Mellow Moon Lodge
Designed for people here to play — and their pups — San Luis Valley's Mellow Moon Lodge retains the angular, mod coolness of its 1940s origin while offering them the accommodations they crave after they call it a day on the trails.
Just on the outskirts of up-and-hipstering Del Norte, minutes from the Rio Grande, the Continental Divide Trail and Wolf Creek Ski Area, a filmmaker and designer made their side hustle one of the chillest places to lay your head in the region. Drawing on frustrations experienced during a stint of #vanlife, they wanted to create a place where folks traveling with dogs and plenty of outdoor gear would feel welcome and have their needs met — a yearning for a clean, hot shower, comfortable bed and excellent mug of coffee, to start.
In the company of Bean the Yorkie and Luna the three-legged trail dog, they embarked on true adventures in lodging: Taking a motor lodge that had sat abandoned for 20 years — complete with grass growing out of the floor and stray cats living inside — and bringing to life a glorious gathering place for anyone riding through. And, lucky for you, they’re currently expanding with five more rooms.
What makes it special?
Each room was designed to absorb adventurous travelers and all their accoutrements — bike, skis, snowboards and other gear can be dragged right on in. The minimal, modern decor is meant to leave room for those things and clean up easy before the next rider arrives. If you need a little air, two heated patios provide an idyllic spot to relax and commune with like-minded travelers.
The most “Colorado” thing about this place
Mellow Moon is an eco-chic experience at a time when being eco is very chic! The property is free, of course, from single-use plastics and harsh chemicals. All the furniture and decor were crafted from durable and sustainable woods; custom pieces the owners made themselves; or upcycled, modernized items left behind from the property’s previous life (before the cats moved in). The truly luxurious organic bedding is hand-dyed with plant-based inks to extend its life; pure white sheets would not have lasted long here! These unique sheet sets, which have garnered quite a bit of attention, will soon be available for purchase at the lodge — the perfect reminder of a cozy stay.
Most unexpected amenity
An on-site bike shop might not be expected, but it is definitely perfectly at home here. With proximity to the Continental Divide Trail and the Old Spanish Trail — a national historic site and trade route where you can still ride the wagon ruts — Sendero Bikes sells, rents and repairs mountain bikes, fat bikes and cruisers, ensuring visitors can ride in whatever style they’re accustomed to during their stay.
Our favorite traveler reviews
“The Mellow Moon is a weary traveler's dream. Just because people like to hike and bike and be active does not mean that they don't appreciate and enjoy good design and high-quality amenities. Thoughtful touches everywhere, fantastic room-service options for the health minded, good coffee, great location close to nature, and really comfy beds. I enjoyed great sleep and the hosts were helpful with local tips. I will definitely be back, and you should not skip on this place!” — Lauren, AirB&B
Things to see & do nearby
Mellow Moon Lodge is conveniently located on the world-class Del Norte trail system, five minutes from Rio Grande River fishing, 20 minutes from excellent rock climbing at Penitente Canyon, 30 minutes from Wolf Creek Ski Area and an hour from the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.
Head 15 minutes west to the town of South Fork for epic fishing, hiking, ATVing and snowmobiling, and 25 minutes farther to Creede’s historic downtown, the Silver Thread scenic and historic byway and geologic marvels.
In town, Three Barrel Brewing Company is the top place to wet a whistle, and Boogie’s and Colorado Grille & Tap House will refuel you for the next ride. The Rio Grande County Museum and Cultural Center gives a peek into the history of this special area of Colorado, where Native Americans, fur trappers, gold seekers, farmers, ranchers and settlers in covered wagons converged.
Photos courtesy of Mellow Moon Lodge