Great National Park Lodges

  •  Great National Park Lodges: Crystal Resort

    Photo: Courtesy of Alta Crystal Resort

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    From Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to Alaska’s Glacier Bay, these historic lodges deliver location and creature comforts.

    From June 2013 By

    You pull yourself out of bed, bring your coffee to the front porch, and there—right in front of you—is the vast expanse of the Grand Canyon.

    That’s the appeal of staying at El Tovar, which has graced the rim of the canyon since 1905. But it’s hardly alone; you’ll find great national park lodges all over the U.S. and Canada. And staying at one doesn’t mean camping and freeze-dried dinners. The best lodges offer gourmet food, personalized service, and rustic yet often elegant interiors.

    Many are landmarks dating back to the park system’s early days. In 1903, officials at the Northern Pacific Railroad were inspired to create a lodge with local logs and stone. The result, Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park, has a towering lobby that became a model for national park architecture. For something a bit more modern, try the 23 renovated suites and heated outdoor pool at Alta Crystal Resort by Mount Rainier, WA.

    You might even encounter a celebrity or prime minister during your stay. (The El Tovar staff once had to hush Paul McCartney because a guest complained about his piano playing.) But that doesn’t mean the prices are out of reach. Double rooms start at about $180 at El Tovar and $165 at Oregon’s Crater Lake Lodge.

    Find out how the right lodge will improve your next national park visit. 

  • Great National Park Lodges: The Ahwahnee

    Photo: Courtesy of DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite

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    The Ahwahnee, Yosemite National Park, CA

    Art Deco, Native American, Middle Eastern, and Arts and Crafts influences all contributed to this 1927 landmark’s design. More recently, a renovation drew upon Yosemite’s historical archives to determine appropriate textiles and colors, giving an English country-house look to the interiors—rich tapestries, stained glass, and hand-stenciled beams. The most elaborate rooms feature balconies and views of Glacier Point, Yosemite Falls, or Half Dome. After a day in the great outdoors, take your complimentary afternoon tea on the patio overlooking Glacier Point.

  • Great National Park Lodges: Many Glacier Hotel

    Photo: Courtesy of Glacier Park, Inc.

    3 of 19

    Many Glacier Hotel, Glacier National Park, MT

    Evening glacier tours are, naturally, one of the popular activities during a stay here. Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, the hotel feels like a Swiss chalet, with windows opening to Swiftcurrent Lake and a dramatic lobby with tree trunks as the support poles. Opt for a suite with lake view and balcony, or a refurbished lakeside room. Then go outside and fly-fish in a setting that will soothe your soul, or take the ferry across the lake and hike to Grinnell Glacier.

  • Great National Park Lodges: Glacier Bay's Bear Track Inn

    Photo: Mary Coster

    4 of 19

    Glacier Bay’s Bear Track Inn, Glacier Bay National Park, AK

    Yes, you really can see black bears and moose from your bedroom at this gateway to Glacier Bay National Park. Guests praise the personal service—look for appetizers and homemade cookies each afternoon—and innkeepers can help arrange excursions from watching humpback whales to taking a dogsled ride. Ice climbing, fresh- and salt-water fishing, guided kayak trips, and visits to Admiralty Island to view brown bears are also popular. On your return, sink into the suede sofas and warm yourself by the lobby fireplace.

    beartrackinn.com

  • Great National Park Lodges: Greyfield Inn

    Photo: Fred Whitehead

    5 of 19

    Greyfield Inn, Cumberland Island National Seashore, GA

    If an island with wild horses doesn’t sound romantic enough, consider that secluded 16-room Greyfield—the only inn on the island—was the choice of John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette for their 1996 wedding party. The former home is exuberantly southern, with a sprawling front porch, extensive gardens, and homegrown collards and kale on its locally sourced menu. The all-inclusive price includes everything you need to have a good time: three daily meals, bikes, kayaks, fishing equipment, beach gear, and excursions with a naturalist to spot birds and wildlife. Sun yourself on 18 miles of wide beaches, or stroll through the exotic terrain of a maritime forest.

  • Great National Park Lodges: Crater Lake Lodge

    Photo: Courtesy of Xanterra Parks & Resorts

    6 of 19

    Crater Lake Lodge, Crater Lake National Park, OR

    Oregon may not bring to mind images of volcanoes, but the state has an explosive past. Crater Lake Lodge is positioned right at the end of a caldera (or huge crater) formed by the collapse of an ancient volcano. The upheaval produced lava walls stretching 2,000 feet high and the nation’s deepest lake, an exquisitely clear, jewel-toned blue. You can learn about the park’s geology on boat tours that run from late June to mid-September. At the lodge, ask for a lakeside guest room for the best views.

  • Great National Park Lodges: Alta Crystal Resort

    Photo: Courtesy of Alta Crystal Resort

    7 of 19

    Alta Crystal Resort, Mount Rainier National Park, WA

    Alta Crystal Resort lies just outside the northeast entrance to the park, giving it the closest proximity to Sunrise, the area’s highest point. Each of Alta Crystal’s 23 renovated suites has a fireplace and a small but fully equipped kitchen. An arched log entry and handmade doors enhance the appeal of the two-story honeymoon cabin. The pool and hot tub stay heated year round, and you can join the resort’s bonfires, barbecues, and other nightly events in July and August (on weekends in other months).

    altacrystalresort.com

  • Great National Park Lodges: Zion Lodge

    Photo: Courtesy of Xanterra Parks & Resorts

    8 of 19

    Zion Lodge, Zion National Park, UT

    This is the only lodging option that puts you inside Zion National Park. Western-style 1920s cabins combine fir flooring and oak-and-wicker dressers with modern amenities like 300-count cotton sheets. Another 82 guest rooms and suites include private porches or balconies. A 100-foot-high cottonwood tree marks the front lawn, which has a great vantage point for stargazing. The lodge does its part to be a good park tenant. Cabin rooms include an on-demand water heater and LED lighting, and suites have filtered drinking water faucets (no water bottles are sold on site). A recent redesign of the restaurant’s walk-in coolers will save a million gallons of water a year.

  • Great National Park Lodges: El Tovar

    Photo: Courtesy of Xanterra Parks & Resorts

    9 of 19

    El Tovar, Grand Canyon, AZ

    Built on the rim of the Grand Canyon in 1905, El Tovar was once so far from civilization that fresh water had to be delivered by train. It’s since become one of our greatest national park treasures, with plenty of civilized touches, including suites with sitting rooms. Bring your morning coffee out to the front porch or lounge deck and gaze at the play of light on the canyon. Then head back inside for a hearty breakfast of Sonoran Eggs, with beans, chorizo, an array of salsas, and fry bread.

  • Great National Park Lodges: Jenny Lake Lodge

    Photo: Courtesy of Grand Teton Lodge Company

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    Jenny Lake Lodge, Grand Teton National Park, WY

    Authentic log walls, handmade quilts, and down comforters make nights cozy in the cabins here at the base of the Tetons. The inclusive room rates cover breakfast and a five-course dinner daily, plus horseback rides, bike rentals, and the joy of having a front porch in one of the nation’s most photographed mountain ranges. As part of a new sustainability effort, rooms have high-efficiency lighting and recycled carpet, and guests earn a $10 credit each day they decline laundry services.

  • Great National Park Lodges: Volcano House

    Photo: Courtesy of Volcano House

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    Volcano House, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI

    Closed for several years, Volcano House reopened in 2013 following a $7 million renovation that preserved the character of architect Charles Dickey’s original 1941 design. Talk about a view: some rooms overlook Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, while others face native Hawaiian rainforest of ohia lehua and koa trees, accented by tall hapuu tree ferns. Watching the crimson-feathered apapane fly from branch to branch while Halema’uma’u Crater erupts about two miles away is an otherworldly sensation. Even the fireplace in the hotel’s Grand Lounge is made of lava rock.

    nps.gov

  • Great National Park Lodges: Furnace Creek Resort

    Photo: Courtesy of Xanterra Parks & Resorts

    12 of 19

    Furnace Creek Resort, Death Valley National Park, CA

    The luxurious Inn at Furnace Creek rises like a mirage from the red rock of the valley, offering Moorish-influenced stonework, gardens of date and fan palms, spring-fed swimming pools, and an elaborate Sunday brunch. A mile away at the Ranch at Furnace Creek, you can golf at the lowest course in the world—214 feet below sea level—or take a horse-drawn carriage ride through desert and mountain scenery. To explore the most remote areas of Death Valley, rent a Jeep four-wheel drive from a vendor across the street from the inn.

  • Great National Park Lodges: The Inn at Brandywine Falls

    Photo: Courtesy of The Inn at Brandywine Falls

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    The Inn at Brandywine Falls, Cuyahoga National Park, OH

    George and Katie Hoy have lovingly tended to this bed-and-breakfast for some 25 years. It has all the antiques, floral patterns, and fresh meals that you’d expect—with eggs from the inn’s own hens and ingredients from the gardens—plus an enviable position overlooking 67-foot Brandywine Waterfall. The suite is in a former barn, though it’s hard to imagine hay where now appear wide plank floors, a sleeping loft with king-size bed, and a Jacuzzi for two. Guests appreciate the birding, bicycling, hiking, and cross-country skiing.

    innatbrandywinefalls.com

  • Great National Park Lodges: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

    Photo: Courtesy of The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

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    Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

    In winter, guests can strap on cross-country skis and head out for the day right from the Chateau, which is best known for its magnificent lakefront location, surrounded by snowcapped peaks and tall firs. Summer brings pleasures like hikes, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, and rides on the sightseeing gondola. Members of the Rolling Stones and the British royal family have been among the guests at this upscale 550-room resort, and the movie Doctor Zhivago was filmed here—along with an episode of the reality TV show The Bachelor.

  • Great National Park Lodges: Old Faithful Inn

    Photo: Courtesy of Xanterra Parks & Resorts

    15 of 19

    Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park, WY

    One of the world’s most famous geysers is your next-door neighbor when you stay at this historic log-and-stone inn that has hosted six presidents and all Three Stooges. The lobby is appropriately elegant, with a massive stone fireplace and handcrafted clock of copper, wood, and wrought iron. The absence of TV, radio, and Internet access in the suites encourages folks to get outside, whether to explore trails and boardwalks, bike to the Morning Glory pool, or hike to backcountry geysers.

  • Great National Park Lodges: McKinley Chalet Resort

    Photo: Courtesy of ARAMARK Parks and Destinations

    16 of 19

    McKinley Chalet Resort, Denali National Park, AK

    In 1913, a team of four explorers was the first to reach the summit of Mount McKinley, also called Denali, an Alaskan Native name meaning “The Great One.” This resort on the banks of the Nenana River celebrates the 100th anniversary of their feat in 2013 with a lobby exhibition of historic photos, diary excerpts, and climbing gear on display. The Chalet is a fine starting point for your own adventures, including river paddle trips and a new six-hour wildlife tour with the chance to see caribou, moose, and grizzly bears. Wolf and lynx have occasionally been reported, too.

    denaliparkresorts.com

  • Great National Park Lodges: Waterton Glacier Suites

    Photo: Courtesy of Waterton Glacier Suites

    17 of 19

    Waterton Glacier Suites, Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

    The prairie, the Canadian Rockies, and Waterton Lakes National Park are all at your doorstep when you stay at this all-suite property. Recent updates in the guest rooms include new carpeting, locally crafted furniture, flat-screen TVs, and granite counter tops. Try to time your visit to September, when prices drop to off-season rates, the crowds thin, and the wildlife—deer, bighorn sheep, bear, elk, moose, even a cougar or two if you’re lucky—is easier to find. And don’t leave without sampling afternoon tea at the nearby Prince of Wales Hotel on a bluff overlooking the lake.

    watertonsuites.com

  • Great National Park Lodges: The Chateau

    Photo: Courtesy of The Chateau at the Oregon Caves

    18 of 19

    The Chateau, Oregon Caves National Monument, OR

    The charming six-story Chateau looks much the same as it did at its 1934 debut. It still has a fantastic setting adjacent to the main entrance of the cave and within old-growth forest atop the Siskiyou Mountains. After hours, walk monument trails, and you’ll feel you have the world to yourself. You can play board games under the lobby’s massive beams and sample local bison, wines, and microbrews in the dining room, where, about 75 years ago, the kid’s toy View-Master was invented.

    oregoncaveschateau.com

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  •  Great National Park Lodges: Crystal Resort

    You pull yourself out of bed, bring your coffee to the front porch, and there—right in front of you—is the vast expanse of the Grand Canyon.

    That’s the appeal of staying at El Tovar, which has graced the rim of the canyon since 1905. But it’s hardly alone; you’ll find great national park lodges all over the U.S. and Canada. And staying at one doesn’t mean camping and freeze-dried dinners. The best lodges offer gourmet food, personalized service, and rustic yet often elegant interiors.

    Many are landmarks dating back to the park system’s early days. In 1903, officials at the Northern Pacific Railroad were inspired to create a lodge with local logs and stone. The result, Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park, has a towering lobby that became a model for national park architecture. For something a bit more modern, try the 23 renovated suites and heated outdoor pool at Alta Crystal Resort by Mount Rainier, WA.

    You might even encounter a celebrity or prime minister during your stay. (The El Tovar staff once had to hush Paul McCartney because a guest complained about his piano playing.) But that doesn’t mean the prices are out of reach. Double rooms start at about $180 at El Tovar and $165 at Oregon’s Crater Lake Lodge.

    Find out how the right lodge will improve your next national park visit. 

  • Great National Park Lodges: The Ahwahnee

    The Ahwahnee, Yosemite National Park, CA

    Art Deco, Native American, Middle Eastern, and Arts and Crafts influences all contributed to this 1927 landmark’s design. More recently, a renovation drew upon Yosemite’s historical archives to determine appropriate textiles and colors, giving an English country-house look to the interiors—rich tapestries, stained glass, and hand-stenciled beams. The most elaborate rooms feature balconies and views of Glacier Point, Yosemite Falls, or Half Dome. After a day in the great outdoors, take your complimentary afternoon tea on the patio overlooking Glacier Point.

  • Great National Park Lodges: Many Glacier Hotel

    Many Glacier Hotel, Glacier National Park, MT

    Evening glacier tours are, naturally, one of the popular activities during a stay here. Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, the hotel feels like a Swiss chalet, with windows opening to Swiftcurrent Lake and a dramatic lobby with tree trunks as the support poles. Opt for a suite with lake view and balcony, or a refurbished lakeside room. Then go outside and fly-fish in a setting that will soothe your soul, or take the ferry across the lake and hike to Grinnell Glacier.

  • Great National Park Lodges: Glacier Bay's Bear Track Inn

    Glacier Bay’s Bear Track Inn, Glacier Bay National Park, AK

    Yes, you really can see black bears and moose from your bedroom at this gateway to Glacier Bay National Park. Guests praise the personal service—look for appetizers and homemade cookies each afternoon—and innkeepers can help arrange excursions from watching humpback whales to taking a dogsled ride. Ice climbing, fresh- and salt-water fishing, guided kayak trips, and visits to Admiralty Island to view brown bears are also popular. On your return, sink into the suede sofas and warm yourself by the lobby fireplace.

    beartrackinn.com

  • Great National Park Lodges: Greyfield Inn

    Greyfield Inn, Cumberland Island National Seashore, GA

    If an island with wild horses doesn’t sound romantic enough, consider that secluded 16-room Greyfield—the only inn on the island—was the choice of John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette for their 1996 wedding party. The former home is exuberantly southern, with a sprawling front porch, extensive gardens, and homegrown collards and kale on its locally sourced menu. The all-inclusive price includes everything you need to have a good time: three daily meals, bikes, kayaks, fishing equipment, beach gear, and excursions with a naturalist to spot birds and wildlife. Sun yourself on 18 miles of wide beaches, or stroll through the exotic terrain of a maritime forest.

  • Great National Park Lodges: Crater Lake Lodge

    Crater Lake Lodge, Crater Lake National Park, OR

    Oregon may not bring to mind images of volcanoes, but the state has an explosive past. Crater Lake Lodge is positioned right at the end of a caldera (or huge crater) formed by the collapse of an ancient volcano. The upheaval produced lava walls stretching 2,000 feet high and the nation’s deepest lake, an exquisitely clear, jewel-toned blue. You can learn about the park’s geology on boat tours that run from late June to mid-September. At the lodge, ask for a lakeside guest room for the best views.

  • Great National Park Lodges: Alta Crystal Resort

    Alta Crystal Resort, Mount Rainier National Park, WA

    Alta Crystal Resort lies just outside the northeast entrance to the park, giving it the closest proximity to Sunrise, the area’s highest point. Each of Alta Crystal’s 23 renovated suites has a fireplace and a small but fully equipped kitchen. An arched log entry and handmade doors enhance the appeal of the two-story honeymoon cabin. The pool and hot tub stay heated year round, and you can join the resort’s bonfires, barbecues, and other nightly events in July and August (on weekends in other months).

    altacrystalresort.com

  • Great National Park Lodges: Zion Lodge

    Zion Lodge, Zion National Park, UT

    This is the only lodging option that puts you inside Zion National Park. Western-style 1920s cabins combine fir flooring and oak-and-wicker dressers with modern amenities like 300-count cotton sheets. Another 82 guest rooms and suites include private porches or balconies. A 100-foot-high cottonwood tree marks the front lawn, which has a great vantage point for stargazing. The lodge does its part to be a good park tenant. Cabin rooms include an on-demand water heater and LED lighting, and suites have filtered drinking water faucets (no water bottles are sold on site). A recent redesign of the restaurant’s walk-in coolers will save a million gallons of water a year.

  • Great National Park Lodges: El Tovar

    El Tovar, Grand Canyon, AZ

    Built on the rim of the Grand Canyon in 1905, El Tovar was once so far from civilization that fresh water had to be delivered by train. It’s since become one of our greatest national park treasures, with plenty of civilized touches, including suites with sitting rooms. Bring your morning coffee out to the front porch or lounge deck and gaze at the play of light on the canyon. Then head back inside for a hearty breakfast of Sonoran Eggs, with beans, chorizo, an array of salsas, and fry bread.

  • Great National Park Lodges: Jenny Lake Lodge

    Jenny Lake Lodge, Grand Teton National Park, WY

    Authentic log walls, handmade quilts, and down comforters make nights cozy in the cabins here at the base of the Tetons. The inclusive room rates cover breakfast and a five-course dinner daily, plus horseback rides, bike rentals, and the joy of having a front porch in one of the nation’s most photographed mountain ranges. As part of a new sustainability effort, rooms have high-efficiency lighting and recycled carpet, and guests earn a $10 credit each day they decline laundry services.

  • Great National Park Lodges: Volcano House

    Volcano House, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI

    Closed for several years, Volcano House reopened in 2013 following a $7 million renovation that preserved the character of architect Charles Dickey’s original 1941 design. Talk about a view: some rooms overlook Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, while others face native Hawaiian rainforest of ohia lehua and koa trees, accented by tall hapuu tree ferns. Watching the crimson-feathered apapane fly from branch to branch while Halema’uma’u Crater erupts about two miles away is an otherworldly sensation. Even the fireplace in the hotel’s Grand Lounge is made of lava rock.

    nps.gov

  • Great National Park Lodges: Furnace Creek Resort

    Furnace Creek Resort, Death Valley National Park, CA

    The luxurious Inn at Furnace Creek rises like a mirage from the red rock of the valley, offering Moorish-influenced stonework, gardens of date and fan palms, spring-fed swimming pools, and an elaborate Sunday brunch. A mile away at the Ranch at Furnace Creek, you can golf at the lowest course in the world—214 feet below sea level—or take a horse-drawn carriage ride through desert and mountain scenery. To explore the most remote areas of Death Valley, rent a Jeep four-wheel drive from a vendor across the street from the inn.

  • Great National Park Lodges: The Inn at Brandywine Falls

    The Inn at Brandywine Falls, Cuyahoga National Park, OH

    George and Katie Hoy have lovingly tended to this bed-and-breakfast for some 25 years. It has all the antiques, floral patterns, and fresh meals that you’d expect—with eggs from the inn’s own hens and ingredients from the gardens—plus an enviable position overlooking 67-foot Brandywine Waterfall. The suite is in a former barn, though it’s hard to imagine hay where now appear wide plank floors, a sleeping loft with king-size bed, and a Jacuzzi for two. Guests appreciate the birding, bicycling, hiking, and cross-country skiing.

    innatbrandywinefalls.com

  • Great National Park Lodges: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

    Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

    In winter, guests can strap on cross-country skis and head out for the day right from the Chateau, which is best known for its magnificent lakefront location, surrounded by snowcapped peaks and tall firs. Summer brings pleasures like hikes, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, and rides on the sightseeing gondola. Members of the Rolling Stones and the British royal family have been among the guests at this upscale 550-room resort, and the movie Doctor Zhivago was filmed here—along with an episode of the reality TV show The Bachelor.

  • Great National Park Lodges: Old Faithful Inn

    Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park, WY

    One of the world’s most famous geysers is your next-door neighbor when you stay at this historic log-and-stone inn that has hosted six presidents and all Three Stooges. The lobby is appropriately elegant, with a massive stone fireplace and handcrafted clock of copper, wood, and wrought iron. The absence of TV, radio, and Internet access in the suites encourages folks to get outside, whether to explore trails and boardwalks, bike to the Morning Glory pool, or hike to backcountry geysers.

  • Great National Park Lodges: McKinley Chalet Resort

    McKinley Chalet Resort, Denali National Park, AK

    In 1913, a team of four explorers was the first to reach the summit of Mount McKinley, also called Denali, an Alaskan Native name meaning “The Great One.” This resort on the banks of the Nenana River celebrates the 100th anniversary of their feat in 2013 with a lobby exhibition of historic photos, diary excerpts, and climbing gear on display. The Chalet is a fine starting point for your own adventures, including river paddle trips and a new six-hour wildlife tour with the chance to see caribou, moose, and grizzly bears. Wolf and lynx have occasionally been reported, too.

    denaliparkresorts.com

  • Great National Park Lodges: Waterton Glacier Suites

    Waterton Glacier Suites, Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

    The prairie, the Canadian Rockies, and Waterton Lakes National Park are all at your doorstep when you stay at this all-suite property. Recent updates in the guest rooms include new carpeting, locally crafted furniture, flat-screen TVs, and granite counter tops. Try to time your visit to September, when prices drop to off-season rates, the crowds thin, and the wildlife—deer, bighorn sheep, bear, elk, moose, even a cougar or two if you’re lucky—is easier to find. And don’t leave without sampling afternoon tea at the nearby Prince of Wales Hotel on a bluff overlooking the lake.

    watertonsuites.com

  • Great National Park Lodges: The Chateau

    The Chateau, Oregon Caves National Monument, OR

    The charming six-story Chateau looks much the same as it did at its 1934 debut. It still has a fantastic setting adjacent to the main entrance of the cave and within old-growth forest atop the Siskiyou Mountains. After hours, walk monument trails, and you’ll feel you have the world to yourself. You can play board games under the lobby’s massive beams and sample local bison, wines, and microbrews in the dining room, where, about 75 years ago, the kid’s toy View-Master was invented.

    oregoncaveschateau.com

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