02 Oct Experience Cloud Camp: The Broadmoor’s Romantic, Rustic Sky High Getaway
Sitting pretty at 9,000 feet atop Cheyenne Mountain, some 3,000 feet above The Broadmoor Resort, Cloud Camp is the five-star resort’s Wilderness Experience. And what an experience it is: starting with the decision on how to reach the lodge. You can go by foot (the hike takes around three hours and begins at The Will Roger’s Shrine of the Sun), by Cadillac Escalade (which takes about 30 minutes) or by a combination of car and mule (the mule ride takes about an hour). I chose this last option, and rode into the camp on a mule retired from the Grand Canyon. It was a smooth and beautiful ride on a road built by Broadmoor founder, successful businessman and philanthropist Spencer Penrose, who also built Cloud Camp’s original lodge to entertain his friends in the turn of the 20th-century.
Today the 8,500-square-foot main lodge at Cloud Camp is built on the same site as the original building, and boasts hand-hewn beams and local stone fireplaces reminiscent of the timber and stone lodges of the old American West in the early 1900s. I could have spent hours looking at the walls, which are covered in authentic memorabilia and some really epic paintings from another prominent Colorado philanthropist, Phil Anshutz’s, personal Western collection, which is the largest in the world. The costume worn by Kevin Costner in the 1990 movie “Dances with Wolves” is also on display here.
You’ll also eat meals in the main lodge. Although you can choose to dine separately, most guests choose the family style option and sit with others at the communal dining table that can accommodate up to 32 people. It’s a great way to actually interact and meet other guests for a set period of time, and during my stay TJ and I had some enlightening conversations with people from around the world. I recommend at least doing this for one meal, but chances are you will want to each night. Dinner consists of four courses and a share platter for the table. For the main course, you’ll have three protein options to choose from, and everything I tasted from fried chicken to scallops, were perfectly cooked. The desserts were also delicious with the grandma’s chocolate cake and cherry bread pudding being my favorites. There is also a wonderful wrap-around deck off the lodge for relaxing before or after meals.
For sleeping, you can choose from one of the six rooms in the lodge (the more affordable option) or splurge on one of the 11 one or two bedroom cabins, which have an even more private and romantic vibe. For the ultimate experience, we choose the Firetower Suite cabin, which is honestly one of the most exclusive sleeps in Colorado. The two-story, one-bedroom cabin was built on the foundation of a building once used as a forest fire watchtower, and to get to your room you must climb 130+ steps to the top. But boy is it worth it. The views are absolutely stunning and there is even a hot-tub made for two.
During the day you can choose from a variety of activities including cooking class, where you’ll learn to make one of the plates for dinner later that evening. Other choices include a ranger led hikes in the Pike National Forest, archery classes or just relaxing and soaking in the whiskey barrel hot tubs. And should you get tired of “roughing it,” you also can catch a ride down the mountain to The Broadmoor to make use of all the five-star, five-diamond resort’s amenities from top notch golf to luxe spa treatments.
Overall, Cloud Camp was a stimulating, one-of-a-kind experience that was romantic but also communal. I loved being able to feel completely alone with my husband when we were in our cabin, but we both enjoyed sharing a portion of our evenings with the other guests, both at dinner and then after, while we sat around the campfire, roasting s’mores, telling stories and checking out the star-filled night sky.