Come summer, there are few better mountain retreats than Taylor River Lodge, situated on the banks of one of central Colorado’s most fabled trout streams.
Everything about the place, owned and operated by Eleven Experience, is over-the-top in the most laid-back way: from the main lodge’s custom-built bar, with handmade furniture and old framed photographs of the area, to six wood cabins, each named after a trout fly. But the accommodations are not the reason to visit—or at least not the only reason.
After you book, one of Eleven’s “experience managers” will reach out to set up your activities for the trip, whether that’s rafting the Gunnison River, mountain biking Colorado’s famous 401 Trail, riding around downtown Crested Butte on a cruiser bike for the afternoon, or fishing the Taylor River for trophy-size rainbows while the kids go for a horseback ride. Eleven handles it all and has some of the West’s best, friendliest guides on staff, who’ll hang with you like some old college buddy (if that’s what you want).
At night, Eleven’s team of chefs create curated meals—like cast-iron chicken from the lodge’s barbecue pit—that seem more appropriate for a bow-tie affair at the Four Seasons than flip-flops on the back patio.
But that’s the point here: an experience that’s an 11 on a 10-point scale—thus the company’s name. After staying with them, you’ll soon realize, as we did, that they might be selling themselves short.