The Sand Lake Lodge is located on the north shore of Sand Lake in the Medicine Bow National Forest.
I’ve had a hard time pinning down the year the lodge was started. In the American Heritage Center at the University or Wyoming I was able to find a map from 1918 (note 1) with no structures depicted around Sand Lake and another map from 1929 (note 2) which has Sand Lake Lodge clearly marked. This gives us some idea when it might have been built but we have to remember that it might have been there prior to 1918 even if it wasn’t on that map.
As near as I can tell was in operation until the 1980s. There are about 15 old cabins scattered among the trees and the remains and foundations of a few others. Most of them are in reasonably good shape given their age and lack of maintenance.
A close look at some of the cabins will reveal that electricity was added to some of them. There is also some old furniture laying around and we came across an old truck frame and a wagon of some kind while we were there.
I can definitely imagine what it would have been like to spend a week or two up here during the summer. There are several hiking trails nearby. There is the lake and several creeks for fishing and while you aren’t right next to the major peaks of the Snowy Range you can find some incredible scenic views.
I have struggled so far to find very much written about this place. This strikes me as a little odd since it was open until fairly recently and seems like a fairly sizable resort in its own right.
Thanks to all of you who have left comments below we’ve started to piece together more information. Rebecca and I had the great fortune of meeting Marge, Dan, and Cris Galles at the Sand Lake Lodge in late September 2013. Marge and her husband Jerome used to own the lodge in the 1960s and Dan spent many summers there.
Marge helped tremendously with many details and some great stories. To fill out the history a little bit; the site was likely used as a tie camp originally and all the cabins date from that period except for the main lodge which was built when the site was repurposed for tourists. The main lodge no longer exists but the cement foundation is still there and you can see what it looked like from this picture below.
As this winter progresses I’ll be spending some time at the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming (and a few other places) trying to learn more so we can put up a more complete history.
The Sand Lake Lodge is an interesting historic spot. You can really make a day out of visiting the entire area from hiking the trails to fishing and general exploring. Of course if you do visit be sure to take only pictures and leave only footprints.
To get here drive about 4 miles west of Centennial on Wyoming Highway 130. Turn right on Sand Lake Road and follow it for 15 miles. Turn left on Forest Road 140 which is immediately past the large parking are for the Sheep Lake and Rock Creek Trails. Follow Forest Road 140 for 1/2 of a mile until it ends at a gate. Beyond this gate is the Sand Lake Lodge.
You can find even more pictures in our Sand Lake Lodge Flickr photo set. We would love to add more pictures if you have them and are willing to share them. We’ll only use them in a way that you approve.
If you are looking for a guide to get you to the Sand Lake Lodge: