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Your guide to Red Feather Lakes
Welcome to Red Feather Lakes
This rustic mountain town nestled in the sprawling Roosevelt National Forest was named for Cherokee Chief Redfeather, who apparently was drawn to these stunning mountain lakes by a higher power. By the 1920s developers had pinpointed Red Feather Lakes as a picturesque mountain retreat and created lodging areas and leisure activities. The place lured vacationers, and still does, but it has remained an under-the-radar gem amongst Colorado’s mountain towns.
Red Feather Lakes is a decidedly homey place with a single post office, a few well-stocked stores, and hearty diners enrobed in the majestic acreage of the forest and perched near the wild and scenic Cache La Poudre River, which winds through steep canyons and past impressive rock formations. During the summer visitors hike in the surrounding wilderness, go boating and fishing in alpine lakes, set out on whitewater rafting trips, and cozy up in their cabin at night. In the winter there’s cross-country skiing and tubing at the local ski resort. After long days exploring the outdoors, you can soak in the small-town atmosphere, which includes Elf Lane — a stretch of road that residents have decorated with an army of gnome figurines.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Red Feather Lakes?
Mild alpine summers, numerous lakes, verdant forests, and a lively river mean summer is high season in Red Feather Lakes. Visitors flock to the town during the hottest months for hiking, fishing, whitewater river rafting, and horseback riding. Summer thunderstorms are common, so plan ahead for possible cloudbursts. The remaining seasons are sedate, and offer opportunities for a true vacation idyll away from big crowds. In the winter, the place is transformed by snowfall, and there are plenty of opportunities for cold weather recreation, such as snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.
What are the top things to do in Red Feather Lakes?
Robinson Homestead Cabin Museum
Explore the rugged day-to-day life of the family who built this little log cabin in the 1880s. The structure, restored by the local historical society, includes the original details such as the floors and doors, and is decorated as it would have been when it was occupied, with a wood-fired stove, oil lamps, and an antique sewing machine.
The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya
Located at the Shambhala Mountain Center, a Zen retreat about a 20-minute drive from town, is one of the most remarkable examples of Buddhist architecture in the United States. This ornate 108-foot-tall stupa — a spherical structure built for meditation — took 13 years to construct. Capped with a golden spire, it’s an impressive site to behold.
Roosevelt National Forest
Essentially the backyard of Red Feather Lakes, this expansive 800,000-acre wilderness is home to fragrant stands of pines, aspens, and even willows. Owls, bluebirds, and magpies are just a few of its winged residents, and jackrabbits, bighorn sheep, and bobcats roam the forest. Outdoor recreation opportunities abound, as well as stunning vistas, some best viewed from the many scenic roads that crisscross the park.