When Jeff and I vacation in the beautiful outdoors, we almost always look for a private cabin. I rarely camp anymore (I paid my dues my entire childhood), and we try to avoid crowded, touristy, hotels and lodges. We simply prefer a scenic private cabin or condo — where we can cook our own meals (saves a ton of money, especially with kids), and where we can curl up on a balcony with a cocktail after a long day of hiking to watch the sunset and the nighttime stars.
We set aside a week for Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) when we vacationed in Colorado for our wedding anniversary last August, and once we locked in dates, I immediately started scouring both VRBO and HomeAway for private cabins — we’ve used both sites several times, and have always had a great experience. I wanted a cozy non-smoking cabin for two, with a view, with a full kitchen and a grill, close to the national park, not in a tourist trap, and at a good price. Not asking for much, right? We immediately dismissed the more popular east side of the park with super crowded Estes Park, settling on the far less crowded Grand Lake area.
Although a number of properties met our criteria, I was immediately drawn to the listing for the super adorable Moose Cabin — especially due to all of the photos they include (I don’t understand vacation property listings that fail to include a lot of photos), and all of the great reviews posted from previous guests. I sent inquiries off to a good dozen cabins, but the immediate, detailed, polite response back from Moose Cabin owner Angie pretty much sealed the deal for us. She stayed in constant contact with us between the point of inquiry, booking, and check-in, and made herself available by phone and email when needed through the end of our stay — without being bothersome or intrusive.
The cabin’s address is in beautiful quaint storybook-like Grand Lake (more photos and posts later), but it’s actually located off nearby smaller Shadow Mountain Lake (fed by the headwaters of the Colorado River; see our hike write-up), and is just 10 to 15 minutes away from the west entrance to RMNP. While there are neighboring cabins (including next door Star Cabin, also owned by the same couple), the cabin sits on a little plot of land that makes you feel alone. It is an adorable two-story moose-themed cabin with a nice big deck that includes a good size table and chairs, a gas grill, and a spectacular view of Shadow Mountain Lake set against the mountains — a wonderful spot to sip coffee and watch the sunrise, or an evening cocktail to watch the sunset as well as the evening stars (we got to watch a meteor shower!). Jeff and I enjoyed every single morning and evening out on the deck.
Moose Cabin was incredibly clean (my top criteria), well furnished, and well equipped. It can accommodate up to 4 people, with a positively adorable downstairs bedroom outfitted with twin-size bunk beds, located right across from the single bathroom (includes a shower & tub combo). The kitchen includes a full-sized fridge, stove with oven, microwave, double sink, coffee pot, and even a crockpot — nearby Grandby has full grocery stores, Grand Lake has a tiny market. Also downstairs is a dining/family room that includes a rustic picnic table with benches, TV with cable, a comfy leather couch, and comfy leather chair. A spiral staircase takes you up to the adorable master bedroom in the loft. The cabin includes wifi, but no washer or dryer (a small sacrifice).
A guestbook is kept on the nook between the kitchen and dining area. Be sure to spend time perusing it, and definitely take the time to add to it. It’s packed with really cool observations and tips (including favorite hikes, drives, and outings) from previous guests — including wildlife sightings on the property. Make particular note of the moose sightings and the bear sightings! While the owners plead with guests not to encourage the bears (and include instructions on how best to bear-proof the trash), we were thrilled to hear bears trying to get into the neighborhood trashcans every night, and even more thrilled to see them outside our bedroom window in the middle of the night, trying to get into our [properly secured] trashcans.
At $825 for a week’s stay (plus 5.7% tax and a $75 cleaning fee), this cabin was a steal for the location, comfort, service, and views it provides. We even scored with next door neighbors, meeting a fabulous fun friendly couple (from Kansas City) in the Star Cabin, with whom we still keep in touch on Facebook. If Jeff and I were the type of couple that visited the same spot again for vacation (there’s just too many places on our bucket list), we would stay at Moose Cabin again in a heartbeat. We highly recommend it to anyone visiting beautiful spectacular Rocky Mountain National Park.
The only issue we want to point out is the spiral staircase. While cute, its steep narrow stairs might be difficult for some to go up and down repeatedly — my dad’s bad knees and my mom’s balance come to mind. It was a bit challenging to lug all of our suitcases up the staircase (that’s what husbands are for), and navigating it in the dark to use the restroom in the middle of the night took some getting used to at first. But that’s the only less than ideal part about the entire cabin. If just two people are staying, I recommend leaving your luggage in the downstairs bunk room, and using that bedroom as a changing room. It’s right across from the bathroom, and easier than lugging the suitcases upstairs.
Get more info about the cabin, and gorgeous photos at: