 and christie was an outreach worker for migrant children. she would send groups of kids each week to the camp where i worked I went to the lodge with her a couple of times and met her family. can anyone tell me what became of my dear friend christie? e mail me at address below if you know her and tell her i said hi. She knew me as “chemo”
my e mail address is
I think I spent nearly every summer there as I grew up. My father’s family had spent vacations there for many many years. I remember the Case family well. I didn’t really appreciate going there when I was a kid, I was bored to death. But let me tell you, I wish I could stay there today! We had to tote our water and wood for the fire and go out back to the outhouse to use the facilities (as such as they were). Lights were hanging in the middle of the room and just a lightbulb on a wire. It was rustic but now when I look back, it as wonderful! We are traveling that direction next week and I am praying that the fires out there left my old vacation spot alone. I hope it is there forever.
reading through the sections above i get reminded that the lodge where i worked and cristina as i knew her was the outreach worker was west over the poudre canyon and was the m-m lodge owned by rex shelley: anybody know if it is “HISTORY”
Another story of mine about the poudre canyon is that the summer of 1973 I spent all of june and part of july there at the m-m lodge and when i decided to come home to southern colorado on my 1962 chevy (blue) 2-door hardtop, now a highly sought out classic; the transmission on it gave and i left it on the side of the road in hopes that i could come back and get it within the next week or so. well as it was , i was not able to come and retrieve it so i essentially had to abandon it, I dont know what became of it, i have a picture of it. Actually someone took a picture of me and christina leaning on it. iF ANYONE READS THIS BLOG AND HAS ANY INFORMATION OR REMEMBERS SOMETHING TO THE EFFECT IT WOULD BE INTERESTING TO SEE WHAT BECAME OF MY BEAUTIFULO 1962 CHEV. IMPALA. INCLUDING SOME OF MY BELONGINGS.
I have a book titled ” THE HISTORY OF ARROWHEAD LODGE” written by Elyse D Bliss and would be glad to give to someone interested in the lodge. It was published in 1991 by Poudre Profile Publishing Company of Kinikinik Ranch, Bellvue, Colorado. Email:
I would be delighted to have it if you still have it. Please contact me and we can work out a deal of some kind.