4 National Park Lodges Perfect for Escaping the Cold
Winter’s great, but sometimes, you just want to escape the freezing temperatures and head somewhere a bit warmer.
These national parks offer an escape from the cold — and the crowds! They’re perfect getaways during off-season, when visitation drops.
There's nothing like the feeling of having the whole outdoors to yourself at these four national park lodges, which are open all winter long.
Charit Creek Lodge
Straddling the border between Kentucky and Tennessee, Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area is an off-the-beaten path spot with an abundance of wild forests, mountains, and streams. Right in the middle of it all, you'll find the Charit Creek Lodge, where you can choose between wood cabins and dormitory-style rooms. Despite being far from civilization — the only way to get there is by foot, bike, or horseback — the lodge offers a full range of rustic amenities, including wood-burning stoves, lanterns, restrooms, showers, beds, and linens. Meals are provided, and stables are available for guests who arrive on horseback. The shortest route to the lodge is a 1.1-mile multi-use trail, but there are plenty of detours along the way.
Chisos Mountains Lodge
Big Bend National Park in Texas has a lot of things going for it: rugged mountain views, abundant wildlife, and some of the clearest night skies in America. It’s also home to the Chisos Mountains Lodge, a beautiful mountain getaway with more than 70 rooms at an elevation of 5,400 feet. Hotel, motel, and lodge-style rooms are available, but the Roosevelt Stone Cottages are your best bet. All five cottages are built of beautiful wood and stone, with amenities ranging from refrigerators and coffee pots to free Wi-Fi and private showers. Two cottages are pet-friendly, and each one accommodates up to six people. Meanwhile, hotel, motel, and lodge rooms sleep three to four.
Lake Powell Resort
Offering some of the best fishing and boating opportunities in the Southwest, Lake Powell is the crown jewel of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The orange canyon walls towering above the clear blue water are truly an impressive sight, and at the Lake Powell Resort, that sight is right outside your window. Lake Powell Resort is a modern vacation spot in every sense of the word. You can choose from several room styles, but they all include HDTV, wireless Internet, mini refrigerators, Keurig coffee makers, and quite a few other contemporary perks. Plus, the winter months offer arguably the most agreeable climate of the year, with mild temperatures and light breezes blowing in off the lake.
Volcano House Hotel
Perched at the rim of the Kilauea caldera, the Volcano House Hotel offers a one-of-a-kind experience if ever there were one. The hotel is a stone's throw from some of the most active volcanoes in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park — rest assured, constant monitoring makes unexpected eruptions nearly impossible — with 33 historic guest rooms, a dining room, a lounge, and easy access to the park's many trails and scenic driving routes. The hotel rooms are modern and luxurious, but camper cabins are also available if you prefer something a little more rustic.
Take advantage of the season! Year-round accommodations at these national park lodges offer a chance to experience some of our most unforgettable national parks in a new way.
For more great ideas on where to stay in and around national parks, get your free Owner’s Guide, “Gimme Shelter.” The guide is packed with 25 awe-inspiring places to stay while exploring national parks across the country.
Photo Credits: Volcano House, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park/Hawai'i Volcanoes Lodge Company; Charit Creek Lodge, Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area/National Park Service