A national-park lodge is something most people can easily picture, and it invokes images of large granite-encrusted fireplaces, hand-hewn timber frames, and exposed wooden beams. That’s because these aesthetics are a part of the National Park Service Rustic style.
A National Park Lodge Is Great for Vacations
When public-land managers were building an infrastructure to accommodate the growing visitation at the National Parks while preserving the cultural and natural resources for generations, they created the Rustic style park lodge style that everybody knows today. It was designed to blend into the landscape rather than impose upon it. Below are five of the best national-park lodges that are enhanced with rustic decor, cozy amenities, and diverse histories.
The Ahwahnee, Yosemite National Park
Getting a lodge in the Ahwahnee, Yosemite National Park is a great way to enjoy a wildflower-speckled meadow that can be found at the base of the Royal Arches, which is a series of grand natural granite arches that are at the top of a 2,000-foot wall. The Ahwahnee was designed by the legendary park’s architect Gilbert Underwood and building it was done in two years, from 1925 to 1927. It is a 121-room hotel that is recognized as a National Historic Landmark and is considered by many to be the crown jewel of the national-park lodges. The Ahwahnee has green slate roofs and immense granite walls behind it, while wooden terraces and huge rock columns allow the lodge to mesh with its surroundings.
The Many Glacier Hotel, Glacier National Park
At the shoreline of Swiftcurrent Lake is the 215-room Many Glacier Hotel. It’s a Swiss-style chalet, which is the largest inn in Glacier National Park. In the early 1900s, the Great Northern Railway transported most guests to the area calling it the American Alps and America’s Switzerland. They also urged travelers to skip pricey trips to Europe and look at America first. The building had a storybook-style Germanic architecture and was partially renovated in 2016. It still features earth-toned terraces, cut-out wood detailing, view-filled lounges, log beams, and a three-story lobby
The Inn at Death Valley
The Inn at Death Valley was built in 1927 and has long served as a hideaway for California’s high society. It was frequented by actors like Marlon Brando, Carole Lombard, and Clark Gable, and the place recently got through a $150 million renovation that lasted five years. Now, modern park guests can enjoy everything it offers, including hiking at the Golden Canyon and Zabriskie Point. The 88-room hotel is made in the Spanish Mission style and has a terra-cotta tile roof and a spring-fed swimming pool.
El Tovar Hotel, Grand Canyon National Park
The El Tovar Hotel was designed by Charles Whittlesey and opened in 1905. It is perched on a high ledge next to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and offers a view of the Colorado River. The structure may feel out of place in the Arizona desert, but the Norwegian-style villa it emulates matches the Western Europe ideas of refinement at a time not too long ago. It has 78 rooms and bears the many trappings of a cornerstone national-park lodge.
Jenny Lake Lodge, Grand Teton National Park
The Jenny Lake Lodge was once a rustic, 1930s-era ranch for up to 65 guests but is now an AAA Four Diamond resort situated at the foot of serrated peaks and steep canyons found at the Teton Range. It now comprises 37 historic log cabins with updated interiors and plush lounge chairs and gives easy access to three glacier-fed lakes.