Shadowcliff is currently closed and will reopen Memorial Day. We begin accepting reservations for the summer season on February 1st, 2020.

“We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love for this Earth and to tell our stories. These are the moments when the world is made whole. In my children’s memories, the adventures we’ve had together in nature will always exist.” – Richard Louv, “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder”.

A beautiful quote that not only epitomizes Shadowcliff’s Critters, Creeks, and Crows Family Camp but is also the approach that Family Camp Director, Gail Spinden, has toward this remarkable family experience, which is one of the highlights of our season. Critters, Creeks & Crows Family Camp is Shadowcliff’s annual call to come with your family to learn and play in the Rocky Mountains. Our family camp is a welcome blend of planned activity and family downtime aimed to reconnect families with each other and with nature.

“We try to convey the value of being in nature together,” explains Spinden who has been a leader of family camp for four seasons. “It’s a wonderful way to spend time and create lifelong memories.”

A teacher and former park ranger who has also lived in Grand Lake, Spinden knew that Critters, Creeks, and Crows was something she had to be a part of. Not only does she get to show people around one of her favorite places on Earth, she gets to spend time and interact with kids, parents, and families in nature. She absolutely loves it.

“It’s really fun. It’s a chance for families to be together in nature and really delve into such a beautiful area. We hike, play in the river, and go out on the lake. It’s a really beautiful and amazing time.”

Spinden’s overall message to families who attend Family Camp is that being out together in nature is important. Not only is this a value we hold dear to our hearts, it’s also becoming a necessity. According to the Center for Disease Control, nearly 1/7 children are facing obesity problems and ADHD drug spending tripled from 1993 – 2006 (Health Affairs, 2006). These are both factors that can be mitigated by spending time outside.

“If this isn’t a call for unstructured outdoor play I don’t know what is,” explains Spinden. “Critters, Creeks, and Crows is a prescription for this. We need to be outside together, especially families.”

When it comes to Critters, Creeks, and Crows, we like to grow and refresh programming from year to year, so that you can make this a family tradition that brings something new every time. But one thing always remains true no matter the year: this is an unplugged, device-free camp focused on being in nature and reconnecting as a family. If this sounds like something that you think would be a positive experience for your family, learn more and sign up here. Our family camp is ideal for families with kiddos ages six and up. Families with younger children are welcome, we just ask that you connect with us before signing up to make sure this is right for every member of your family.

When someday somebody asks your children what they did for fun when they were kids, they can choose from a beautiful variety of experiences at Critters, Creeks & Crows.


We love this family camp, but don’t take our word for it. Here is what one mom had to say about the experience her family had at Critters, Creeks & Crows.

“Critters, Creeks, & Crows itself was a gift for all of us. We learned more than I can say about the ecology of Rocky Mountain National Park. The children had the chance to measure the turbidity of Grand Lake. There was fly fishing and bug identification and star gazing, marshmallow roasting and fire sitting and storytelling. To be sure, I’d brought the screens with us just in case, but over the course of 3.5 days we shared with the other families attending camp, the screens were forgotten. Our days were full but not exhausting, just enough to land every one of us a chance to slow down or enjoy what was happening around us.

Most importantly, the children and I were together, in body and in spirit, learning together, exploring together, playing and being still. Over those 3.5 days, we connected in ways we might never have had the opportunity to if we had remained in the structure of our busy lives. I watched my children, who have no lack of imagination or curiosity on a regular day, immerse themselves in their natural world and cut loose with questions and stories and made up games running around the property. I could not have asked for more for any of us.”

Sign up for Critters, Creeks & Crows today, registration closes April 1, 2018, and often sells out. If you’re thinking of coming to Shadowcliff Mountain Lodge in Grand Lake, Colorado – don’t delay. Register for this one-of-a-kind camp today!