150 years ago, Cottonwood Pass was a trail first used by Indians, prospectors, settlers, and explorers seeking fortune deep in the mountains. It was expanded and cleared for wagons as a toll road built by Robert Hughes in 1870. An important stage coach stop sprung up on the east side of Cottonwood Pass where the blacksmith would service the vehicles and wagons before beginning the steep and difficult climb to the top. This area was known as Hughes Meadows. The dam was built in 1929 and the lake became known as Fikany Lake. Named for the Fikany family who built the first cabins, Big Cozy in 1934 and Jumbo in 1937, they later renamed the lake Mt. Yale Rainbow Trout Lake.
Two doctors purchased all the separate original log cabins built on the lake in 1948 and the property became Rainbow Lake Resort. The original lake lodge (now The Landing) was added in 1952. Cottonwood Pass remained a rough 4-wheel drive road until 1959. The pass road was rerouted around Rainbow Lake and the road was paved to the top of the east side in 1990.
The Lippert family became the owners in 1962 and expanded the resort with the addition of the west end cabins and again later with the purchase of the mountain homes in the mid-1990s. Donald Erick Lippert designed and built the new lodge, lodge units and the Buffalo Peaks great room in 2007. It was his desire to create a place for families to gather and since that time the Buffalo Peaks room has hosted numerous gatherings including weddings, receptions, and family reunions. The Lippert family is committed to continuing the rich history of Rainbow Lake and preserving the rustic beauty of the resort.
We are Mitch and Marla, an award-winning hospitality couple. We met in the spring of 2016, and immediately realized we had found a partner to spend the rest of our life with. That night we talked of traveling the world, having fun, and selling fun.
Marla spent 35 years as a surgical nurse, Mitch spent most of his life in the restaurant industry. Since meeting we have traveled to more than 20 countries, driven over 100,000 miles, crisscrossing 48 states, and staying in every type of accommodation. We have managed inns in New Hampshire, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and Florida. We are very excited to be coming to the beautiful Rocky Mountains helping maintain the traditions and standards of Rainbow Lake Resort. We are committed to making great memories for folks and look forward to meeting y'all.