You are here

Reader Participation Day: Rate National Park Lodgings


Would recommend a stay at the Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park? Kurt Repanshek photo.

Travel season is here in some parts of the country, and quickly approaching in others. With that in mind, which lodges within the national parks would you gladly return to, and which will you never set foot in again?

This question applies to specific lodges, such as the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone or the Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier or Big Meadows Lodge in Shenandoah or even LeConte Lodge in Great Smoky, and not lodging concessionaires. After all, while one concessionaire might operate lodgings at a number of national parks, each of those properties might offer park travelers an entirely different experience.

Please keep that last sentence in mind as you consider this question.


We stayed at the Old Faithful Inn and the El Tovar this past year and loved it. Despite what you hear it is possibly to get a room by just walking up to the desk when you are there( probably not recommended though!)

Whenever I visit a national park, I try to make it a point to stay at any historic lodging within the park itself. I've stayed at Far View Lodge in Mesa Verde National Park, CO, and Lake McDonald Lodge, Glacier Park Lodge, Rising Sun Motor Hotel, and the Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park, Montana. While spending a week in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, I stayed at the Bright Angel Lodge, and I've spent a couple of nights each at the Paradise Inn at the Paradise area, as well as the National Park Inn at Longmire, both within Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington. Each of those places have their own special ambience, and all of my rooms were clean and bright with all of the amenities that I needed for my stay (bed, bathroom, desk for my laptop since I am a photographer, and in some cases even a coffee maker and mini-fridge). Most of the time, I was also lucky enough to get a view room with a balcony for those evenings when I wanted to relax outside with a beer in my hand. My favorite place out of all of these, though, is the Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier NP. It's located in my favorite part of that park, and is a beautiful piece of historic architecture.

Whenever my wife and I have visited a park over the past 20+ years, we always try to stay with the in-park lodging so we've been to quite a few. Here are our favorites and not so favorites:

Favs (in no particular order):

-Crater Lake Lodge

-Paradise Inn

-Oregon Caves Chateau

-Zion Lodge

Less than Favs:

-Many Glacier (liked the Lodge but we wound up in a drafty room)

-Mammoth Cave Hotel (room smelled musty and moldy back in '95)

-Grand Canyon North Rim Cabins (small, creaky, drafty)

-Badlands Cedar Pass Lodge (somehow we wound up in the Dollhouse cabin which was quite small since both of us are over 6' tall)

Hopefully the Less than Favs list has benefitted from some renovations since we last visited. We'll just have to go back and compare someday.

I would happily spend the night again in a number of lodgings at Yellowstone, including the hotel at Mammoth and the Old Faithful Inn, and the OF lodge cabins (I was once lucky enough to get cabin #200 which has a view of Old Faithful geyser from the front step) and the Mammoth cabins. They're clean, well-maintained, and the help is very pleasant.

You won't ever, ever, ever again catch me in those dirty, over-crowded, badly-maintained, incredibly overpriced (over $100 a night when the OF lodge cabins cost about $75 for something worth about three times as much as those tents) tent cabins at Curry Village in Yosemite again. Ever.

For our family, the Old Faithful Inn is our home away from home! During the Inn's Centennial in 2004 my brother-in-law and sister-in-law had a small cameo in "Yellowstone: The World's First National Park" that was being filmed. They are on the Veranda upstairs pointing at Old Faithful. We love the "Old House" section most and community bathrooms don't bother us a bit! During the Winter, the Snow Lodge is extra special to us since we have made lots of Yellowstone Winter memories!

The Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park is utterly amazing! The views are indescribable! One of our favorite things to do after a day of hitting the trails is to go downstairs to the Mountain House and catch local Singer/Songwriter, David Walburn performing one of his multi-media shows! The restoration of the Ptarmigan Room was fun to see! Glacier Park Lodge in East Glacier is wonderful, the grounds, the Lobby and the rich history of the Blackfeet Nation make this another of my favorites!

In 2011, we stayed at El Tovar in the Grand Canyon for the very first time and it was thrilling to be right on the Canyon! Later we stayed at the Bryce Canyon Lodge in the John Wesley Powell Suite, that was a pleasurable experience too! There are really great cabins with fireplaces as well!

In Yosemite, we love the Wawona Hotel! We've stayed in the Washburn Cottage as well as the Main Building. The gentleman (Mr Tom Bopp I believe) that plays the piano downstairs in the Lobby is very talented. Also their Breakfast Buffet is one of the best!!

Connie Hopkins

Add comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide