Near the Grand Lake Entrance over on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park lies the Holzworth Historic Site, containing the remains of an early 1900s dude ranch that operated until the early 1970s.
Moving into the Kawuneeche valley at the foot of the Never Summer Mountains with his family in 1917, German immigrant John Holzwarth Sr. built a homestead and started a cattle ranch along the banks of Colorado River. The pristine location provided great fishing and hunting, just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park. It attracted quite a few guests from the beginning, leading the family to open the Holzwarth Trout Lodge.
Between 1919 and 1945, as more and more visitors discovered the Holzwarth site, the family decided to develop a dude ranch on the other side of the river. The Never Summer Ranch, as it was later known, offered guests the opportunity to stay in rustic cabins or at a lodge, while enjoying home-cooked meals prepared by Sophia Holzwarth. The site also featured some of the best fishing, hunting, and horseback riding in the area.
The Holzwarths sold the property to the Nature Conservancy in 1974, to preserve it for the enjoyment of future generations, and the following year ownership was transferred to Rocky Mountain National Park.
All of the buildings for the Never Summer Ranch were removed to return the site to its natural state; however, all of the original buildings of the Trout Lodge were retained, restored, and stand today as they did in the 1920s.
Know Before You Go
The site is open year-round, but there is no access to the inside of the buildings during the winter. The trail is about 1/2 mile of easy walking, and starts just 7 miles north of the Grand Lake Entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.