These 20 National Park Service lodges showcase ‘parkitecture’ at its finest

It’s all about location when it comes to national park travel, and you can’t get any closer than these in-park lodges

Photo: T.Schofield /

If you’re a national park traveler, you’re probably familiar with “parkitecture,” the clever name assigned to the architectural style of many lodges within U.S. national parks. Think wood and stone, big fireplaces, expansive dining rooms, big windows framing incredible views, handmade furnishings, and more. While most take an almost Adirondack-esque form, desert parks often use Adobe and Santa Fe-style architecture to blend into their respective settings. 

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No matter the style, these buildings feel very natural; it’s a conscious choice by the National Park Service (NPS) to create facilities that enhance (or, at the very least, don’t disturb) the natural setting. These 20 lodges will leave you in the center of all that these parks have to offer, and they’re often the most comfortable and convenient places to stay on a national park trip.

1. Crater Lake Lodge, Crater Lake National Park 

Opened in 1915 and redone in the 1990s, Crater Lake Lodge (open seasonally) offers the classically-rustic accommodations found at most national park hotels. Even if you aren’t planning to spend the night here, you can explore the Great Hall and an exhibit on the lodge’s history, and grab a meal in the dining room, which offers Northwest-inspired cuisine and a view overlooking the lake.

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2. Paradise Inn, Mount Rainier National Park 

Mount Rainier National Park‘s iconic Paradise Inn was built in the 1910s and has rustic, vintage charm—from the massive fireplace to floral light fixtures in the lobby, it feels a bit like stepping back into a simpler time. If you need a quick meal or just want to stock up on souvenirs, there’s an on-site cafe and gift shop. Mount Rainier also offers lodging at the National Park Inn.

Resort-style lodging on Lake Quinault in Washington
Photo: Kenneth Sponsler /

3. Lake Quinault Lodge, Olympic National Park

Lake Quinault Lodge in Olympic National Park is a grand lodge built in 1926 by the same architect as Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Inn. With its location on Lake Quinault, a stay here means you’ll have a chance to rent boats and paddleboards, or find a nearby hike to take during the day. At night, grab dinner in the historic Roosevelt Dining Room and relax by the massive fireplace. Olympic is also home to Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort; both options offer comfortable and convenient ways to experience the lush park.

4. Ross Lake Resort, North Cascades National Park

Stay in one of 15 floating cabins at Ross Lake Resort, and your backyard is the lake itself, surrounded by the snow-capped mountain peaks and evergreen forests of North Cascades National Park. The resort is remote, accessible by water taxi, ferry, or by hiking (1 mile with a shuttle service or longer without). The remote location means your view of the lake, mountains, and forests will be virtually undisturbed so you can spend your days fishing, hiking, boating (bring your own or rent one), or simply sitting on the dock and soaking in the breathtaking beauty.

5. Belton Chalet, Glacier National Park

Visitors will find a lot of locations in Glacier National Park that are on the National Register of Historic Places. Lodges and hotels, often in the Swiss chalet-style commonly seen in the Alps, began popping up across the park, and many (like the Belton Chalet built in 1910) are still operational; Glacier, with its snow-capped mountain peaks, was known as America’s Alps to early tourists. A stay here feels like a charming trip back in time, and the convenience of staying in the park is undeniable. 

Other in-park lodging options at Glacier include Apgar Village Lodge, Lake McDonald Lodge, Many Glacier Hotel, motels, and two backcountry chalets. 

Interior of the historical Old Faithful Inn hotel lobby
Photo: Serge Yatunin /

6. Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park

Designed by Robert Reamer, the Old Faithful Inn was built in waves, starting with the Old House that makes up the lobby and guest rooms. In the center of the seven-story-tall, gabled lobby is an unforgettable, 500-ton, 85-foot-tall stone fireplace. The inn is the most requested lodging in Yellowstone National Park, and the more than 300 rooms are open for booking from early May until mid-October. 

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The Old Faithful Inn also offers daily tours for non-guests who want to see the inside of this historic building representative of the “Golden Age” of rustic resort architecture, one of the most iconic hotels in the U.S. And if you can’t get a reservation, there are eight other lodges inside Yellowstone, including the historic Lake Hotel and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins.

During the winter, some roads and lodges close, but the park is no less beautiful covered in snow. If you plan to visit between May and September, make sure to plan and book well in advance.

7. Triangle X Ranch, Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park used to be filled with dude ranches, but Triangle X Ranch is the only remaining ranch inside the park, and fourth-generation family members still work here. The authentic dude ranch offers stays in rustic cabins, all-inclusive meals, and planned excursions for guests, such as fly fishing trips, horseback riding lessons and tours, river floats, and more. Grand Teton’s other lodges include Signal Mountain, Jenny Lake, Jackson Lake, and cabin-style accommodations.

8. Far View Lodge, Mesa Verde National Park

While visiting Mesa Verde, bask in adobe beauty at Far View Lodge. It’s an NPS lodge within the boundaries of Mesa Verde, so it has a classic, retro charm, with an on-site restaurant and cocktail lounge. Ask for a room with a balcony and a view—the best reason to stay in the park is the incredible scenery.

9. Bryce Canyon Lodge, Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon Lodge is the only NPS-run hotel within Bryce Canyon National Park. This National Historic Landmark is conveniently located and features stunning, 1920s-rustic lodge-style decor. It offers suites within the main building, a motor lodge, and luxurious, historic pole-pine cabins. The lodge’s grand dining room is one of the better dining options inside the park.

National park lodge on a sunny day with towering red rock behind it
Photo: Patrizio Martorana /

10. Zion Lodge, Zion National Park

The original Zion Lodge, built in the 1920s at the peak of parkitecture, was destroyed by a fire in the ‘60s. It was rebuilt, but in a more modern style that wasn’t exactly rustic—but a ‘90s restoration brought back the original lodge-style exterior. It has a prime location in the park, set right against towering red rocks with its own shuttle stop. The lodge offers both historic cabins and hotel rooms, most of which offer private balconies or porches. There’s a gift shop and on-site dining options—try the prickly pear margarita.

11. Phantom Ranch, Grand Canyon National Park

El Tovar Hotel and Yavapai Lodge are the obvious choices for in-park accommodations on a Grand Canyon trip, and while they’re both unique in their own ways, Phantom Ranch is extra special. You have to hike or ride a mule down to the bottom of the canyon to reach the uber-exclusive hostel, and once you’re there, you’ll stay in dorm-style accommodations and eat whatever food is available. But there’s a reason this place is perpetually booked solid: It’s the only place to stay inside the canyon, and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

12. Wuksachi Lodge, Sequoia National Park

If you’re going for the authentic national park experience while in stunning Sequoia National Park, then you’ll want to stay in the signature Wuksachi Lodge. You get the rustic atmosphere that national park lodges often have, with cedar logs, stone fireplaces, and picture-perfect views, but also modern amenities such as WiFi, pet-friendly rooms, and a cocktail lounge. Plus you’re near park attractions, including the General Sherman Tree and Moro Rock.

For those looking to stay in neighboring Kings Canyon, lodging options include John Muir Lodge (open year round) and Cedar Grove Lodge (open seasonally), as well as cabin accommodations.

Rustic national park lodge with towering rock feature behind it

13. The Ahwahnee Hotel, Yosemite National Park

The Ahwahnee Hotel is legendary, with its history and design among the most interesting of all the national parks lodges. Overnight tourism in Yosemite began in the early 20th century, when an enterprising couple, David and Jennie Curry, decided to take a vacation to Yosemite Valley. They were school teachers who offset the cost of their trip by leading guests through Yosemite. Their first tour was such a success that they set up a permanent campsite and began promoting their business, which they called Camp Curry.

In 1925, the NPS decided to grant control of the food, lodging, and concessions in the park to one company; rather than compete with their rival company, Camp Curry decided to merge. In 1926, it was decided that a new grand hotel was needed to attract tourists to the park year round, and thus The Ahwahnee, which got its name from the Indigenous people of Yosemite, was born.

Also in Yosemite are the Victorian-era Wawona Hotel, Yosemite Valley Lodge, and Curry Village (formerly Camp Curry).

14. Big Meadows Lodge, Shenandoah National Park 

Located just off Skyline Drive, Big Meadows Lodge (open seasonally) offers pet-friendly lodging inside Shenandoah National Park. The lodge was built in 1939 with stones from the Massanutten Mountains and native wormy chestnut (now virtually extinct). Check out the on-site dining room, taproom, and craft shop during your stay. You can easily plan your park visit thanks to the lodge’s convenient location at the halfway point of the scenic drive. Other park lodging options include Skyland and cabins. 

15. LeConte Lodge, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

LeConte Lodge is the only non-camping option inside the most-visited national park in the U.S. The catch? It’s only accessible on foot. Guests can choose from hiking routes ranging from 5 to 9 miles to access the lodge atop Mount LeConte. Accommodations consist of hand-built log cabins, and meals are served family-style in a communal dining room. 

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The lodge actually predates the park, serving as a camp to host politicians from Washington, D.C. In 1926, a local mountaineer began building the retreat as it stands today, and the family continued to operate it until 1960. This is rustic living, as there’s no electricity or showers, but there are flush toilets; in return, you earn views that only a few have the chance to see at this popular national park.

Furnace Creek Resort luxury travel destination hotel in Death Valley National Park of California
Photo: Pi-Lens /

16. The Inn at Death Valley, Death Valley National Park

The Inn at Death Valley (formerly the Furnace Creek Inn) offers a true resort experience inside this famed desert park. Built in 1927, the inn hosted famous Hollywood stars, and like its contemporaries, was built to blend in with the environment. There’s a spring-fed pool with epic sunset views, a palm garden, and an observation deck for stargazing. Fresh off a recent renovation, rooms are spacious—there are also casitas and pool bungalows if you’re looking for something more private. With on-site dining, tennis courts, a golf course, and a spa, you won’t want to leave. 

Other Death Valley lodging-style accommodations include The Ranch at Death Valley, Panamint Springs Resort, and Stovepipe Wells Village Hotel.

17. Chisos Mountains Lodge, Big Bend National Park 

As the only traditional lodging option in Big Bend, Chisos Mountains Lodge is popular with park visitors. Open year round, the lodge has a variety of room types as well as a dining room, camp store, and gift shop. According to the NPS, the lodge—built in the 1960s—is in poor condition, and there’s a proposal to replace it in the coming years. 

18. Volcano House, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Sleep at the summit of an active volcano at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park’s Volcano House. Renditions of the Volcano House date back to the late 1800s, with the former inn burning down in 1940. A new building was designed by Charles W. Dickey, known for developing Hawaiian-style architecture, and it reopened a year after the fire. The hotel has hosted presidents, as well as weathered eruptions, allowing guests to view the volcanic activity from the dining room. 

Related Hiking through lava tubes at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Historic bathhouse building on Bathhouse Row in national park

19. Hotel Hale, Hot Springs National Park

Stay in a historic bathhouse in Hot Springs National Park along Bathhouse Row at Hotel Hale, where guests can relax and draw a bath from the city’s famous geothermal mineral water in their room’s soaking tub. The nine-room hotel also features an on-site restaurant and is within walking distance of the park’s other bathhouses, which have been converted into spas, a museum, a visitor center, and a brewery. 

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20. Rock Harbor Lodge, Isle Royale National Park

Plan a visit to one of the least-visited national parks in the U.S. and stay overnight on this Midwestern archipelago. Accessible only by ferry, private boat, or seaplane, the 60-room Rock Harbor Lodge (open seasonally) is an ideal base from which to explore the Rock Harbor area of the park. Each room has a view of Lake Superior, and boat rentals and charter trips are available to tour the park. For convenience, there are on-site dining options, a gift shop, and a dockside store for supplies.

Adobe building overlooking a desert landscape

Bonus: Painted Desert Inn, Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified Forest is now a day-use park only, but it’s home to the famous Painted Desert Inn. Even though you can’t spend the night here anymore, you should definitely stop in to check out the inn-turned-museum, originally built of petrified wood and renovated in the 1930s. Since old Route 66 cuts directly through Petrified Forest, this hotel was once an iconic spot to spend a night on the road. Don’t miss the displays featuring pieces from the park’s resident artist program.

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