DENVER POST: A combination camping-hostel-hotel in Boulder is offering adventurers cheap stays

Adventure Lodge in Four Mile Canyon is a re-imagining of a historic hotel site

Even with Boulder Canyon construction traffic, it only took a couple of minutes to drive from Pearl Street in downtown Boulder to Adventure Lodge, a combination hotel, hostel, campground, and adventure center located at the head of Four Mile Canyon and re-imagined in 2015 from a historic hotel site.

As my daughters and I pulled into the driveway, the tree-shaded grounds were abuzz, people hanging out on either side of a bubbling creek. The folks at A-Lodge were hosting a “circle the wagons” event to showcase local outdoors-related companies, and the parking lot and lawn were a sea of campers, campervans, food trucks, and craft beverage tables. A woman sang and played guitar by the lawn games, people sat around a fire pit, and, across the creek, people were wandering in and out of the small lodge-lobby building.

The hotel has 27 rooms, a 12-bed hostel and a 3-bedroom cabin, but I was most interested in the four tent sites built into the steep, wooded hillside behind the lodge. I’d never realized there was a campground practically within the city limits. The tent sites are simple, sturdy wood platforms. Campers get access to all the common spaces and lobby amenities, including bathrooms, free breakfast, craft beers on tap, and various balconies and patios, so it’s a pretty good deal at $45. There’s also a pool, hot tub, gathering places, and space for yoga classes, meetings, talks, retreats and events.

A cool breeze blew down the drainage and ruffled my girls’ hair as they climbed onto the slacklines to test their balance. Indeed, there is plenty for guests to do — two hiking trails are accessible from the property and there’s nearby climbing, fishing and biking in Boulder Canyon. A-Lodge also offers two Mercedes Sprinter adventure vans for rent.

After checking out the “wagons” I sat down with Asa Firestone, founder and CEO of A-Lodge, to find out more. Asa is a climber with a physics degree from CU Boulder and an MBA from the University of Southern California. He co-founded A-Lodge in 2014 (with Kris Klauber, COO) and received Elevation Outdoors’ entrepreneur of the year award in 2019. I asked what he envisioned when he created the property.

“Our original concept was to create a climber’s hostel for Boulder,” he said. “With hotel rooms in Boulder starting well above $200 a night, no hostel, and no camping, how would a climber, cyclist or international traveler ever be able to visit Boulder? We set out to solve that.”

The property now has oodles of common space where guests and locals hang out and mix easily, as well as some interesting community partnerships and events. The A-Lodge Under the Stars Film Series partners the property with the Boulder Adventure Film Festival and draws hundreds of Boulderites, many on bicycles, to spend an evening watching “adventure porn” on a 25-foot inflatable screen. A-Lodge also partners with Adidas Terrex to host community trail runs and yoga classes.

After falling off the slacklines, we walked over to the pizza truck for dinner, while ideas of returning for a camping stay-cation began solidifying in my mind.

If You Go

Make reservations at or 303-444-0882. The fee for tent sites and van spots is $45 per night (car camping sites are for vans, trailers and conversion vehicles less than 24 feet — no RVs or generators). Rooms start at $100 a night, hostel beds, $40. See the website for fall specials on adventure van rentals and winter room promos. Try to time your visit on a Second Saturdays music night, when the lodge host bands in the beer garden.

Directions: From downtown Boulder, head west up Canyon Boulevard into Boulder Canyon for 2.5 miles. Turn right on Fourmile Canyon Drive. A-Lodge will be the first driveway on your left.

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