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.
Built in the twenties to draw wealthy tourists to Yosemite, The Ahwahnee offers spectacular views of Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and Glacier Point. Visitors can experience luxury and the great outdoors at the same time by relaxing in the Great Lounge or Solarium. The Ahwahnee Dining Room features a 34-foot-high ceiling, granite pillars, and floor-to-ceiling windows. The food is excellent, but dinner can feel like nothing more than a distraction from the view. [From $400, book well in advance; yosemitepark.com]