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Top 10 national park lodges

Seen from the roof of the nearby Hopi

Seen from the roof of the nearby Hopi House, the El Toval Lodge sits just feet from the edge of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, in Grand Canyon National Park, in Arizona. In 2005 the 100-year old lodge underwent a $4.6-million renovation. Photo Credit: AP, 2005

When it comes to breathtaking scenery, Americans are blessed with a national park system that is the envy of the world -- 58 parks in total, encompassing nearly 52 million acres of dramatic landscapes that beg to be explored. And then there are the equally unforgettable lodges. These are our favorites.

Seen from the roof of the nearby Hopi
Photo Credit: AP, 2005

Seen from the roof of the nearby Hopi House, the El Toval Lodge sits just feet from the edge of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, in Grand Canyon National Park, in Arizona. In 2005 the 100-year old lodge underwent a $4.6-million renovation.

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon National
Photo Credit: KRT, 2000

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park can be seen 10 miles away in the shadows at sundown looking from the South Rim by the El Tovar hotel. The wonder of the Grand Canyon amazes no matter how many times a tourist visits.

Big Meadows Lodge is in Shenandoah National Park
Photo Credit: U.S. National Park Service

Big Meadows Lodge is in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. It was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the late 1930s along the famous Skyline Drive, and like the other lodges in the national park system, it boasts a traditional Great Room and exceptional views. This view looks at Old Rag Mountain from Skyline Drive.

The Grand Canyon Depot, built to complement the
Photo Credit: MCT, 2008

The Grand Canyon Depot, built to complement the then-new El Tovar Hotel (top of the hill), sits on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. The hotel has been restored to look much as it did when built in 1905.

Big Meadows Lodge is part of Shenandoah National
Photo Credit: Big Meadows Lodge

Big Meadows Lodge is part of Shenandoah National Park, in Virginia. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the late 1930s along the famous Skyline Drive, it boasts a traditional Great Room and exceptional views. The park itself has numerous hiking trails that traverse through all sorts of terrain.

El Tovar Hotel, on the South Rim of
Photo Credit: U.S. National Park Service

El Tovar Hotel, on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, was built by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, and renovated in 2005. Here, visitors walk along a lookout at Mather Point.

Interior view of the lobby at El Tovar,
Photo Credit: Scott Johnson / Xanterra Parks and Resorts

Interior view of the lobby at El Tovar, which was build in 1905. El Tovar Hotel, on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, was built by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway and renovated in 2005. The lodge is only 20 feet from the rim of the Grand Canyon.

El Tovar Hotel, on the south rim of
Photo Credit: Handout

El Tovar Hotel, on the south rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

Big Meadows Lodge is in Shenandoah National Park
Photo Credit: U.S. National Park Service

Big Meadows Lodge is in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. It was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the late 1930s along the famous Skyline Drive.

Paradise Inn, inside Mount Rainier National Park in
Photo Credit: U.S. National Park Service

Paradise Inn, inside Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State, dates to 1917 and with a view of the 14,441-foot glacier-capped mountain and a temperate rain forest at lower elevations.

Big Meadows Lodge, in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia,
Photo Credit: U.S. National Park Service

Big Meadows Lodge, in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the late 1930s along the famous Skyline Drive.

The Paradise Inn stands inside Mount Rainier National
Photo Credit: Steve Redman / National Parks Service/

The Paradise Inn stands inside Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State, dating back to 1917 and with a view of the 14,441-foot glacier-capped mountain, shown here with a lenticular cloud covering its peak. (undated)

Big Meadows Lodge is located in Shenandoah National
Photo Credit: National Parks Service/

Big Meadows Lodge is located in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. It was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the late 1930s along the famous Skyline Drive, and like the other lodges of the National Parks, boasts a traditional Great Room and exceptional views. The park itself has numerous hiking trails that traverse through all sorts of terrain. (undated)

Beautiful view looking down on the Blue Ridge
Photo Credit: National Parks Service/

Beautiful view looking down on the Blue Ridge Parkway. North Carolina, USA Big Meadows Lodge is located in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. It was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the late 1930s along the famous Skyline Drive, and like the other lodges of the National Parks, boasts a traditional Great Room and exceptional views. The park itself has numerous hiking trails that traverse through all sorts of terrain. Here, a view from Skyline Drive. (undated)

Big Meadows Lodge is located in Shenandoah National
Photo Credit: Big Meadows Lodge/

Big Meadows Lodge is located in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. It was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the late 1930s along the famous Skyline Drive, and like the other lodges of the National Parks, boasts a traditional Great Room and exceptional views. The park itself has numerous hiking trails that traverse through all sorts of terrain. (undated)

Lowland forest at Longmire The Paradise Inn stands
Photo Credit: National Parks Service/

Lowland forest at Longmire The Paradise Inn stands inside Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State, dating back to 1917 and with a view of the 14,441-foot glacier-capped mountain. Below the mountains are temperate rainforests such as this lowland forest at Longmire. (undated)

Visitors walk around on the ground level of
Photo Credit: Steve Deslich/KRT/

Visitors walk around on the ground level of the Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. The inn, which was built during the winter of 1903-04, was designed by Robert C. Reamer. (August 2005)

The Paradise Inn stands inside Mount Rainier National
Photo Credit: Paradise Inn Photo/

The Paradise Inn stands inside Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State, dating back to 1917 and with a view of the 14,441-foot glacier-capped mountain. Typical of the era, the lodge has an enormous lobby and a wood-beamed dining room. (undated)

A herd of elk graze in the meadows
Photo Credit: AP Photo/

A herd of elk graze in the meadows of Yellowstone National Park, with the background Mt. Holmes, left, and Mt. Dome, Wyo. In addition to being home to 75 percent of the earth's geysers, Yellowstone is also a wonderful place to view wildlife. (1997)

The Bear Pit Lounge at Old Faithful Inn.
Photo Credit: Scott Johnson / Xanterra Parks and Resorts/

The Bear Pit Lounge at Old Faithful Inn. The Old Faithful Inn sits inside Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, practically in front of the Old Faithful geyser. The lodge was built over the winter of 1903 and 1904 by the Northern Pacific Railway and features enormous beams and a bar with engraved glass. (undated)

The Paradise Inn stands inside Mount Rainier National
Photo Credit: Paradise Inn Photo/

The Paradise Inn stands inside Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State, dating back to 1917 and with a view of the 14,441-foot glacier-capped mountain. (undated)

The 96-year-old Crater Lake Lodge in Crater Lake
Photo Credit: Matthew Staver / Xanterra Parks and Resorts, 2006

The 96-year-old Crater Lake Lodge in Crater Lake National Park, in Oregon, is perched 1,000 feet above the country's deepest and clearest lake. The park offers boating and hiking and plenty of views from the lodge's decks.

Old Faithful in Main dining room. The Old
Photo Credit: Scott Johnson / Xanterra Parks and Resorts/

Old Faithful in Main dining room. The Old Faithful Inn sits inside Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, practically in front of the Old Faithful geyser. The lodge was built over the winter of 1903 and 1904 by the Northern Pacific Railway and features enormous beams and a large dining room. (undated)

Old Faithful Inn Lobby detail. The Old Faithful
Photo Credit: Scott Johnson / Xanterra Parks and Resorts/

Old Faithful Inn Lobby detail. The Old Faithful Inn sits inside Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, practically in front of the Old Faithful geyser. The lodge was built over the winter of 1903 and 1904 by the Northern Pacific Railway and features enormous beams and a free-standing octagonal fireplace. (undated)

The Paradise Inn stands inside Mount Rainier National
Photo Credit: Paradise Inn Photo/

The Paradise Inn stands inside Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State, dating back to 1917 and with a view of the 14,441-foot glacier-capped mountain. Typical of the era, the lodge has an enormous lobby and decorative woodwork by the German craftsman Hans Fraehnke. (undated)

The Old Faithful Inn sits inside Yellowstone National
Photo Credit: Xanterra Parks and Resorts/

The Old Faithful Inn sits inside Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, practically in front of the Old Faithful geyser. The lodge was built over the winter of 1903 and 1904 by the Northern Pacific Railway and features enormous beams and a free-standing octagonal fireplace. (undated)

Inside Great Smokey National Park in Tennessee, LeConte
Photo Credit: National Park Service/

Inside Great Smokey National Park in Tennessee, LeConte Lodge is the only non-camping option, and sits at 6,300 feet near the top of LeConte Mountain. It was established in the 1920s and the only way to reach the lodge is to hike the five miles up. It is so rustic that the cabins have no electricity and the cabins are especially rough-hewn. But it boast spectacular views and several times a week the arrival of pack llamas who cart up supplies. Here, sunset from Clingman's Dome. (undated)

Old Faithful Inn exterior. The Old Faithful Inn
Photo Credit: Scott Johnson / Xanterra Parks and Resorts/

Old Faithful Inn exterior. The Old Faithful Inn sits inside Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, practically in front of the Old Faithful geyser. The lodge was built over the winter of 1903 and 1904 by the Northern Pacific Railway and features enormous beams and a free-standing octagonal fireplace. (undated)

The Old Faithful Inn sits inside Yellowstone National
Photo Credit: Xanterra Parks and Resorts/

The Old Faithful Inn sits inside Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, practically in front of the Old Faithful geyser. The lodge was built over the winter of 1903 and 1904 by the Northern Pacific Railway and features enormous beams and a free-standing octagonal fireplace. (undated)

Inside Great Smokey National Park in Tennessee, LeConte
Photo Credit: LeConte Lodge/

Inside Great Smokey National Park in Tennessee, LeConte Lodge is the only non-camping option, and sits at 6,300 feet near the top of LeConte Mountain. It was established in the 1920s and the only way to reach the lodge is to hike the five miles up. It is so rustic that the cabins have no electricity and the cabins are especially rough-hewn. But it boasts spectacular views and several times a week the arrival of pack llamas who cart up supplies. (undated)

Inside Great Smokey National Park in Tennessee, LeConte
Photo Credit: LeConte Lodge/

Inside Great Smokey National Park in Tennessee, LeConte Lodge is the only non-camping option, and sits at 6,300 feet near the top of LeConte Mountain. It was established in the 1920s and the only way to reach the lodge is to hike the five miles up. It is so rustic that the cabins have no electricity and the cabins are especially rough-hewn. But it boasts spectacular views and several times a week the arrival of pack llamas who cart up supplies. (undated)

Hiking is one of the activities in Grand
Photo Credit: NPS/

Hiking is one of the activities in Grand Teton National Park such as along Death Canyon, and for accommodations, there is the luxurious Jenny Lake Lodge, founded in the 1920s as a series of rustic cabins. Today it is one of the most expensive options among the country's park lodges but its price includes breakfast and dinner, bike rental, and horseback riding. (undated)

The El Tovar Hotel on the South Rim
Photo Credit: Michael Quinn / NPS Photo by Michael Quinn/

The El Tovar Hotel on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park was completed in 1905 and sits directly on the South Rim. In 2005 the lodge was renovated while keeping its century-old ambiance intact. (undated)

Inside Great Smokey National Park in Tennessee, LeConte
Photo Credit: LeConte Lodge/

Inside Great Smokey National Park in Tennessee, LeConte Lodge is the only non-camping option, and sits at 6,300 feet near the top of LeConte Mountain. It was established in the 1920s and the only way to reach the lodge is to hike the five miles up. It is so rustic that the cabins have no electricity and the cabins are especially rough-hewn. But it boasts spectacular views and several times a week the arrival of pack llamas who cart up supplies. (undated)

Inside Great Smokey National Park in Tennessee, LeConte
Photo Credit: LeConte Lodge/

Inside Great Smokey National Park in Tennessee, LeConte Lodge is the only non-camping option, and sits at 6,300 feet near the top of LeConte Mountain. It was established in the 1920s and the only way to reach the lodge is to hike the five miles up. It is so rustic that the cabins have no electricity and the cabins are especially rough-hewn. But it boasts spectacular views and several times a week the arrival of pack llamas who cart up supplies. (undated)

Hiking is one of the activities in Grand
Photo Credit: NPS/

Hiking is one of the activities in Grand Teton National Park, and for accommodations, there is the luxurious Jenny Lake Lodge, founded in the 1920s as a series of rustic cabins. Today it is one of the most expensive options among the country's park lodges but its price includes breakfast and dinner, bike rental, and horseback riding. (undated)

Built between 1910-1914, Many Glacier Hotel is situated
Photo Credit: Donnie Sexton / Travel Montana/

Built between 1910-1914, Many Glacier Hotel is situated on the shores of Swiftcurrent Lake and rests at the base of Mt. Grinnell. This Swiss-themed hotel has 214 guest rooms and offers a fine dining restaurant, lounge, apr�s fondue, gift shop, and snack store. Red bus tours, boat cruises and David Walburn evening entertainment are available at this extraordinary hotel. In 1976 the hotel was declared a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (2006)

A hiker takes in the view of the
Photo Credit: Xanterra Parks and Resorts/

A hiker takes in the view of the Many Glacier Valley. Many Glacier Lodge in Glacier National Park in West Glacier, Montana, is one of the great lodges, marked by its isolated location and rough-and-ready activities. The inn looks over the pyramidal Grinnell Point across Swiftcurrent Lake. (2006)

Kayaking, such as on Jackson Lake, is one
Photo Credit: NPS/

Kayaking, such as on Jackson Lake, is one of the activities in Grand Teton National Park, and for accommodations, there is the luxurious Jenny Lake Lodge, founded in the 1920s as a series of rustic cabins. Today it is one of the most expensive options among the country's park lodges but its price includes breakfast and dinner, bike rental, and horseback riding. (undated)

Jenny Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park,
Photo Credit: Jenny Lake Lodge Photo/

Jenny Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming was founded in the 1920s as a series of rustic cabins. Today it is one of the most expensive options among the country's park lodges but its price includes breakfast and dinner, bike rental, and horseback riding. (undated)

Glacier National Park, Montana offers views like this
Photo Credit: David Restivo / NPS/

Glacier National Park, Montana offers views like this at Olson Creek drainage with the Goat Haunt Ranger Station in the foreground. One of the grand hotels on the park grounds is Many Glacier Lodge in West Glacier, Montana, marked by its isolated location and rough-and-ready activities. (undated)

Built between 1910-1914, Many Glacier Hotel is situated
Photo Credit: David Restivo / NPS/

Built between 1910-1914, Many Glacier Hotel is situated on the shores of Swiftcurrent Lake and rests at the base of Mt. Grinnell. Here, guests gather around the fireplace in the grand interior lobby. In 1976 the hotel was declared a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (2006)

Built between 1910-1914, Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier
Photo Credit: Glacier Park/

Built between 1910-1914, Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park, Montana, is situated on the shores of Swiftcurrent Lake and rests at the base of Mt. Grinnell. This Swiss-themed hotel has 214 guest rooms and offers a fine dining restaurant, lounge, apr�s fondue, gift shop, and snack store. Red bus tours, boat cruises and David Walburn evening entertainment are available at this extraordinary hotel. In 1976 the hotel was declared a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (undated)

The Inn at Furnace Creek is located in
Photo Credit: E.B. Lane / Xanterra Parks and Resorts/

The Inn at Furnace Creek is located in Death Valley National Park, California, at 214 feet below sea level. The Inn was constructed in the 1920s yet has 21st century luxuries. Views extend over the Panamint Mountains. (undated)

Many Glacier Lodge in Glacier National Park in
Photo Credit: Xanterra Parks and Resorts/

Many Glacier Lodge in Glacier National Park in West Glacier, Montana, is one of the great lodges, marked by its isolated location and rough-and-ready activities. The inn looks over the pyramidal Grinnell Point across Swiftcurrent Lake. (undated)

The Inn at Furnace Creek is located in
Photo Credit: National Parks Service/

The Inn at Furnace Creek is located in Death Valley National Park, California, at 214 feet below sea level. The Inn was constructed in the 1920s yet has 21st century luxuries. Views extend over the Panamint Mountains. The park also has canyons such as this, Fall Canyon, for hiking. (undated)

The Inn at Furnace Creek is located in
Photo Credit: National Parks Service/

The Inn at Furnace Creek is located in Death Valley National Park, California, at 214 feet below sea level. The Inn was constructed in the 1920s yet has 21st century luxuries. Views extend over the Panamint Mountains. The park also has a lake, Lake Manley, on which visitors can kayak. (undated)

Inside Great Smokey National Park in Tennessee, LeConte
Photo Credit: National Park Service/

Inside Great Smokey National Park in Tennessee, LeConte Lodge is the only non-camping option, and sits at 6,300 feet near the top of LeConte Mountain. It was established in the 1920s and the only way to reach the lodge is to hike the five miles up. It is so rustic that the cabins have no electricity and the cabins are especially rough-hewn. But it boast spectacular views and several times a week the arrival of pack llamas who cart up supplies. Here, the Mountain Farm Museum. (undated)

The Inn at Furnace Creek is located in
Photo Credit: E.B. Lane / Xanterra Parks and Resorts/

The Inn at Furnace Creek is located in Death Valley National Park, California, at 214 feet below sea level. The Inn was constructed in the 1920s yet has 21st century luxuries such as this spring-fed swimming pool. Views extend over the Panamint Mountains. (undated)

Inside Great Smokey National Park in Tennessee, LeConte
Photo Credit: National Park Service/

Inside Great Smokey National Park in Tennessee, LeConte Lodge is the only non-camping option, and sits at 6,300 feet near the top of LeConte Mountain. It was established in the 1920s and the only way to reach the lodge is to hike the five miles up. It is so rustic that the cabins have no electricity and the cabins are especially rough-hewn. But it boast spectacular views and several times a week the arrival of pack llamas who cart up supplies. Here, a rainbow curves of Cades Cove. (undated)

The Inn at Furnace Creek is located in
Photo Credit: National Parks Service/

The Inn at Furnace Creek is located in Death Valley National Park, California, at 214 feet below sea level. The Inn was constructed in the 1920s yet has 21st century luxuries. Views extend over the Panamint Mountains that are blanketed with wildflowers in springtime. (undated)

The Inn at Furnace Creek is located in
Photo Credit: Xanterra Parks and Resorts/

The Inn at Furnace Creek is located in Death Valley National Park, California, at 214 feet below sea level. The Inn was constructed in the 1920s yet has 21st century luxuries. Views extend over the Panamint Mountains. (undated)

The Inn at Furnace Creek is located in
Photo Credit: National Parks Service/

The Inn at Furnace Creek is located in Death Valley National Park, California, at 214 feet below sea level. The Inn was constructed in the 1920s yet has 21st century luxuries. Views extend over the Panamint Mountains. The park also has salt beds, such as these seen from Dante's Peak. (undated)

The Inn at Furnace Creek is located in
Photo Credit: National Parks Service/

The Inn at Furnace Creek is located in Death Valley National Park, California, at 214 feet below sea level. The Inn was constructed in the 1920s yet has 21st century luxuries such as this spring-fed swimming pool. Views extend over the Panamint Mountains that are blanketed with flowers in spring time. (undated)

The 96-year old Crater Lake Lodge in Crater
Photo Credit: Matthew Staver / Xanterra Parks and Resorts/

The 96-year old Crater Lake Lodge in Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, is perched 1,000 feet above the country's deepest and clearest lake. The park offers boating and hiking and plenty of views from the lodge's decks and old-time atmosphere as evoked in the hotel's Great Hall. (undated)

The 96-year old Crater Lake Lodge in Crater
Photo Credit: Matthew Staver / Xanterra Parks and Resorts/

The 96-year old Crater Lake Lodge in Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, is perched 1,000 feet above the country's deepest and clearest lake. The park offers boating and hiking and plenty of views from the lodge's decks and verandas. (undated)

Wizard Island stands inside Crater Lake Scenic. The
Photo Credit: Matthew Staver / Xanterra Parks and Resorts/

Wizard Island stands inside Crater Lake Scenic. The 96-year old Crater Lake Lodge in Crater Lake National Park in White City Oregon, is perched 1,000 feet above the country's deepest and clearest lake. The park offers boating and hiking and plenty of views from the lodge's decks. In the distance is Wizard Island. (undated)

The 96-year old Crater Lake Lodge in Crater
Photo Credit: Matthew Staver / Xanterra Parks and Resorts/

The 96-year old Crater Lake Lodge in Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, is perched 1,000 feet above the country's deepest and clearest lake. The park offers boating and hiking and plenty of views from the lodge's decks and verandas. (undated)

The 96-year old Crater Lake Lodge in Crater
Photo Credit: Matthew Staver / Xanterra Parks and Resorts/

The 96-year old Crater Lake Lodge in Crater Lake National Park in White City, Oregon is perched 1,000 feet above the country's deepest and clearest lake. The park offers boating and hiking and plenty of views from the lodge's decks. (undated)

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