The dining scene at Echo Lake Park will look a little different this summer.
For decades, the Denver-owned park in Clear Creek County has been home to Echo Lake Lodge, a restaurant and gift shop operating in the summer, when tourists flock to the area to drive to the summit of Mount Evans.
That restaurant will not be open this summer, however, because Denver last year opted not to renew the concessionaire contract with the family that had operated the business for 57 years.
There will, however, be a food truck.
On Monday, the Denver City Council without discussion approved a contract with nearby ski area Echo Mountain to operate the truck on the northwest side of the lodge.
Echo Mountain will pay the city $125 a week, plus 11 percent of revenue, according to the contract. The truck is expected to operate at least 14 weeks. The city considers food and beverage service “important given the remote location of the Park and the absence of services in the area,” according to a document prepared by city staff.
Echo Mountain, which ended its season April 16, is located on private property about six miles east of the lodge. General Manager Fred Klaas didn’t respond to requests for comment about the city contract, but a truck serving pizza called “Two Mile Pie” has been one of two spots to grab a bite at the ski area in recent years.
When it opted to not renew the contract for Echo Lake Lodge, which despite its name hasn’t hosted overnight guests for years, Denver Parks and Recreation Department said that it was undertaking “a planning process to determine the best use for the building and the park.”
Shannon Dennison, director of Denver Mountain Parks, told the Denver Gazette last year that could include allowing visitors to again stay overnight in the building.
Parks and Rec spokeswoman Cynthia Karvaski said this week that “port-a-lets and the food truck will be the only services” at the park this summer. The lodge building will not be open at all and is not expected to officially reopen until 2026 after renovations and extensive repair to the septic system.
“An architectural assessment will begin this year,” Karvaski said. “Funding has been approved in 2024 for planning and design of the park and lodge with construction scheduled for 2025.”