Tales of hauntings abound in Grand Lake’s historic Rapids Lodge | SteamboatToday.com
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Tales of hauntings abound in Grand Lake’s historic Rapids Lodge

On gray, dreary days, as the North Inlet Creek rushes by the Rapids Lodge, visitors can imagine the spirits of Grand Lake's past.
Meg Soyars/Sky-Hi News

Haunted houses abound in Grand County over Halloween, but sometimes the frights aren’t fictional. Grand’s history includes tall tales and paranormal encounters, especially in Grand Lake. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Grand Lake was beautiful yet isolated, calling the hardiest pioneers to settle there. Death and danger marked the early days. The historic Rapids Lodge, one of Grand Lake’s oldest hotels, may hold a paranormal past in its creaking floorboards and long halls.

“It’s had over 30 owners in its colorful history, which included gambling, prostitution and bootleg liquor,” said Brook Mark of the Grand Lake Historical Society. “Perhaps this notorious past explains the frequent ghost sightings here.”

It’s rumored that the ghost of an old woman floats through the halls. During her life, her husband unexpectedly disappeared. Thankfully, the old woman is reported to be more of a harmless specter than a terror. She is said to move and hide objects or open and close doors to make her presence known. Some hotel guests have said they’ve seen her husband as well.



If you’re not scared off by specters, the Rapids Lodge is worth a visit, especially for history buffs. The Lodge has been a home for some of Grand Lake’s most colorful characters.  

John Lapsley Ish built the lodge beside North Inlet Creek in 1915. Thanks to a nearby water-powered generator, it was the first hotel in the area to have running water, electricity and heat.



Ish and his family embodied the pioneer spirit. He traveled to Colorado in a covered wagon as a youngster and eventually worked as a mail carrier, traveling through mountainous terrain and brutal winters to deliver goods. He and his family homesteaded before opening the Rapids Lodge.

In the 1950s, the hotel hosted both a brothel and a casino. When law enforcement arrived, an emergency buzzer would alert guests, who could escape out the backdoors without detection.

Today, the lodge still receives guests, although illegal activities no longer abound. Guests stay in rooms with vintage decor that transport them them back to the 1950s, and enjoy views of North Inlet Creek, which flows nearby. Those who may be too scared to spend the night with possible specters can still eat at Rapids Restaurant, which is open year-round.


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