Tag Archives: Grand Canyon National Park

America’s Open Spaces Filling Fast: How to Book Lodging at Some of America’s Most Popular National Parks This Summer

The historic Inn at Death Valley is quite literally in an oasis within Death Valley National Park © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Americans are discovering their national parks.  Death ValleyGlacier, Grand Canyon South Rim, Yellowstone and Zion are booking up fast for summer, fall vacations and winter (all the above except Glacier are open in the winter).  Here’s a cheat sheet on these parks for summer 2021:

Zion 

Named for the Hebrew word “refuge,” Zion National Park in Utah is one of the most beautiful places on earth with its apricot-colored canyon and is open year-round.  Zion is famed for seemingly endless breathtaking views. Only 166 miles from Las Vegas, the juxtaposition of city versus nature could not be more apparent.

The best place to enjoy a stay in the park is Zion Lodge. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Zion Lodge offers 76 hotel rooms, six suites, and 40 historic cabins, originally designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood in the 1920s.
 
Find everything you need to know about making a reservation at Zion Lodge by visiting zionlodge.com.

Glacier

Glacier will Open from May 14 to September 22, 2021
 

Known for its seemingly endless acres of rugged and breathtaking landscapes, Glacier National Park was established in 1910 and stands today as a monument to wild natural places. In 1932 Glacier National Park was designated as part of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. Today, it remains a symbol of shared stewardship and a testament to the important and deep-rooted relationship between Canada and the U.S. Just as the landscape and wildlife are part of the heritage of Glacier National Park, so are the historic lodges and classic Red Buses and their drivers known as “jammers.”  Glacier is exceptionally popular and has a very short season due to its location and the weather.  This year the season will open on May 14, 2021 and close on September 22, 2021

Many Glacier Hotel is the largest hotel in the park, located in the “Switzerland of North America,′′ in the northeastern area of Glacier National Park. Outside, awe-inspiring majesty. Inside, a magnificent towering lobby. This classic Swiss chalet-style lodge is located 10 miles inside Glacier National Park’s west entrance on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, nestled on the shores of the largest lake inside the park.

Built in 1913, Lake McDonald Lodge has a picturesque location on the eastern shore of beautiful Lake McDonald with 82 guest rooms split between the three-story main lodge, a row of cabins, Snyder Hall and the exquisite Cobb House. Main lodge rooms are located on the second and third floors. Large/small cabin rooms are located along a tree-lined pathway adjacent to the lodge. This location presents visitors with Russell’s Fireside Dining Room, Jammer Joe’s Grill and Pizzeria, Lucke’s Lounge, Creekside Reading Room, Red Bus tours, boat cruises, horseback rides, evening ranger programs and numerous other activities.
 
Cedar Creek Lodge and Conference Center is a mountain lodge with modern style just outside of Glacier National Park. This property is a four-season destination inspired by the people, culture and landscapes of Montana.  Cedar Creek blends the comfort of a mountain lodge with modern style at the gateway to Glacier National Park in Columbia Falls. A rich sense of exhilaration infuses every experience, from fly fishing on Whitefish Lake and backcountry adventures in Glacier National Park to championship golf and more.
 
Visit glaciernationalparklodges.com for the most up-to-date information on what’s open and what’s available in the ever-changing post-vaccine world of COVID-19. 

Death Valley

 Death Valley in summer?  Absolutely.  The largest national park in the lower 48 states, Death Valley remains a popular destination to explore during the summer – even when extreme heat reigns supreme in the park’s 3.4 million acres. In a land of contrasts, The Oasis at Death Valley offers travelers unique experiences that many other resorts cannot, including a tranquil and cool respite in the desert.  A true American oasis with date palm trees, lush gardens, pools, and even a golf course, The Oasis at Death Valley is a unique and exotic resort in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It’s legendary not only for its location, but for the movies and movie stars on location (Clark Gable, Ronald Regan, George Lucas…).
 
In a world where location is everything, especially in a post-quarantine world, The Oasis at Death Valley is certainly in a “universe far, far away.” It’s 61 miles from the nearest town and sits within Death Valley National Park, the largest national park in the lower 48 states. At 3.4 million acres, that translates into about 710 acres of land per staff and guests.  Social distancing, and for that matter civilization distancing, is one of the resort’s primary features. Yet it is still very accessible – just a two-hour drive (120 miles) northwest of Las Vegas, NV and a four-and-a-half-hour drive (275 miles) northeast of Los Angeles, CA … in the middle of nowhere you’d rather be.  
 
Just off of a $100-million renaissance, The Oasis at Death Valley encompasses two hotels — The AAA Four-Diamond historic Inn at Death Valley  with 66 completely renovated rooms and 22 private casitas (outfitted with a personal golf cart) and the family-friendly Ranch at Death Valley where guest rooms that open directly to the outdoors and the spacious lawns, massive spring fed pool, and abundant open green space create an ideal environment to create your own adventure. The Ranch also features the lowest elevation golf course in the world (-214 feet below sea level) with some of the most spectacular views during the day, and a great location for stargazing in this “gold tier” dark sky park.
 
Visit oasisatdeathvalley.com for more information and reservations. 

See:

ROAD TRIP: DISCOVERING DEATH VALLEY’S TREASURES, RICHER THAN GOLD

ROAD TRIP: HITTING THE HIGHLIGHTS OF DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK

ROAD TRIP: SUNRISE, SUNSET IN DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK, NATURE’S GEOLOGIC ART GALLERY

Grand Canyon South Rim & Grand Canyon Railway

As the days get longer, peak season sets in at the Grand Canyon as many take advantage of family time afforded by their children’s summer vacation. 2021 is no different, and it’s clear that Americans have taken refuge in parks during the pandemic. The weather is warmer, but don’t let summer’s high temperatures deter you. The South Rim is a high desert with an altitude of 7,000 feet, so while summer days can find average temperatures in the 80s Fahrenheit, at night those temperatures can drop down to the 40s.
 
Longer hours of daylight ensure more time to enjoy Grand Canyon. Compared to less than 10 hours of daylight on the December 21 winter solstice, in the summertime, you’ll enjoy a surplus of daylight — nearly 15 hours of sunshine at its peak on the June 21 summer solstice. Those five extra hours can be filled with an array of activities which, in the summertime, should include watching Grand Canyon illuminated by the dawn’s early light.
 
Summer temperatures can wilt even the most experienced hikers, but you shouldn’t miss an opportunity to get a glimpse below the rim. In the summertime, that means taking a short walk from the trailhead at Bright Angel Trail in the must-see Historic Village) Since temperatures actually get higher as you walk lower into the canyon, be sure to bring plenty of water and salty and/or protein-rich snacks, wear appropriate clothing, pack sunscreen, and carry a walking stick or walking poles as you set off on a short hike either a few hundred feet or perhaps half a mile into the canyon.
 
The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel is 65 miles away in Williams, AZ where the Grand Canyon Railway starts its daily roundtrips to the South Rim.  Grand Canyon Railway operates every day except Christmas and runs from Williams, AZ on historic Route 66 to the Historic Village inside Grand Canyon National Park, just steps from El Tovar, Hopi House, Bright Angel, and all the attractions found at South Rim.  Trains leave in the morning and return late afternoon, affording guests more than 3 hours at the Grand Canyon South Rim. The train is comprised of six classes of service from historic Pullman and coach cars to luxury dome cars with beverages and tastings and even features an open rear platform observation car.  It is possible to charter your own private luxury railroad cars on this train as well. 
 
Several packages make a trip to Grand Canyon easier than ever:

  • The Longer You Stay, the More You Save: All guests staying at any of the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams, AZ, or at The South Rim at Grand Canyon through August 31 can earn the rewards of a long weekend stay. For a one-night stay, guests will receive 10 percent off the rack rate. A two-night stay equals a 20% savings and three or more nights will result in a 30% discount. All rates are per room for one or two people and guests input the promo code when making their reservation! Book here: thetrain.com/offers-packages/discounts
  • Summer Getaway Package: Save up to 30% off the train fare in conjunction with these 1- or 2-night packages. The Summer Getaway Packages include either 1- or 2-nights of accommodations in the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel plus 1 dinner and 1 breakfast at the Fred Harvey Restaurant per guest each night of your stay. The Summer Getaway Package is available June 1 through August 31, 2021*.  Book here: thetrain.com/offers-packages/popular
  • Charter Your Own Train, or Private Railway Car: It is also possible to charter an entire luxury private railroad car or even an entire private train complete with chefs, bartenders, entertainers, and staff. These are ideal for “milestone” moments such as graduations, family reunions, anniversaries, weddings, birthdays, etc. For charters call 928-635-5700 or visit thetrain.com/charters.

For more information visit thetrain.com.

Yellowstone 

Yellowstone National Park Lodges Delays the Opening of Most Operations to April and May 2021 

Based on the guidance and recommendations of public health agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Park Service, we are modifying the opening schedule of our operations and beginning with a first phase of limited services for Summer 2021.

As health and safety guidelines allow, we hope to open additional lodging and services as part of the second phase of our Summer 2021 operations. At this point, we are not able to predict when this might happen but will provide updates as they are available.   Hotel, lodges and cabins will start to come on line and open beginning on April 30 with the Mammoth Hotel.   Campgrounds will begin to open on May 14. Dining will be take-out only starting on April 15 at the Geyser Grill.


For the most updated information, visit yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/summer2021/.

Xanterra Travel Collection (www.xanterra.com) is the management company that oversees lodgings – including the campsites, cabins and lodges – in many of the most popular national parks, including the most iconic hotels, like El Tovar in the Grand Canyon, the Inn at Death Valley, Zion Lodge and the historic hotels and lodges in Yellowstone. For information about what’s open, what services will be available, reservations as well as any travel guidelines in this post-quarantine world, go to https://www.xanterra.com/contact/national-parks/.

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Bike, Hike & Camp Along Grand Canyon North Rim with Escape Adventures

Escape Adventures is offering a family-friendly, 5-day camping and mountain bike adventure that includes riding singletrack to Monument Point, hiking into the canyon on backcountry trails, pedaling across Kaibab Plateau, and conquering Rainbow Rim trail before descending to Indian Hollow.

(Las Vegas, NV) — While most of North America reels under hot summertime temperatures, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon offers a wonderful high-altitude escape. Providing gently rolling terrain of lung-expanding dimensions, the North Rim has been long-held as sacred ground to hikers and cyclists alike. Escape Adventures is offering a family-friendly,  5-day camping and mountain bike adventure that includes riding singletrack to Monument Point, hiking into the canyon on backcountry trails, pedaling across Kaibab Plateau, and conquering Rainbow Rim trail before descending to Indian Hollow. Prices for this adventure start at $1,195 per person and multiple departures are available July 13th through October 4th, 2020. For more info, call 800.596.2953 or visit https://escapeadventures.com/tour/grand-canyon-north-rim-mountain-bike-tour/

“For trekkers and active travelers of all levels, this tour is nothing less than the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Escape Adventures Founder Jared Fisher. “Gazing over the Canyon’s 9,200-ft North Rim, the immediate reaction of our guests runs from fear to reverie, and all agree that the old Arizona and Rainbow Rim Trails are the best ways to experience the Grand Canyon.”

Concealed in big Ponderosa pines and shimmering Aspen groves, the trail through Kaibab National Forest wends to a place that few have visited: the East Rim view. Trails brimming with wildflowers lead riders to exhilarating hikes along the rim. Crossing over to the west side of the plateau, guests camp alongside one of the most scenic mountain bike paths in the world, the Rainbow Rim Trail. It connects five large “Points” of land that overhang the canyon and the Arizona Strip. The five “Points” are Parissawampitts, Fence, Locust, North Timp and Timp.

Escape Adventures selects well-maintained public campgrounds with scenic vistas and comfortable arrangements. Guests will move seamlessly from one day of the trip to the next, enjoying wildly healthy, delicious homemade meals. Most of the campgrounds feature indoor facilities and showers. Conversely, in more remote backcountry camping scenarios, Escape Adventures provides portable toilets and private solar showers.

All internal land expenses and services are covered in the cost of the tour. All transportation, food preparation, meals (except where noted on itineraries), snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, group supplies and community gear (portable chairs, large awnings, coolers, utensils, etc.) are included. Backcountry permits, licenses, park fees, reservations, and accommodations are also included, along with at least two professionally trained trip leaders, a mobile first aid and mechanic station, spare bikes, and a support vehicle(s). Trip price does not include airfare, lodging prior to trip start or bicycle rental and/or camping gear unless otherwise noted on itinerary or website.

Daily Itinerary:

Day 1-2: Meet in St. George. Shuttle to Kaibab Lodge then ride singletrack to alpine East Rim camp for two nights. Ride to Monument Point, short hike into the Grand Canyon on backcountry hiking trail.

Day 3-4: Ride across Kaibab Plateau to beautiful backcountry camp on the Rim for two nights. Ride the Rainbow Rim singletrack.

Day 5: Descend to Indian Hollow on the west side of the Plateau to spectacular vista. Shuttle back to St. George.

Since 1992, Escape Adventures has lead adventure travel vacations through some of the most awe-inspiring natural destinations in the world. Building on over 100 destinations, Escape Adventures caters to the full spectrum of active traveler, respective to fitness level and activity type, from road cyclist to mountain biker to electric biker, hiker, and multi-sport enthusiast, and from first timer to friends and family groups of all ability levels. https://escapeadventures.com/

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Xanterra Has Rare Availability at National Parks; Offering 30% Savings For Limited Time

View from South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Vacationers can stay on the south rim of the majestic Grand Canyon in the renowned and historic El Tovar hotel and receive 30 percent off from Xanterra for a limited time. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

“There is rare availability in the national parks this summer,” observes Betsy O’Rourke, the Chief Marketing Officer for Xanterra, the company that runs the concessions, lodging and many of the activities in national parks including Death Valley, Grand Canyon (South Rim), Zion.  There are even the occasional cancellations, and thus availability of lodging in Glacier and Yellowstone.
 
“The fact is, people come from all over the world to experience the U.S. national parks, and with limited air travel and closed borders this year, those vacationers are not able to come, freeing up rooms in some of the greatest outdoor places on earth.”  Now that parks are officially opening, for a limited time savvy travelers can book and save up to 30%.
   
For example, vacationers can stay on the south rim of the majestic Grand Canyon in the renowned and historic El Tovar hotel and receive 30 percent off for a limited time.  Even the legendary Grand Canyon Railway that runs from Williams, Arizona on Route 66 to within footsteps of El Tovar and the South Rim of Grand Canyon is 30 percent off.  The same is true at The Oasis in Death Valley, a true American oasis with water bursting from the ground (the resort even has a golf course, the lowest on earth) and bask in a 30 percent savings.  And Zion Lodge is also offering 30% off for a limited time.

For information about what’s open, what services will be available, reservations as well as any travel guidelines in this post-quarantine world, access www.xanterra.com.
 
So, pick your park, save up to 30 percent and take advantage of what nature has to offer, and rare summer openings when the skies are quiet and we’re all looking for someplace great to go that’s outdoors, beautiful and happens to be the trip of a lifetime.   Visit www.xanterra.com
for reservations and information.

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Western River Expeditions Re-Opens with Limited Availability on Previously Sold-Out 2020 Grand Canyon Rafting Trips

Western River Expeditions is offering limited availability on previously sold-out
2020 Grand Canyon rafting trips.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – With the official announcement from Grand Canyon authorities that river operations will again resume on June 14, many are looking to get a spot on an epic outdoor adventure this summer.
 
Snagging seats on 2020 Grand Canyon rafting trips was impossible just a few months ago. However, pandemic-driven cancellations by international travelers has opened up seats for some of Western River Expeditions’ 2020 departures.
 
“Select departures June through September of 2020 now have limited availability,” said Brandon Lake, company CMO. “Normally last-minute inquiries would be directed to 2021 or even 2022 selections. This is an incredible opportunity for those who are making last-minute plans and feel like an outdoor adventure may be the best choice for a summer adventure this year.”
 
Vacations that embrace fresh air and the healing powers of nature can work wonders on pandemic-driven nerves. “On these iconic expeditions our guests immerse themselves in a remote world that provides a much-needed escape from civilization,” explains Lake. “A trip through the Grand Canyon becomes not only a celebration of the river and its untamed surroundings, but of life, providing a way to reconnect and refresh.”
 
This is Western River Expeditions’ promise for a true trip-of-a-lifetime far removed from the stress and challenges of today’s world. The more time spent on the river, the more the canyon reveals its sublime mysteries.
 
Western River Expeditions’ 6 or 7 Day Grand Canyon Rafting Vacation carries guests 188 river miles in custom-designed J-Rig rafts, maneuvering Class III-V rapids and each day descending deeper into geologic time, before a helicopter transports them back to the rim.
 
Their Grand Canyon 4 Day River & Ranch Tour and Grand Canyon 3 Day Lower Canyon Trip brings visitors down 100 river miles over Class II and III rapids. But first there’s a scenic helicopter ride to access the put-in. Guests on the 4-Day tour enjoy a pre-excursion overnight at Bar 10 Ranch on the North Rim of the Canyon, complete with horseback riding and optional ATV adventures.
 
Western River Expeditions for nearly 60 years has operated five-star-quality river rafting vacations. This year they are also applying their decades of professionalism to pandemic-related challenges. (For more details on Western River Expeditions’ protocols see https://www.westernriver.com/covid-19.)
 
Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. Annually from March through October it escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is one of the largest licensed outfitters in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT, through its division Moab Adventure Center (http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/).
 
Western River Expeditions, providing Grand Canyon rafting, Utah and Idaho rafting, and international multi-sport trips, was founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting pioneer Jack Currey. It has been named one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by the editors of National Geographic Adventure magazine. The company is the proud recipient of the “Best of State” award through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program for the past sixteen consecutive years (2004-2019). 

For a copy of Western River Expeditions’ 2020/2021 catalog, questions, availability and reservations call toll-free: 866-904-1160 (Local: 801-942-6669) or visit http://www.westernriver.com/.

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Six National Park Getaways this Summer

Red Reflet Ranch is a 28,000-acre luxury resort and working ranch on the west slope of the Bighorn Mountains, minutes from the Bighorn National Forest and a scenic three hour drive from Yellowstone National Park.

National parks across the country are in the process of reopening, with iconic destinations like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone already accessible to visitors. The National Park Service system received more than 327.5 million visits in 2019, and based on recent travel data, the parks could be even more desirable this summer as people look to get away after spending weeks under stay-at-home orders. Travelers are pivoting away from metropolitan areas and heading to the great outdoors. Here are six vacation ideas that include easy access to some of America’s greatest national parks: 

Hike & Bike North Rim of the Grand Canyon: Providing gently rolling terrain of lung-expanding dimensions, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon has been long-held as sacred ground to hikers and cyclists. Escape Adventures offers an amazing 5-day tour of the North Rim that includes mountain biking, trekking and camping. Trails brimming with wildflowers lead guests to exhilarating hikes along the rim. Crossing over to the west side of the plateau, guests camp alongside one of the most scenic mountain bike paths in the world, the Rainbow Rim Trail. (https://escapeadventures.com/tour/grand-canyon-north-rim-mountain-bike-tour/)

Remote Dude Ranch Getaway: Red Reflet Ranch is a 28,000-acre luxury resort and working ranch on the west slope of the Bighorn Mountains, just minutes from the Bighorn National Forest. It is a scenic three hour drive from Yellowstone National Park. The closest sign of civilization is Ten Sleep, Wyoming, with a population of about 260. Guests stay in their own private chalets, and family-friendly activities include horseback riding, ATVing, ziplining, swimming, fishing, shooting, and indulging in gourmet farm-to-table cuisine. The ranch is open for business now. (https://red-reflet-ranch.net/)

Grand Teton Tiny House Retreat:  Just minutes from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Fireside Resort capitalizes on the tiny house craze and the classic appeal of rustic cottages by offering 25 pint-size, luxuriously outfitted tiny house rental units designed by Wheelhaus. The resort is located a stone’s throw from Grand Teton National Park and the Jackson Hole ski slopes. It is a great place to post up for a ski trip or a summer getaway.  (https://www.firesidejacksonhole.com/)

Big Sky Base Camp: If outdoor adventures like hiking, mountain biking, and fly fishing are your style, look to visit Big Sky, Montana and stay at The Wilson Hotel. Located on the edge of Yellowstone National Park, the town is home to Big Sky Resort and its 5,850 acres of ski terrain, as well as shaded forests, wildflower-filled meadows, rocky mountaintops and clear, cool rivers and streams. (bigskyresort.com)

Bryce & Zion by MTB: Soaring red stone spires and ancient citadels of rich Navajo sandstone give way to haunting hoodoos and curving arches of rock  a geologist’s dream and a mountain biker’s paradise. The rides on this 6-day Escape Adventures tour offer swift lines that wind and wend through deep Alpine meadows and Aspen forests only to spill out onto yawning mesas and buttes. The world-famous trails of Red Canyon’s Thunder Mountain, Cassidy, and Casto Canyon, are but a few of this tour’s many highlights. (https://escapeadventures.com/tour/bryce-and-zion-mountain-bike-tour/)

Great Parks North: Join the Adventure Cycling Association on its Great Parks North Route. This tour follows the Rocky Mountains from Missoula, Montana, to Jasper, Alberta, exploring some the most spectacular national parks the U.S. and Canada has to offer. Great Parks North will highlight Glacier NP, Waterton NP, Banff NP, and Jasper NP. (https://www.adventurecycling.org/guided-tours/self-contained-tours/2020-great-parks-north/

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