About the Ponderosa Lodge

A part of Estes Park since the mid-50′s, the new Ponderosa Lodge was built in 1982 after the waters of the Lawn Lake flood completely destroyed the original buildings. Today the Ponderosa offers warm, individually decorated rooms, lots of summer flowers, and the cooling breezes of the Ponderosa pines for which the lodge is named.

In the winter, the Ponderosa offers a warm respite after a day exploring Rocky Mountain National Park on foot, on snowshoes or on cross country skis. Only an hour’s drive from Eldora Mountain ski area, the Ponderosa Lodge and the town of Estes Park serve as home base for downhill, telemark and cross country skiers. Throughout the winter, the Ponderosa is the perfect place for a romantic weekend, or just a quiet get-away from the Denver metropolitan area.


Jim bought the lodge in 1991 and continues as president of Ponderosa Lodge-Estes, Inc.

Originally a midwesterner (Northeast Nebraska), he obtained two degrees from what is now the University of Northern Colorado, and an advanced degree from the University of Illinois and has served as a professor of Special Education on the faculties of the University of Kentucky and Penn State University. While a student at Greeley in the late ’50s, he assisted in building a filling station in Estes Park. Later, as a teacher at the college’s demonstration school he visited here often. When it came time to leave higher education behind, this was one of the first places he considered. No longer heavily involved in the daily operation, he’s usually around somewhere. Staff can always track him down if you’d like information on Estes Park that a long time resident can provide.

He is currently involved in the development of a co-housing project (Mary’s Meadow Development) on the south west side of town. Interested in moving to Estes Park? He can fill you in on the highs and lows of a life in Estes.

Shadow – Half Bobcat, Half Cat

The boss of us all. Or, the queen of the property. She’s a left behind, a stray a former manager brought to the property and left when she moved away. Her age is unknown, estimated to be about 14, and her ancestry is unknown as well. According to a local vet, she’s part bobcat. You can see some of the features, a ruff around her neck and tufted ears. She is happiest in the summer when there are lots of guests around. She loves to be petted, at least her head. But, keep an eye out, as she occasionally is a little grumpy and lets you know when she doesn’t want to be bothered. Check out the winter-summer photos in the lobby, When her winter hair growth is zipped off at the groomers, her 6 inch girth shrinks to about 2 inches (or in other words, in the winter she’s about 2 inches of cat and 4 inches of hair).