Expanding railroads, eccentric millionaires, and the Works Progress Administration spent the early part of the twentieth century constructing luxurious lodges at the edge of the country's wildest areas. Today, those historic hotels help visitors experience beautiful places in the same way their parents and their parents' parents did before them and serve as a reminder that a deep love for our natural bounty has been one of the few constants of American life.
Here are the most memorable lodges still standing.
Sperry Chalet is not for everyone: The extremely rustic lodge is accessible only by foot or horseback and a difficult climb for even the happiest hikers. But it's worth the effort. Opened in 1914, the chalet may be the best place to meditate on the beauty of Glacier National Park – there are, after all, very few distractions. Guest rooms have no electricity, heat, or water much less television and the restroom facility has no hot water. That said, the views are magnificent and no one expects guests to dress up before meals in the dining room. [From $201 per person in high season; sperrychalet.com]