Alta Lakes Observatory; Rustic Mountain Cabin Outside Telluride
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- Minimum stay:Contact owner
- Pets considered:Yes
- Wheel chair accessible:No
Alta Lakes cabin description
Alta Lakes Observatory was hand built in the early 70's by some of the earliest 'settlers' of Telluride's Ski Resort town, Jim and Salli Russell. Constructed of local timber and stone, stained glass windows, a huge fireplace, hot tub, sauna, decks, and an ambience that settles the soul.
It's remote, off the beaten path and not for everyone! ALTA IS VERY REMOTE!
SUMMER TIME: Alta Lakes Observatory is located 13 miles from Telluride, 5 miles off the highway, on a dirt road, accessible by 2 wheel drive vehicle through breathtaking scenery! Wild flowers abound! Great fishing, hiking, mountain biking - they are right out our front door..
WINTER TIME: Alta Lakes Observatory is ajacent to the Telluride ski area and is accessible by snowmobile, snowshoe or skiing from the back country access gate from the Telluride ski area. Snowmobile shuttles of gear and food are available. In the summer it's the perfect venue for small weddings, retreats, or corporate groups (45 people max).
Alta Lakes Observatory is a favorite venue for the locals, Telluride's organizations, clubs and schools - in the summer and winter. Come visit, you won't want to leave!
- Vacation Rental
- Non Smoking Only
- Pets Considered
Bedrooms: 2 Bedrooms, Sleeps 12, Beds for 10-12
Bathrooms: 1.5 Bathrooms
Kitchen & Dining
- Catering Available
- Cooking Utensils
- Linens Provided
- Washing Machine
- Wood Fireplace
- Clothes Dryer
- Satellite / Cable
- DVD Player
- CD Player
Pool & Spa
- Hot Tub
- Deck / Patio
- Outdoor Grill
Location & View
- Mountain View
- Mountain Biking
- Cross Country Skiing
- Wildlife Viewing
- Horseback Riding
- Rock Climbing
ReviewsWrite a review
Grandeur & Elation at 11,000+ Elevation.
Grandeur & Elation at 11,000+ Elevation.
My family and I spent a week at the Alta Lakes Observatory for Christmas 2012. Let me start off by saying this vacation grew out of the imagination of the perfect snow filled mountain Christmas. After searching many options we stumbled upon the Observatory. If I had painted a picture of what I was imagining it would have been an uncanny match with Alta Lakes. An added selling point was the proximity to Telluride, one of Colorado's last "classic ski towns" only being about 15 min away. We were advised that during the winter the 5 mile road to the Observatory is not maintained, so we rented snowmobiles to get to and from our vehicles parked in a small lot at the bottom of the road just off the highway. We met up with the owner Matt who guided us up and helped bring some of our gear. The ride is simple and fun with stunning views the entire way, we even passed an old mining ghost town along the trail. When we arrived to the Observatory the actual experience of witnessing everything in person belittled the impressed feeling from just reading descriptions and seeing photographs. Isolated high up just beneath peaks of mountain ridges, it is a beautifully crafted stone and log cabin standing 3 stories tall, strong as the rock around it. We entered and were greeted with the smell of wood burning in the massive stone fireplace, it being Christmas time there was a 16 ft decorated Christmas tree standing tall in the dining area. Matt gave us a tour and showed us how to operate all the infrastructures of the house. It was immaculately clean with beautiful furniture and top end modern kitchen appliances as well as a wash room with washer/dryer. Radiant heated floors were especially nice in the cold temperatures. The beds were very soft and comfortable with down blankets and fine linen. We were able to get cell service and wi-fi in the Observatory which kept us connected to the world if we chose and there was cable TV and an HD flat screen in the loft room with a high quality surround sound system that we made good use of. Matt had the place well stocked with a shed full of wood to keep the fires roaring which we did continuously. The hot tub is the crown jewel of luxury in the Observatory, warm and deep it sits in a room by itself with one of the best views in the place. The whole aesthetic of the place is unique yet classic and with the many windows peering out to indescribable views both day and night there is no wonder how it got it's name.
- Guest J. Free (United States)
- Date of stay 12/20/12
- Review Submitted 01/08/13
Recommended for: Families with teenagers, pet owners, adventure seekers, romantic getaway, sightseeing.
Wedding Destination of a Lifetime!
Wedding Destination of a Lifetime!
Telluride is a popular destination wedding location. Living here, it was hard for us to decide where to get married. All of the places that appealed to us were "over done" in our minds and we really wanted something not so main stream. If a small, intimate wedding appeals to you and you want a more rustic setting, The Observatory is a perfect choice. There's something magic about this place - perched at the foot of 12 and 13 thousand foot peaks, you don't long for something to look at. Old mining relics surround the cabin and the lake is right at your feet. The Observatory is a perfect place for a wedding. You will have to put some effort in the planning, but Matt will be with you for the entire journey and the end product will certainly be worth it! Thank you Matt for all of your help and commitment in making our wedding be the best that it could possibly be. We appreciate all the hard work that helped make The Observatory the wedding destination of a lifetime! Niki & John
- Guest Niki (Telluride, CO)
- Date of stay 09/22/12
- Review Submitted 10/21/12
Recommended for: Pet owners, romantic getaway, sightseeing.
A Piece of Heaven
A Piece of Heaven
An unforgettable experience. This was my first visit to The Alta Lakes Observatory and certainly will not be my last. I felt as if I was a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but was really just a 30 minute drive to Telluride. The surroundings speak for themselves - a beautiful structure built on a lake at 11,300 feet nestled in the middle of the most majestic mountains you will ever see. The house is unbelievable. My favorite spots are cooking in the chef worthy kitchen, showering in the "spa-like" bathroom and sitting in the corner of the large leather sectional in front of the fireplace. We visited with a few other couples for a day time adventure and a fun dinner party. My husband and I will definitely return for a romantic evening alone and may even throw a bash for his upcoming 40th birthday next summer! Thanks Alta Lakes Observatory for not disappointing!!
- Guest travelgirl (Aspen, CO)
- Date of stay 08/24/12
- Review Submitted 10/09/12
Recommended for: Families with teenagers, pet owners, adventure seekers, girls getaway, romantic getaway, sightseeing.
RATES: 1-6 guests $700/night, 7-10 guests $800/night. 10% discount for 3+ nights $200 cleaning fee per visit Special Events - up to 45 people - contact us for pricing. We offer snowmobile transport of all gear for $100 per round trip! Chef's Tables, Catering and Pantry Stocking available upon request!
Note: Until confirmed, rates are subject to change without notice.
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Year Purchased: 1974
About the owner: In the summer of 1974, the Russells started to build the cabin along with the help of about 25 other young locals. It was given its name 'The Observatory' by the many locals who have stayed there over the years...At 11,300 feet it's so close to the moon and stars! In 2010, Matt Bowling, another long time local, and his two brothers, decided to purchase The Observatory and continue making it available for others to use and enjoy.
Why the Owner Chose Alta Lakes:
There are truly but a few places in Colorado that can offer the beauty and remoteness that The Observatory offers. Lakes, meadows of wildflowers, forests, mushrooming , eagles soaring, wild life exploring...someone summed it up by saying 'Oh! THIS is where God goes on vacation!'
The Unique Benefits at this Cabin:
Adjacent to the Telluride Ski Area, the Observatory is the perfect 'off-piste' back country lodge in the winter. Enjoyed by some of the top extreme skiers from around the world, it is family friendly as well! The Observatory is perfect for the snowmobile, sledding or skiing party! Come to The Observatory and enjoy the great winter wonderland, then relax inside in front of a cozy fireplace!
- Primary: 970-239-0027
- Secondary: 404-226-5186
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The Observatory in the winter - this is a classic photo!
The Observatory in the summer from across the lake...it is peaceful!
The truck (used to haul materials for construction) sits at the entrance.
The newly updated kitchen - fully stocked for easy meal prep.
The sunken fireplace - one of the coolest fireplaces ever built!
The queen in the master - the most wonderful place to spend the night.
The two full beds in the sleeping loft.
The world famous (yes, literally) agate-inlaid hot tub that adjoins the sauna.
The Observatory in summer - this keeps it all in perspective.
How gorgeous is the road up to The Observatory in the Fall?
This British phone box is an eclectic addition to The Observatory.
The dining area comfortably seats 10.
The leather sectional in front of the sunken fireplace.
The queen in the second bedroom. There are also 2 twins in the room.
The updated bath on the second floor - complete with two shower heads.
The unique stained glass windows - one of the many details you will discover.
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This listing was first published here in 2009.
Date last modified - Thursday, May 30, 2013