Flood Update

Thank you all for your continued support as we work our way through post-flood recovery!!

We are taking 2014 reservations for cottages 14, 15 and 16 for July to mid-October.  Please call 970-586-5258.  Your call will forward to my cell phone.  Please leave your name, number, arrival and departure dates and number of people and I will call you back.

In 2015, we will also have cottages 10, 11 and 12 available.

Unfortunately, Larimer County will not allow us to rebuild cottages 4, 5/6, 7 and 9. We think we will add some full hookup RV sites in their former locations.  We will keep you posted as we make decisions regarding the RV sites and when they might become available.

Fishing Update:  Some friends have been fishing our stretch of the Big Thompson recently and called it “epic”.  So many trout remain and the flood created new contours to the riverbed.  Excellent fishing at Whispering Pines Cottages is still here!



January 15, 2014 

Update for Whispering Pines Cottages

 All debris removal is complete. The remains of cottage #7 have been pulled from the river and disposed of. That same week we had to make the difficult decision to demolish cottage #4. It was still structural sound (somewhat) but was pulled off what was left of the foundation and was hanging precariously over the river.  We still did not know if we would be allowed to put it back in place, the large equipment was still on the property and debris removal was still being picked up by the state. We decided that even if we got the ok, we could not afford all of the work needed to put it back. It was hard, but we decided to take it down. We have since found that we would not have gotten approval so we made  the right economical choice.                                                                                        We spent two weeks restoring and reinforcing our riverbanks to withstand spring runoff and future flooding. There is a much steeper drop off all along the river banking but there will be more usable yard space and you fishermen will still have access to the best fishing in the canyon.  I see loads of trout out there!     Around January 22, we will begin the installation of underground utilties. That will take about two weeks.   Following that, we will really be able to get to work making the house/office habitable.  We hope to be back in the house by late April/early May. By then, we will do the finish grading work on the driveway, bring in topsoil for the lawn area from #10 to the garage and then put down sod. We will probably have a better lawn than before!   Then we will finish deep cleaning #'s 14, 15 and 16. Throughout the summer into fall/winter, we will start doing the repair work on #'s 10, 11 and 12. They will be ready for 2015.                                                            We have had meetings with the county as our initial damage assessments showed that most everything was more than 100% damaged - that most would need to be torn down if we did not have a favorable appeal with no hope of rebuilding. County officials came back out and redid the assessments and were in agreement that most of the information was erroneous. We are anxiously waiting on final figures. If everything is under 50% we are good to go. We should know in a little over a week. We have been told that the cottages that are now completely gone can never be rebuilt.  We are actively pursuing putting in 5-6 full hookup RV sites or prebuilt cottages that are permanently affixed to wheels/axles. Stay tuned on that front.  We   continue to be so thankful for the help and emotional support from our friends, family and our awesome guests of Whispering Pines Cottages! We could not keep going without you all!!!                                                                                      WE are now taking reservations for 2014 for  July through mid-October.                            Please leave         L n your name, number, dates and number of people. I will call you back ASAP after receiving your message.  I will also be setting up our 2015 reservation book for cottages 10, 11, 12, 14, 15 and 16. Stay tuned!                                                                                                           

November 19, 2013 Here's the latest update for Whispering Pines Cottages as of November 19, 2013.  We are almost done with debris removal with the exception of the remains of cottage #7 which continues to hang in the river. All that is basically left of it is the floor, two exterior walls and the roof all collapsed on each other. Maybe Larimer County, FEMA or some other entity will come in and finish the demolition as we currently have no budget to do it.  The house is mostly gutted as are cottages 10/11/12.  #11 needs to be slightly moved back in place and we have talked with a house moving company about that.  They also say they can save #4 even though it is hanging sideways toward the river. It has very little interior damage, but, again, not sure about budgeting for that (over 25K plus foundation) and also not sure if we would be allowed to put it back in place. FEMA and the county have still not let us know what we can and cannot do.


 The excavator is due in early December so that we can reinstall water/sewer/gas/electric lines down the back driveway. We will replace everything as if we would be rebuilding all lost cottages just in case.  We are batting around some alternate ideas if we are not allowed to rebuild where 4/5/6/7 and 9 were located.  When that is done, we will tie the house back in to the utilities and start redoing the interior of the house. Thankfully, there is no structural damage to the house. Jon says we might be back in the house by late April.


 We have figured out an alternate way to get electric and heat into cottage 14/15. It is getting too cold for Jon to keep living in the camper. He will move in to one side and I will set up the other so that friends who show up to help with construction will have a place to sleep.  He needs to continue living on site as there are those still trying to break in to steal and vandalize.


After we get back in the house, we can start working on redoing the interiors of 10/11/12.  We still don't know if we will open at all for 2014.  Numbers 14, 15 and 16 would be available early summer, but I just don't know if the grounds will be nice enough by then. Also, if work takes longer for utilities or in the house, we would still need to use those for storage and a place for us to live.  Too many decisions still up in the air. 


What we have learned so far...Friends and family are everything. We wouldn't be as far along as we are without all their help (in man hours of labor, use of heavy machinery, buying supplies at their cost and endless advice). Knowing that all of our guests are sending positive thoughts our way keep us going as well. 


You really have to rely on yourselves, your friends and connections.  We are so fortunate that we have lived in Estes Park for so long (since 1977 for me and 1986 for Jon) and that Jon is in construction. This has enabled us to create a huge network of help.  I feel so bad for others down the canyon who don't have these connections and either don't know where to turn or are being ripped off by unscrupulous out-of-town  contractors. Even worse, are those who lost their home and all the land it sat on.  They will most likely not be able to bring in fill to restore their property or rebuild. They may get a pittance of what their property was worth through a government buyout. Even then, they will still not have a home and more than likely owe on a mortgage for house that does not exist.  On the days when I am feeling very down and defeated, I think about these folks and see that we are very fortunate - other than being flooded out!


They quickly reopened Highway 36 about a month ahead of schedule with a temporary winter road.  After a few weeks, they are already having to do repairs on it. They are scheduled to open our highway 34 on Thursday.  While we appreciate the round the clock work these construction crews are doing (and getting visitors to Estes to help businesses survive the winter) , we feel maybe they should have done as much permanent work as possible before winter instead of rushing to provide Estes access.  When you travel these roads again in the future, there will be much that you don't recognize.


Some places to go to see video and photos...youtube of course. On Facebook, "like" the fire departments for Glen Haven and Big Thompson Canyon as well as the Loveland Fire Protection District. They all have posted info and links.

I will try to make monthly updates here regarding our progress and what we decide about next summer.  Thank you again for your continued positive thoughts and prayers.


Jon, Deyn, Ashlyn and Braeden Johnson


whispering pines in estes park
Welcome to Whispering Pines Cottages on the River featured in John Fielder's "Best of Colorado" guidebook. Our historic, rustic cottages are located at the base of pine-covered Mount Olympus and feature exclusive streamside fishing in the Big Thompson River.

We offer comfortable and affordable family accomodations just minutes from the activities and scenic beauty of Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. Our goals are to ensure that each cottage is exceptionally clean and that every guest has the best Colorado vacation possible. We are open from mid-May until early October. We hope you consider Whispering Pines Cottages when making your vacation plans.

Your hosts - Jon, Deyn, Ashlyn & Braeden Johnson

riverside cabins We offer one and two bedroom cottages w/kitchens. All rooms are non-smoking, smoking is allowed outside

Equipped kitchens including dishes, utensils, glassware, pots & pans, coffee makers, toasters, microwave ovens, no bakeware as not all cottages have ovens

Private bathrooms - not all units have bathtubs - some have only showers

Hot tub - AGES 16 & OVER ONLY -- Hours 10:00 am- 10:00 pm

Office hours 8:30 am - 9:00 pm

Charcoal grills, picnic tables, yard furniture & fire pits
Playground area w/horseshoes
Color tv - only 4 channels{no cable}
Fishing right outside your door in the Big Thompson River!


Free Wi-Fi also available!