Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park share many things in common: unforgettable hikes, natural rock formations to jump start your imagination, sparkling clear air, and two really nice hotels, one each right in the middle of each park. If you're seeking an outdoor experience complete with gorgeous trails and a comfortable bed at night, Bryce Canyon and Zion have what you want.
Although there are plenty of hotels to choose from around each park, ranging from semi-decent to five-star, only the Bryce Canyon Lodge and the Zion Lodge are actually located inside each national park's boundaries. For many visitors, that's draw enough right there. Come for a visit to appreciate these amazing national parks under the open skies, then relax under a roof at night. It's the best of both worlds.
Bryce Canyon Lodge
Built in the 1920s, the Bryce Canyon Lodge offers up a gracious, sophisticated elegance without being snooty. After all, it's located at 9,000 feet in a stunning natural setting–leave any pretensions at the door. The Lodge showcases a sort of rustic elegance feel, complete with replica hickory furniture, stone walls, and a spacious porch.
Lodge at Bryce Canyon cabins — Photo courtesy of j0055
This National Historic Landmark lodging offers suites, regular rooms, and detached cabins, some of which feature soaring cathedral ceilings. Two particularly notable features reflect the national park surroundings: none of the rooms has a television set, and every room (as well as the common areas) has a recycling bin in an effort to encourage people to properly dispose of recyclables and help save the earth along the way.
Besides being located right inside Bryce Canyon National Park itself, another huge perk to the Lodge is its onsite dining room. The dishes are pricy but worth it, as the food is quite a step up from just about everything else in the nearby towns. With their sustainable menu focused on local, organic, and safe ocean practices as much as possible, the restaurant appeals to everyone out there who likes to lead or at least sometimes contribute to a green lifestyle. And if you have a hankering to hike, they'll whip you up a nice little box lunch to take with you on the trail.
With its 1920s build date, the original Zion Lodge must have been a sight to behold. Alas, it burned down in the 1960s and did not regain its classic appearance until 1990. But you will be fooled when you see its beguiling exterior framed against Zion Canyon's tremendous rock walls.
Zion Lodge — Photo courtesy of Ken Lund
Seventy-five regular rooms are available inside the Lodge, some of which feature their own private porches or balconies. If you fancy one of the six suites for your party you'll get a sitting room, wet bar, and a 37-inch flat screen TV to stay in touch with the rest of the world after your day's outdoor adventure. The separate darling little cabins, 40 all told, each sport a full bath, private porch, and a gas log fireplace. Talk about charming ambiance!
For your dining needs, the Red Rock Grill is right on the premises to whip up a tasty Southwestern style meal. Prices are a bit high, but dress is casual since many people roll in right off the trail. Reservations are required for dinner, but you may just walk in for breakfast and lunch. The best thing about the Red Rock Grill is the view: huge windows frame the splendor of Zion National Park right outside.