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Plan a serene and tranquil family getaway

View from Monarch Mountain Lodge
View from Monarch Mountain Lodge
Karen Winfrey

All family vacations are not alike. There are those that we just feel we have to take to add magic to our children’s lives, and they do, as well as tantalizing us parents. Yet, these are the vacations where you find yourself running around from sunrise until well after sunset; trying to make sure you experience all of the theme parks, water parks, sights, and sounds. Not to mention the pressure of buying the popular and highly expensive souvenirs that the kids must have but will forget about before the month is out. Although these hectic, exciting, and crowded vacations do have their place and serve their purpose for fulfilling our kids dreams, sometimes we have to slow down and have a vacation that is not only fun but relaxing and perhaps even a little rustic.

There are still some hidden treasures in the world, and not too far from where we reside. Monarch Colorado is one of them. This is not only a place for great skiing but a worthy destination year round. Nestled in the beautiful Rocky Mountains in Chaffee County, just outside of Buena Vista Colorado you will find a lovely place with breathtaking views. It is about a 3 hour drive from Denver, Colorado using Highway 285. While visiting opt for the Monarch Mountain Lodge which is quaint, comfortable, and the people are extremely friendly and helpful. The rooms, although not modern, give you that timeless and inviting feeling. The shared balcony is amazing and it is absolutely inspiring to wake up to the gorgeous mountains right outside of your patio door.

The Lodge also has a restaurant – appropriately named Cliffhangers- which serves a variety of fare; from steaks to pasta to buffalo burgers. Naturally the food is served with a smile and just the right amount of hospitable conversation, and need I mention that the scenery is stunning. The kids will love the fact that this lodge has a year round indoor pool, sauna, and game room, along with an outdoor hot tub. But more than that, they will be ecstatic to know that there are various hot springs nearby. Mt. Princeton Hot Springs is a wonderful place to go for fun and relaxation. They have two pools, one with temperatures of up to 105 degrees and another slightly larger pool which includes a section for laps and is a steady 94 degrees. If you still aren’t hot enough you and the kids can go and sweat it out in the ultra misty sauna room. To top off your day at the hot springs you must go for a long hot and steamy soak in Chalk Creek where several small pools enclosed by rocks are heated with the hot mineral water. The chilly creek water runs in and mixes with this as well, making it a comfortable steamy soak. The water temperature does change frequently and these temperatures can easily exceed 105 degrees so watch out. The kiddos will love playing in the sand, looking for different types of rocks, and splashing around.

For the active and adventurous family there are endless hiking options. Be sure to check with the front desk when looking for hiking trails and information before setting off on your quest. The staff at Monarch Mountain Lodge was even friendly enough to drive us up the mountain trail a bit so that we could hike down. Fall is a beautiful time of year to visit as the trees are a bright yellow and orange, the air is brisk, and temperatures are mild. Remember to dress in layers for your hike and wear comfortable hiking shoes. Take a backpack full of necessary supplies such as water, flashlight, tissue, camera, gloves, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, first aid supplies, and snacks. Always be sure to follow the same trail down that you went up, and tailor your hike to fit the ages of your little ones. Well don’t just sit there, start planning for your visit to Monarch; it will be well worth the trip.