Platte River Fort & Resort: All kinds of delights

Courtesy photo – Platte River Fort & Resort

By Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer

The Surveyor

There’s a chance you’ve driven by and wondered about this fort along the north side of Highway 34. Located just east of Greeley, on the way to Kersey and beyond, Platte River Fort was purposely built to resemble Bent’s Old Fort in La Junta, Colo. Having walked within the walls of both places, I can honestly say it does feel remarkably similar to the real thing.

Bent’s Old Fort is a National Historic Site of a reconstructed real 1840s adobe fur-trading post that once existed upon this ground. It is located along the famous Santa Fe Trail and is a place I would urge you to visit.

The original owners constructed Platte River Fort in 2001 as their home and as an educational destination. Today the fort still brims with historic artifacts like old saddles, a blacksmith’s furnace and more.

The newest owner has rebranded the location, and now the Platte River Fort & Resort is a destination for weddings, family reunions, girlfriend getaways and camping. There’s even a great onsite restaurant that’s open to the public, as well as future plans that include RV sites. The resort is home to a herd of Texas Longhorns that have appeared in many wedding photos.

Earlier this summer, when the South Platte River was running extremely high, we stayed at the Platte River Fort & Resort, but not inside one of the well-appointed guest rooms in the fort. We glamped in one of the resort’s riverfront Lotus Belle tents.

These tents look a bit like yurts, and the resort has six, along with one wagon. It’s where guests can enjoy a fancier form of camping referred to as “glamping,” and it takes tent living to another level of luxury. One still must use a nearby porta potty, hidden tastefully in a grove of cottonwood trees, but otherwise this is extremely comfortable camping.

Photo by Heidi Kerr Schlaefer – A covered wagon guests can camp in at Platte River Fort & Resort.

Each Lotus Belle tent is planted on its own riverfront piece of land with a rock-ringed campfire, chairs, and picnic table. Inside the tent is where luxurious comfort intersects with the idea of glamping. I’ve camped my entire life and, if I were lucky, it meant sleeping on a blowup mattress inside a tent. These bell-shaped tents each have real beds. From the snuggly pillows to the sheets, there is a strong chance these beds are more comfortable than the one you have at home.

Photo by Heidi Kerr Schlaefer – Lotus Belle Tent at Platte River Fort & Resort.

Some of the tents are equipped with two beds, should you want to bring the family along. The covered wagon is perfect for children and features a king bed and a bunk bed. I have a feeling it’s a bit too heavy to pull with oxen, but it is wonderful for an unforgettable weekend getaway.

Guests can play in the river (when it isn’t too high) and take in the stunning views around them. Sunrise and sunset along the South Platte River are especially beautiful.

Guests or visitors to the resort can enjoy lunch or dinner at Hank’s Bar & Grill inside the refurbished barn at the resort. This restaurant serves up tasty hamburgers and other delights fresh off the outdoor grill. Hank’s is open Tuesday through Friday and is a welcome addition to the east Greeley scene.

Greeley boasts many hidden gems, and Platte River Fort & Resort is a gem sitting in plain sight. Whether you come for a wedding, family reunion, a meal, or to glamp in a Lotus Belle tent, this fort will be a memorable addition to your story.

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