Here’s a cool bit of history: This easy 4.4 mile hike, which skirts the lakeshore and winds through aspen forests with beautiful views of the amazing peaks around Twin Lakes, takes you to InterLaken, a former resort that was once considered one of the most luxurious properties in Colorado.
The hotel complex was started in 1879 and enlarged after James V. Dexter bought the lakeside resort and grounds in 1883. The resort become a popular summer retreat for those that rode the train to a stop nearby and then took a shore ride by stage or carriage to the south side of Twin Lakes.
The InterLaken Hotel and resort boasted some of the best facilities for the time. The hotel and hotel annex provided comfortable rooms with a view of the forest and lakes. The resort boasted a log tavern, pool hall, and sheds to accommodate guests and their horses. One notable building was a unique six-sided privy with a separate room and door for each side reserved for rooms in the hotel. Additional structures included a 16 stall horse barn with tack room, storage, and hay loft; another barn for milk cows, chickens, and additional storage; ice house, granaries, and laundry.
Sadly, the resort fell out of favor shortly after the turn of the century when private irrigation interests constructed the original Twin Lakes Dam. While not affected directly by the larger lakes, people associated stagnant shallow water with malaria and other diseases and the resort gradually became less popular. Eventually nearly all the buildings were abandoned and began to deteriorate.
In 1979, the Bureau Of Reclamation agreed to record and stabilize the historic district that includes the Interlaken Hotel. Some of the buildings were beyond repair but others were stabilized or repaired. The hotel, hotel annex, two granaries, stable, laundry, privy and cow barn were preserved. The hotel, Dexter’s cabin, and two granaries were relocated so they could not be inundated by the Bureau’s new Twin Lakes Dam and Mount Elbert Power Plant.
You can go inside the Dexter House, if it’s unlocked, and enjoy the amazing restoration work that the friends of InterLaken have done.