Spending the night and exploring America's National Park Lodges, Hotels and Inns can easily be one of the most unforgettable parts of your vacation.
After all, You get to start and end your day in the park, and typically at a very desirable location, you just have to walk out the door of the lodge! No need to have to get up early to head to the park, wait in line at the entrance gate and drive to your first stop because you are already there.
America's National Park Lodges, Hotels, and Inns
We have been on a mission to stay in as many National Park Service Lodges as we can during our park adventures throughout the United States with each stay being fantastic!
We have watched the most breathtaking sunset having a drink on the outside patio of the restaurant at Chisos Mountain Lodge in Big Bend National Park. We also watched the sunrise in early January over the Grand Canyon from the comfort of our cabin at the Bright Angel Lodge.
My top three favorite memories are watching Old Faithful erupt in the early morning from the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone, Watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean at the Kalaloch Lodge at Olympic National Park and attending the Bracebridge Dinner at the Ahwahnee Hotel.
One thing to remember is that many of these lodges were built approximately 100 years ago. This means that the guest rooms may not be what you would expect from today's standards.
They can be rather small, may have communal restrooms and showers and you will most likely not have a Television, Wi-Fi, internet service and cell phone service.
Many of these lodges were designed with grand and breathtaking common areas like a great room and large dining halls.
It was an event to get out to one of these parks 100 years ago and people quickly congregated in these common areas to meet new people and to talk about their day in the park.
Several of these National Park Service lodges are on the National Register of Historic Places or one of the Historic Hotels of America. Several were designed in the "Parkitecture" theme, also known as National Park Rustic Architecture.
The thought of Parkitecture was to build something that harmonized with nature, something that seemed to fit right into place and just belong without deterring from nature's beauty.
The architectural concept of “Parkitecture” was actually first seen a century ago, although the actual term is a much more recent expression. In the early 20th century, railroads were rapidly spreading west and were eager to increase passenger business on their rails.
They provided lodging at their park destinations and modeled them after the national park lodges. The birth of national parks and the draw of the areas to families all over the country, warranted awe-inspiring buildings and lodges.
The country’s most notable architects and builders at the time were creating architecture that visually united with the natural landscape that surrounded it.
The features that define the Parkitecture style are massive overhangs, wide log or timber columns, and multiple roofs and peaks. Features are likely wood and stone that are native to the area.
The structure seems to nestle itself into the landscape, almost as if the landscape is sprouting up around the building itself. This lends to the appreciation of the goal of national parks. Their visitors get the feel of the buildings blending into the land and not encroaching on its beauty.
There are hundreds of examples of structures and buildings within the national parks that exemplify these unique and breathtaking characteristics.
It is worth noting that a couple of incredibly popular National Parks including Rocky Mountain and Acadia National Park do not have lodges within the park boundaries.
A few of the many successful examples of using native inspiration to create national park landmarks are listed below.
Perhaps one of the most famous because it was one of the first. This Inn is one of the few log hotels still standing. Lodgepole pines were used to create the 7-story lobby. The colossal stone chimney and peaked roof lends to the mountain the background.
Architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood knew it would be a challenge to try and mimic the intense beauty of Yosemite National Park. The lodge sits at the base of Royal Arch.
The impressive stone columns draw your attention not to the lodge but directly behind it to the mountain. The bright colors added in just the right places add to the beauty of the overall view. Large windows give sight to Glacier Point and Yosemite Falls.
Hermit’s Rest – Grand Canyon National Park
Architect Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter has been referred by some to be the Mother of Parkitecture.
Her interest in southwest Native American ruins inspired Hermit’s Rest which includes a large number of native stones which meshed perfectly with the unique environment within the Grand Canyon. The park service used her ideas to build many structures with the same style.
Oregon Caves Chateau – Oregon Caves National Monument
The main goal of the Parkitecture style is for the structure to blend effortlessly with the nature which surrounds it. This Chateau is perhaps one of the finest examples.
Its rocks are the same marble as seen in the nearby Oregon Caves and the bark which covers the structure is from local cedar trees native to Oregon. This lodge essentially sits in a gorge, with painstaking work done to support and secure the structure.
The third floor comes in at eye level when entering – so literally half the building sits in the gorge and half rises out of the gorge and towers up with the cedar trees.
As the beauty of National Park structures is appreciated through the years, millions of visitors leads to a trend in architecture that is clearly popular in residential houses all over the country.
Families are seeking specialized lumber, columns, and stones for the building of their rustic style homes. New land being bought and developed is satisfying the hunger for Americans to build their own getaways in the mountains, forests, and the depths of nature.
New road construction makes it easier to build and access these new homes.
Although the term was not used until recently, “Parkitecture” has long been a sense of peaceful beauty that millions of park visitors have appreciated for over a century.
Below is a list of lodges, hotels, and Inns in the parks. How many have you been to?
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Cedar Pass Lodge provides the opportunity to wake up with epic views of the Badlands. Cedar Pass Lodge opened in 1928 before the park was a National Monument.
Big Bend National Park, Texas
Chisos Mountain Lodge is located in the heart of Big Bend NP. The lodge has one of the best views for sunset we have found in any park.
Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
There are three lodging options along the Blue Ridge Parkway. These lodges are a great way to explore the 469 miles parkway that runs through =Virginia and North Carolina, linking Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park
-Peaks of Otter Lodge (Virginia)
-The Pisgah Inn
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
The Lodge at Bryce Canyon offers both lodge rooms and cabins near the rim of Bryce Canyon. You can easily walk from the lodge to scenic overlooks of the hoodoos.
Buffalo National River, Arkansas
Buffalo Point Cabins and Lodge offers rustic cabins, modern duplexes and lodge rooms within Buffalo National River.
- Buffalo Point Cabins and Lodge
Canyon De Chelly National Monument, Arizona
The historic Thunderbird Lodge in Canyon De Chelly NM is Navajo owned and operated. The lodge offers the opportunity to enjoy a true canyon experience.
- Thunderbird Lodge
Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
Staying in Crater Lake NP is an amazing way to experience the park. The Crater Lake Lodge is perched on the rim of Crater Lake and offers sweeping views of the lake.
The Cabins at Mazama Village are lower in the park near the visitor center and additional visitor services but still have easy access to the Rim Road.
-Cabins at Mazama Village
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
The Inn at Brandywine Falls overlooks Brandywine Waterfall in Cuyahoga Valley NP. The inn was built in 1848 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Inn offers 6 rooms for visitors.
- Inn at Brandywine Falls
Death Valley National Park, California
The lodging in Death Valley NP offers the chance to stay in a historic lodge, enjoy an epic dark sky park, and stay far away from any large city.
-Inn at Death Valley - Formerly the Inn at Furnace Creek/Oasis at Death Valley
-The Ranch at Furnace Creek
-Panamint Springs Resort
-Stovepipe Wells Village
Glacier National Park, Montana
The lodges in Glacier National Park offer easy access to miles of trails, epic views, and the opportunity to step back in time.
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Glacier Bay Lodge offers visitors the opportunity to wake up with a view of Glacier Bay. The only way to reach the lodge is by flying into Gustavus, Alaska or on a private boat with permit. This remote lodge is one of the most unique lodges in the National Park System.
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona
There are three lodging options within Glen Canyon NRA. They are spread throughout the park offering the opportunity to explore different regions of this gorgeous park.
- Bullfrog Resort and Marina
-Halls Crossing and Marina
Golden Gate National Recreation Area & San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, California
The three lodges within Golden Gate NRA offer the opportunity to wake up with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge and experience how amazing the area is.
-Cavallo Point - The Lodge at the Golden Gate
-Inn at the Presidio
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Grand Canyon has a variety of lodging opportunities including historic lodges, cabins, and modern hotels. The majority of lodges are located on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
South Rim, Grand Canyon Hotels
North Rim, Grand Canyon Hotels
Grand Teton National Park & John D Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway, Wyoming
Grand Teton NP lodging incudes historic cabins, a dude ranch, a climbers club, and a lodge with one of the best views of any National Park Lodge.
-Dornan's Spur Ranch Log Cabins
-Jenny Lake Lodge
-Triangle X Ranch
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
LeConte Lodge is located at 6400 feet just below the summit of Mt. LeConte. Visitors will need to hike a minimum of 5.0 miles up to 9.1 miles to reach the lodge. There are no roads leading to the lodge.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
Volcano House is perched near the rim of Kilauea volcano crater offering amazing views of the crater.
Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
Rock Harbor Lodge is located in northwestern Lake Superior is within Isle Royal National Park. The only way to reach the lodge is via seaplane or boat.
- Rock Harbor Lodge
Kings Canyon National Park, California
There are two lodging options within Kings Canyon NP. Both of the lodges offer the unique opportunity to wake up near the Giant Sequoia Trees the park is famous for.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada
The three resorts in Lake Mead NRA offer visitors the opportunity to stay next to the lakeshore. They are spread through out the park making it easy to check out different regions of this great park.
-Cottonwood Cove Resort
-Lake Mohave Resort
-Temple Bar Resort
Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
Drakesbad Guest Ranch is tucked away in the southeast corner of Lassen Volcanic NP. The guest ranch offers primitive cabins tucked away in the woods. Perfect for getting away and enjoying nature.
- Drakesbad Guest Ranch
Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
The Lodge at Mammoth Cave offers Sunset Terrace and Heritage Trail motel rooms along with Historic and Woodland Cottages. The great thing about staying at the Mammoth Cave lodge is you have easy access to early cave tours and to explore the park.
Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
Far View Lodge is located 15 miles from the entrance to Mesa Verde NP perched near the historic ancient cliff dwellings and major attractions within the park. The view from the lodge is amazing and one you don't want to miss.
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
There are two lodging options within Mt. Rainier NP. The historic Paradise Inn is located up the mountain near the main visitor center. The National Park Inn is open year-round at the base of the mountain in historic Longmire.
North Cascades National Park, Washington
One thing about staying in a lodge at North Cascades NP is you need to plan for an adventure. A boat ride across Lake Chelan is required to reach the lodges at Stehekin. To reach Ross Lake Resort you will want to plan for hiking in or taking a ferry shuttle to reach the floating cabins.
-North Cascades Lodge at Stehekin
-Ross Lake Resort
-Stehekin Valley Ranch
Olympic National Park, Washington
The lodges at Olympic National Park are some of our favorite National Park Lodges to stay in. The view from the Kalaloch Lodge is unbelievable.
Oregon Caves National Monument, Oregon
The Chateau at Oregon Caves is currently closed for renovations. The six-story lodge offers 23 overnight rooms, fine dining room with views out over a wooded canyon, and a 1930s era coffee shop.
Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Missouri
The Big Spring Lodge and Cabins in Ozark NSR are currently being renovated and closed to the public. The National Park Service is hoping to have the renovations completed by late 2023.
- Big Spring Lodge and Cabins
Sequoia National Park, California
Wuksachi Lodge is located in the Giant Forest area of Sequoia NP. It is surrounded by big trees and epic views.
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Shenandoah NP has three epic lodging opportunity ranging from cabins to historic lodge rooms.
Virgin Islands National Park, US Virgin Islands
Cinnamon Bay Resort is located on the gorgeous North Shore of St John. The resort offers eco-tents and cottages with direct access to Cinnamon Bay Beach.
- Cinnamon Bay Resort
Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
Voyageurs NP has one hotel/resort that is reached via a boat ride.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
There is a wide variety of Yellowstone National Park Lodges ranging from historic lodges to new modern hotels.
-Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Cabins
-Roosevelt Lodge Cabins
Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite NP has a great variety of lodges spread between Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne Meadows, and the Wawona historic district. Make sure to check out the gorgeous dining room in the Ahwahnee.
- Curry Village Tents
- Ahwahnee Hotel (Named the Majestic Yosemite Hotel between 2016-2019)
-White Wolf Lodge
Zion National Park, Utah
Zion NP has two lodging options between the lodge and cabins. They offer the opportunity to wake up in Zion Canyon and start your day in the park.
We hope you enjoy this list of National Park Lodges!
Have you stayed in one of these lodges? What was your experience like. We would love to know more about which lodges you have stayed in and what you thought.