Expansive Ski Lodge Overlooking the San Isabel National Forest
Surrounded by the San Isabel National Forest, Monarch Mountain Lodge stands in the heart of central Colorado's wilderness. The hotel—whose whitewashed exterior with exposed wooden beams subtly evokes a Bavarian chateau—is perfectly situated for exploring the rugged landscape. Outdoor enthusiasts flock here year-round for fishing, hiking, rafting, and rock-climbing trips.
Each of the spacious standard rooms is simply furnished. Some have rustic quilts and nature prints on the walls, and others feature floral prints and blond-wood furniture. Windows look out on the pines and maples of the surrounding forest, which seems to stretch endlessly in every direction. Downstairs in Cliffhanger's Restaurant & Lounge, you can sip cocktails or have a casual dinner amid huge windows overlooking the mountains. Wander outside to the wraparound deck for a better look.
Monarch, Colorado: Rural Town Close to Hiking, Biking, and Ski Trails
You won't find Monarch on most maps. The central Colorado town occupies a largely uninhabited spot between the San Isabel and Rio Grande National Forests. The mountainous surroundings are spectacularly beautiful and draw in visitors all year for hiking, whitewater rafting, skiing, and rock climbing. Monarch Mountain Lodge lies 5 miles from the popular Monarch Crest Trail Head bike trail and 3 miles from the Colorado Trail, which winds 500 miles through the Colorado Rockies.
When not exploring the thousands of acres of national forests, you can head over to the town of Salida, where restaurants and quaint antique stores provide daytrip distractions. A popular destination is the Salida Hot Springs Pool, an indoor hot springs featuring fresh water siphoned from an underground spring in the Rocky Mountains.