Cloud Camp: View from the Top

It seems I’ve been cursed with a proclivity for luxury resorts at the end of a primitive road.  My pursuit for the rare and unique always seems to lead me to these places.  Cloud Camp at the Broadmoor was just that.  An exclusive retreat located high over the Broadmoor at an elevation of 9200 feet, it offers an all inclusive wilderness retreat filled with rustic luxury.  Whether you want to sit by the fireplace sipping drinks or try your hand at archery, the camp offers a variety of activities suited for a range of ages.  They also provide wonderful service and lavish meals, particularly their 4 course dinners. 

To start, you make your reservation for Cloud Camp by accessing it from the Broadmoor website at   They offer a few different options including a stay in their main lodge, a private cabin, or a larger cabin with a loft.  The special, one of a kind cabin is the Fire Tower suite.  It is located up a pretty extensive set of stairs with incredible, unobstructed 360 degree views from the top porch.  The only downside is the climb up leaves you catching your breath due to the elevation.  I stayed in one of the private cabins, which was relatively spacious with a seating area that included a couch and a couple of chairs.  The bathroom had a shower with all of the Broadmoor products, hair dryer, and robe/slippers. 

Arriving at camp is via a shuttle that departs from the south tower of the Broadmoor.  Once you book your reservation, the camp will send you an email outlining all of the arrival and departure times.  The shuttles depart for camp at 1:30, 3:30, and 4:30.  It is good information to have especially prior to booking flights.  I stayed at the Broadmoor the evening before, which I felt turned out to be a great decision.  This allowed me to leave with the 1:30 departure and spend the afternoon enjoying everything Cloud Camp had to offer.  When traveling home, the earliest of the three departures is at 7:30am.  You will arrive back to the Broadmoor about 45 minutes later. 

Your options for arriving at camp are three fold.  The shuttle can take you all the way to the top, you can ride a mule, or you can hike.  Regardless of your decision, you will still start your journey out on the shuttle.  It will drive you through the zoo as you make your way to a landmark called the shrine.  From the shrine, those that hike will get out here and start the journey.  From this point, it is close to 4 miles of hiking.  There are a lot of switchbacks and probably the most challenging part would just be the gain in elevation.  In the car, it is a relatively bumpy ride on a somewhat narrow road. 

Once you arrive, the team is waiting to greet you and wisk your luggage off while you have a tour of the property.  In the main lodge, there are snacks waiting for you including incredible cookies and scones.  The team brings out tasty berry lemonade to sip on while you hear a little about the history of the property.  Spencer Penrose is a name you will hear frequently, as he was the one that originally built the lodge and the road to the top.  Cloud Camp most recently opened to guests in 2014.  Their open season is weather dependent but typically from early May until the end of October. 

Ahead of arrival, you will receive a list of activities available on the property.  Many of them are at your leisure and can be done anytime.  For others, there is a schedule so that you can sign up in advance.  Some of the activities that I tried were morning yoga, archery, cooking class, and afternoon craft.  The yoga class is at the overlook building just down from the main lodge.  It is a great way to start the day doing yoga with some phenomenal views.  Archery is also a unique activity that I enjoyed.  You will use a simple bow to practice hitting your target.  Afternoon craft does change, but the craft I did was branding to make a coaster or Christmas ornament.  You could do leather stamping as well.  The cooking class can be learning about food or cocktails.  I did cooking class two nights since the first night was drinks.  One of the bartenders showed us how to make five different drinks.  For the next evening, we sat outside and learned about smoking meat and fish. 

The activities to do at your leisure are plentiful.  There are three hot tubs on property.  Two of them are for all of the guests.  The third hot tub is just for the guests of the fire tower suite.  The common hot tubs have pretty dramatic views.  Another activity with a great view is pickleball.  The court is literally on the side of a mountain.  I dare say there is not another pickleball court like it.  If you like to play games, there are a number at your fingertips.  There is bocce ball, horseshoe, disc golf, old school board games, and corn hole.  Quite frankly, just sitting outside on the porch or in the lodge is pretty incredible in and of itself.

Last, I have to talk about the food.  I can assure you that you will not go hungry.  Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style.  Breakfast offered pretty much everything you could dream of including pancakes, egg frittata, sandwiches, pastries, etc.  For lunch, there was salad, sandwiches, fries, and an amazing homemade corn chowder soup.  You can come and go at your leisure for these meals.  Dinner is different and service usually begins around 6pm.  All of the guests gather in the main lodge prior to enjoy a drink and passed hors d’ouerves.  Following this, there is a flag lowering ceremony daily to different versions of America the Beautiful.  The end of the ceremony kicks off the four course plated dinner.  You will start with a soup course followed by your main.  After the main was a small salad and then dessert.  As if this wasn’t enough, they typically brought an extra shared plate out with the main course.  One evening it was oysters and the second evening it was mini twice baked potatoes.  After dinner, they always mention the option to have s’mores, but I don’t think anyone ever had any additional room. 

Probably the most appealing aspect of Cloud Camp it its location.  At 9200 feet, the views are unparalleled.  Even though civilization wasn’t far away, it felt remote and private.  More and more, this is what I am looking for when attempting to spend a few days away.  For me, two nights afforded me plenty of time at Cloud Camp.  I think a third night would have been a pleasant addition.  Whether your decision is one day or one week, Cloud Camp is a wonderful way to enjoy a peaceful, rustic getaway. 

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