The Historic National Park Lodge – America's Least Known and Almost Forgotten National Treasure
Take a tour of Americas historic national park lodges.
These crown jewels of the National Park Service are uniquely located in some of the nation's most remote scenic back country. Most of these remarkable landmarks were hand-crafted at or before the turn of the last century. Small armies of old world artisans and craftsmen came together to showcase their remarkable skills in Americas newly formed national parks.
All of these remarkable century old structures are recognized as historic national landmarks for their unique craftsmanship that is unequaled and irreplaceable to this day. Each of them should be preserved, visited and enjoyed by all generations.
No better locations can be found anywhere in North America to experience the vast scenic outdoors. if you enjoy nature or watching endangered wildlife roaming wild and free that are virtually unavailable and inaccessible in their natural setting anywhere else in the country. America's national park lodges and the national parks they reside in are the only place to start your adventure of a lifetime from.
Below you will find a short description of fifteen of Americas premiere historic national park lodges, along with the beautiful national parks they can be found in. if you would like more information, or to read a complete article by Sandra Stacey on any of the listed National Park Lodges herein, please see the resource box following this article.
The Ahwahnee Hotel
Opened in 1927, this magnificent national park lodge is located in what might be America's most beautiful valley. Yosemite Valley is in the heart of Yosemite National Park, California. this renowned park is known the world over for its beauty and striking geologic formations along with its many waterfalls. The luxurious Ahwahnee Hotel sets shaded under towering cliffs and offers guests luxurious accommodations rarely found in a national park setting. perhaps that's one reason Presidents, world leaders, movie stars, and even Queen Elizabeth II, have graced its halls.
Bryce Canyon Lodge
Opened in 1925,this rustic lodge sets atop a forested Mesa next to the rim of Bryce Canyon in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. this is the smallest national park in Utah, but offers visitors the worlds greatest collection of unique geologic formations called Hoodoos. These strange formations, along with many other sight were created by erosion in this small beautiful canyon along the eastern edge of Utah's Paunsaugunt Plateau.
Crater Lake Lodge
Opened in 1915 and rebuilt in 1995, this beautiful national park lodge is scenically perched on the edge of cliffs overlooking Crater Lake. this spectacular deep blue lake is considered by many the most beautiful lake in America. no other lodge anywhere else on earth offers visitors the unique combination of scenic surroundings provided by the collapsed caldera crater in Crater Lake National Park.
The EL Tovar Hotel
Opened in 1905, this architectural wonder seems to spring up out of the very rock it is perched on overlooking the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. Once called "The most expensively constructed and appointed Log House in America". The El Tovar still holds most of its rustic charm that has attracted many noted guests over the years such as Presidents Roosevelt and Taft, along with Bernard Shaw, Gugliemo Marconi, Author Zane Gray and Albert Einstein.
The Furnace Creek Inn
Opened in 1927, in what is one of the most remote and desolate locations on the North American Continent. Death Valley National Park, California is not the place anyone would normally associate with a lush green oasis of towering Palm trees, or spring-fed gardens. The luxurious Furnace Creek Inn breaks the mold and is certainly one of the most unique lodge destinations you will ever visit. if the beautiful adobe walls could speak, it's not hard to imagine what tales they could tell of the bygone business moguls and Hollywood types that have lounged around the hot spring-fed pools shaded by lush palm trees over the years.
Glacier Park Lodge
Opened in 1913, the guardian to the gates of Glacier National Park, Montana's eastern boundary. this truly grand national park lodge needed a railroad spur laid to the building site just to transport in the enormous timbers that frame its colossal central atrium. when the local Blackfeet Indians first saw the giant timbers unloaded they were so awed by their size that they dubbed the new building "Oom-Coo-Mush-Taw" or "Big Trees Lodge" a fitting name that has stuck ever since.
Grand Canyon Lodge
Opened in 1928, this stunning historic park lodge is posted on a promontory overlooking the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. if you want to enjoy the Grand Canyon without all the traffic and crowds that gather on the South Rim, make reservations to stay at this stunning remote location on the North Rim.
The Lake McDonald Lodge
Opened in 1914, on the eastern shore of beautiful Lake McDonald deep in the heart of Glacier National Park, Montana, this historic lodge is a prime example and one of the only remaining Swiss Chalet style mountain lodges that early park pioneers strove to create a century earlier. You will be hard pressed to find a more picturesque alpine setting anywhere in North America to enjoy views from the lakeside veranda.
The many Glacier Hotel
Opened in 1915, this is the largest national park lodge in Glacier National Park, and for many years the largest hotel in Montana. The scenery here is world famous with sweeping panoramic views of Swiftcurrent Lake whose shores this majestic lodge is built along. if you are looking for a vacation destination that offers striking views of the northern Rocky Mountains along with a beautiful pristine alpine lake. You can enjoy it all right from your rooms lake side balcony.
The old Faithful Inn
Opened in 1904, next to the historic old Faithful Geyser in the heart of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. this is unquestionably the "Queen" of all national park lodges. this massive log structure hardly needs an introduction. it has reigned for well over a century as the largest log building in the world, and has influenced and inspired the construction of all the national park lodges that followed. this was the first national park lodge built anywhere in the world, and Yellowstone National Park was the first designated national park anywhere in the world.
The Oregon Caves Chateau
Opened in 1934, this charming lodge was built to span a wooded granite gorge in the beautiful Siskiyou Mountains next to the entrance to the Oregon Caves in Oregon Caves National Monument, Oregon. You won't want to miss this one if you plan a trip anywhere in the region. A live mountain stream flows through the dining room providing an unforgettable ambiance you won't soon forget.
The Paradise Inn
Opened in 1917, high on the slopes of Mount Rainier in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington, this historic lodge recently went through a massive 35-million dollar restoration. Each stone was numbered and cataloged then completely rebuilt. The term "no stone was left unturned" literally fits in regard to the Paradise Inn. many notable guests and dignitaries have graced this lodge over the years including President Truman, the crown prince of Norway, Sonja Henie, Tyrone Power, Cecil B. DeMille, and Shirley Temple just to name a few.
Opened in 1937, and has a truly historic past. this national park lodge was built during Americas "Great Depression" as a WPA works project. A small army of out of work master craftsmen and artisans eager for work camped out midway up the slopes of beautiful Mount Hood in the Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon to create this masterpiece. Few lodges anywhere in the world can compete with Timberline Lodge for historic importance, craftsmanship, or overall artistic detail.
The Volcano House
Opened in 1941, on the edge of Kilauea Crater one of the most active volcanoes in the world in Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii. this historic location has been host to some form of structure as far back as the early 1800's. Easily one of the most unique national park lodges you will find anywhere in the world. not only is Volcano House the only hotel in Volcanoes National Park, it is the oldest continuously operated hotel in Hawaii.
Zion Park Lodge
Opened in 1905, this lodge was uniquely build on the canyon floor in beautiful Zion National Park, Utah. this is an outdoor enthuses dream, set amid a magnificent panoramic surrounding shaded by striking 2000 ft. sandstone cliffs. if you like to hike, backpack, bike ride, or horseback ride you will find this national park lodge an ideal year-round destination.