Taylor River Lodge outside of Crested Butte, Colo.

Gone Fishing

Cast your line for adventure and just the right mix of luxury at this new riverside getaway

BY BILL FINK | PHOTOGRAPHY BY SIMON UPTON

A remote fishing lodge conjures images of a drafty shack in the mountains, with rough food and rougher conditions. Not so at the new Taylor River Lodge from Eleven Experience. Here, outside of Crested Butte, Colo., prime fly-fishing and other activities combine with luxury lodging and exclusive services.

A first look at the property's eight log cabins scattered in a scenic riverside clearing gives the impression of basic frontier living. But stepping inside one of them, the luxury immediately comes to the fore: supersoft beds, wireless access, steam showers, and raft-loads of amenities. Cabins range from a cozy cottage for two to a two-story single-family home.

Walking to the main lodge, you'll pass a game and media room, with a pool table and beer on tap, next to a fly shop and retail space. Fire pits and lanterns hanging from tree branches light the way at night. The main lodge, overlooking the river, hosts gourmet meals while a roaring fire and a silent bear rug complete the classic mountain lodge ambience.

The property's Bath House, with hot tub, steam room, and saunas, is as luxurious as you see in any high-end spa, only with the frontier touch of moose, deer, and elk antlers mounted on the walls. The spa itself, a small outbuilding, contracts with local masseuses and yoga instructors for top-end service.

As for activities, try the full "Colorado decathlon" of guided experiences: fishing, biking, hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, rafting, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, archery, and even ax throwing. But you don't have to be an Olympian to try any or all of these during your stay. The expert staff leads outings tailored to guests' interests and abilities - whether for kids and absolute beginners or hard-core experts, they're ready with training, tips, and all the gear.

Fishing starts for beginners in the well-stocked trout pond in front of the main lodge and progresses to the Taylor River, a short walk away. A semiprivate river section could be considered the perfect fly-fishing stream: shaded banks with varied currents and river bottom terrain to work with, and three different trout types available for the catching.

After an epic battle with some fish or a rock climb, retire to the bar for some après drinks and tales of the "big one that got away." Then amble over to the large tables for dinner, perhaps concluded with s'mores around a fire pit.

"Full Experience" packages, from $1,720 per night, include activities, guides, and equipment. 970-349-7761; elevenexperience.com

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