Gateway Canyons Resort…The Entrance to Xanadu

One of the things I strive to do on Mike’s Road Trip is to find those cliché “off-the-beaten-path” places…the ones that give you so much satisfaction in the discovery.  I get great joy in bringing exposure to well-deserving destinations that exceed my expectations and will assuredly interest my readers.  Discovering the Gateway Canyons Resort in Gateway, Colorado is the quintessence of Mike’s Road Trip.

As you drive toward Gateway through the meandering canyon, the excitement intensifies as the landscape develops into an awe-inspiring scene out of a movie.  When you arrive at Gateway Canyons Resort, you will feel as though you’ve been dropped from the heavens to a tranquil place that inspires the perfect balance between adventure and relaxation.

To be frank, the town of Gateway itself is a modest place; the Resort is the focal point and provides all the amenities you need for a remarkable and memorable time.   Whether you want to relax or have the adventure of a lifetime, Gateway Canyons can accommodate.  There is a full service spa offering everything from couples’ massage, salon services to facial treatments.  If you want adventure, they have an “Adventure Center” dedicated to your excitement needs…from horseback riding, rafting down the Dolores River that runs through the property, to off-roading (via ATV or Jeep), biking, fly fishing, sky adventures to hiking or climbing the landmark Palisade rock formation.

I spent three days at the Resort and was so disappointed to leave, I felt like I was just beginning to scratch the surface of all the nooks and crannies this magical place had to offer.   I arrived on a Saturday and found the place buzzing with excitement.  There was a large group of people from VOC (Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado) staying at the resort who were working on a trail-building project.  Apparently there was a band of musicians among the group who took the stage to perform for the volunteers.  As the music played, some people relaxed in the terraced amphitheater, while others played Frisbee on the expansive grassy knoll as the setting sun cast contrasting shadows upon the canyon walls and inimitable rock formations.  It was a wonderful start to my extraordinary stay.

The next day I drove about twelve miles north, up the canyon (the opposite way I had arrived) to “The Stables,” where I went for some horseback riding.  “The Stables” is a Gateway Canyons off-site 500 acre ranch where guests can enjoy an authentic western horseback riding experience. The riding trails climb over 1,500 feet in elevation and provide access to the area’s spectacular scenery.  The guides will take you on an exploration of the Uncompahgre Plateau, the surrounding picturesque desert and red rock canyons.  You’ll also enjoy seeing how the horses are cared for…they have it pretty darn good—residing in barn that looks more like a lodge.

It had been a while since I had been horseback riding, so while I hate to admit it…I was a little sore.  Thankfully my room came with its own private patio hot tub, where I took a nice long soak.  The resort has sort of two lodging accommodations available…the Kiva Lodge (this is where I stayed), which is a bit more upscale and what you’d expect from a high quality resort.  Then they have the Dolores River Inn, which is also quite nice, but is a bit more affordable.  Whether you stay in the Kiva Lodge, or the Dolores River Inn, each come with several accommodation levels depending on your individual needs—this flexibility makes the resort really accessible for all types of travelers.  Gateway Canyons Resort has been able to create and strike what I feel is the perfect balance.  The setting is second to none; there are plenty of activities with lots of open space.  The Resort would make an amazing setting for a wedding, romantic get-a-way or a family vacation.

After my soak and a shower, I headed to Entrada, one of three restaurants on the property.  Entrada is their fine-dining restaurant, serving hand-crafted dishes rich in flavors from the Colorado plateau.  I began my evening with a glass of wine in the lounge listening to the acoustic sounds of Jeffery Pine.  It was such a lovely evening I opted to dine on the patio with the soothing sounds of water running from a nearby feature, along with the mesmerizing views of the iconic Palisade rock formation as the sun began to bestow its cascading amber glow accentuating its features.

I enjoyed a pear and spinach salad to start, followed by Crisp Colorado Striped Bass with cilantro & sundried tomato pesto, along with sauté of baby spinach and black quinoa—it was absolutely delectable.  For dessert, I enjoyed a do-it-yourself s’more.  A plate was brought out with two homemade sugar cookies, a piece of fine Swiss chocolate and two large marshmallows.   A skewer was made available, and a large fire in the middle of the patio provided the flame—kids of all ages must love this dessert!

I also dined at the Paradox Grill a couple times for lunch and dinner…a bit more casual, but equally as good.  One evening I enjoyed sautéed Rainbow Trout with mustard seed, lemon blanc and calico rice…oh was it delicious.

The owner of the resort is John Hendricks, founder of the Discovery Channel—one of his passions is collecting classic cars.  Mr. Hendricks’ collection had grown to a point where he needed a place to house all his cars, so he built a state-of-the-art museum on the Gateway Canyons property for all to enjoy. This is yet another activity at the resort you won’t want to miss.  I was so impressed by the museum that I have dedicated a separate post and video to it.  Click the following link to see pictures and video of the Gateway Auto Museum.

It’s difficult not to use every cliché imaginable to describe the Gateway Canyons Resort; because they all apply…it really is a “hidden gem.”  The Resort is a few years old, with a number of the structures and amenities just recently opened.  I can’t imagine this place staying a secret for much longer, so do yourself a favor and visit it soon; I promise you will not be disappointed.

If you’ve been to Gateway Canyons Resort, let my readers and me know what you thought?  If you’ve enjoyed this post, please click the “like” button below and share with your friends and family.

Mike Shubic

Mike Shubic is a seasoned road trip travel video blogger, traversing the byways of the world looking for those hidden gems of the road. From unique destinations, unexpected discoveries, creative cuisine, intriguing inns to exciting attractions…the road is his page. The experiences are his ink. And every 300 miles, a new chapter begins. Whether you live vicariously or by example, Mike will do the exploring so you can have an adventure.


  1. I camped a few miles up the river from the resort a few years ago… I was really tempted to splurge on a room for a night. The car museum was really cool, and I’m not even into cars. There are some really fun hiking/biking trails behind the resort too that the VOC crew had been working on. Had I not then moved away from CO shortly after the visit, I was planning on joining one of those volunteer weekends!

    1. Hi Jessica, thanks so much for posting your comment. Yeah, certainly worth splurging sometime, however camping in that area is also spectacular! Cheers, Mike

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