Backgrounder

Brooks Lake Lodge & Spa offers strong ties to Wyoming history and culture

An exclusive, all-inclusive Wyoming guest ranch, Brooks Lake Lodge & Spa provides visitors with a modern luxury resort experience. At the same time, the lodge reveals a unique 100-year-old history, dating back to its original construction in 1922 as a stopover for travelers on their way to Yellowstone National Park, approximately 45 miles away. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the lodge and guest cabins were first opened as the Two-Gwo-Tee Inn, built as a rustic resort hotel at a time when dude ranches were beginning to flourish and the automobile was opening new parts of the country to tourists.

Despite the purposeful misspelling, the original Two-Gwo-Tee Inn was named after nearby Togwotee pass through the Absaroka Mountains. In the summer of 1873, Chief Togwotee of the Sheep Eaters Tribe led Captain William A. Jones to Yellowstone over the Continental Divide between the Snake and Wind Rivers – just a mile from where Brooks Lake Lodge now sits. Captain Jones was inspecting the area as part of a larger survey for military defenses in northwestern Wyoming. Impressed with what he saw, Captain Jones predicted that Yellowstone would eventually "become the most popular summer-resort in the country, perhaps the world." Jones has been proven right about the popularity of Yellowstone. In 1921, the Togwotee road opened the “Lander route” to Yellowstone to the public in 1921, and one year later the lodge was built.

The main lodge was built in a record four months’ time in the Western Craftsman architectural style that developed in the Rocky Mountain Region during the early 1900s. More than any other style of the time, Western Craftsman design is associated with early 20th-century recreation in the Rockies. The Brooks Lake Lodge main lodge and remaining original cabins still provide good examples of the style, known for log walls, a picturesque rustic profile and handcrafted details and furnishings including river rock fireplaces. The structures were crafted using local labor and native materials, creating an honest, authentic charm that carries into the 21st century. Through multiple renovations and additions, the architecture of Brooks Lake Lodge has been carefully preserved – most recently during the building of the Rocky Mountain Spa, constructed to emulate the main lodge.

By 1924, the Inn had been converted into a dude ranch, renamed The Diamond G Ranch, and became a vacation destination in its own right, serving well-to-do Easterners in search of a Western-style vacation. The lodge was later renamed Brooks Lake Lodge after the beautifully pristine 300-acre Brooks Lake that it overlooks. Brooks Lake provides another piece of Wyoming history – named for Bryant B. Brooks, the seventh governor of Wyoming who discovered the lake and surrounding area in 1889 on a hunting trip.

The lodge was renovated in the 1980s to restore its rustic grandeur. Now fully restored and updated, Brooks Lake Lodge provides the romance of the Old West and true Wyoming adventure in the form of such outdoor pursuits as horseback riding, hiking, fishing and canoeing in warm weather, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and ice fishing when the snow flies, and wildlife viewing year-round – combined with all the comforts of a modern luxury guest experience, including spa treatments and fine dining.

Brooks Lake Lodge & Spa is open seasonally with seven lodge rooms decorated in refined mountain style and features eight separate cabins. The lodge added its spa in 2003, complete with a tranquility room, two spa service rooms, and an 11’ x 17’ outdoor hot tub overlooking Brooks Lake and the mountains, a fitness center and a dry sauna.

Gourmet meals are served in the lodge’s dining room and are part of the resort’s all-inclusive pricing. The lodge also offers a unique Governor’s Tea Time for guests each day at 4:30 p.m. with an assortment of fruits, cheeses, cookies, and crumpets served alongside hot tea, cocoa and coffee. The service is provided in the lodge’s historic tea room – and named for former Governor Brooks.