Hotel Finds: Hiking

For hikers who prefer hot showers, soft pillows and a strong beverage at the end of their trek, we have a few outstanding recommendations.

Moonlight Lodge

Moonlight Basin, Montana
Near Yellowstone National Park

Cowboy Heaven cabins are popular with guests at Moonlight Lodge, near Yellowstone National Park.

Horseback riding is one of the many activities offered at the Lodge.

Tired Hikers seeking a bit of pampering will especially appreciate Moonlight Lodge. Montana’s panoramic mountains and big skies make for an even more appealing package. And while many visitors may come primarily to visit Yellowstone, the lodge offers many activities as well, from golfing, kayaking, rock climbing, and rafting, to fly fishing. Trips to the local rodeo are also popular with guests. A full spa is on the property, offering a variety of treatments and massage.

Moonlight Basin Spa exterior

The rustic lobby complete with mountain goats!

The lodge is especially know for its Mountain Concierge Service, available 24/7 to “help with every detail of your visit.” Guests particularly enjoy the “Moonlight on the Madison Luxury Camping” which provides an afternoon of fishing on the Madison River, bocce ball, music, and a teepee for the kids. As the sun sets, a gourmet dinner is served with a choice of grilled local meats and seasonal produce, along with a wine list.

Fine dining is provided at the Timbers Restaurant, while a deli and cafe have lighter fare and breakfast. Lodging options range from spacious private homes, 4-bedroom lofts, 2/3 bedroom townhouses and cozy 2-bedroom cabins. All have full kitchens, fireplaces, and access to pools and hot tubs. Day and evening care facilities are available for children.

Four Seasons Resort - Jackson Hole

7680 Granite Loop Road, Teton Village, Wyoming
Near Yellowstone National Park

Main Lobby

Westbank Grill

This magnificently located Four Seasons has an extensive list of recreational activities. High on the list of most-requested items are visits to the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. But also popular are the National Elk Refuge -- with the largest herd in the world -- and the Jackson Hole Rodeo. Horseback riding, whitewater float trips, hot air balloon rides, and bungee trampolines round out the options.

The spa facility offers 16 treatment rooms, including two private spa suites — each with a Swiss shower, fireplace and deep soaking tub. The treatment area also features separate men’s and women’s tranquility lounges with fireplaces. Energy bars, tea and a variety of other amenities are available at this lavish Jackson Hole spa.

Outdoor fireplace

Resort Residence - Valley view

The resort makes catering to families a special priority. Activities just for children include: Environmental awareness programs, hiking, swimming, science and art projects. Kids receive Explorer Backpacks with a compass, binoculars, sun photo paper, and exploration boxes. Special children’s menus can be served at either the lodge restaurants or for in-room dining. Use of highchairs, playpens, strollers, baby joggers is complimentary as is baby shampoo, wash, lotion and emergency baby supplies: diapers, formula, bottles and bottle warmers.

The resort’s restaurant specializes in prime steaks and fresh seafood. The extensive wine list includes 25 wines by the glass as well as a selection of organic wines. And the rooms -- when you finally get to them -- are generously-sized, with fireplaces, attractive dark wood and natural stone finishes. Most accommodations open to a private balcony or terrace, overlooking Jackson Hole’s famed Teton Village.

El Tovar Hotel

Desert View Dr., Grand Canyon Village, Arizona
Grand Canyon National Park

El Tovar Hotel on the south rim of the Grand Canyon

South rim of the Grand Canyon

Situated on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, the hotel was designed by Charles Whittlesey, Chief Architect of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway. El Tovar was one of a chain of hotels operated in conjunction with the railway. Now a registered National Historic Landmark, this "architectural crown jewel of the Grand Canyon" was built in 1905 of Oregon pine logs and native stone. The hotel’s jaw-dropping views and on-site location ensure that rooms are constantly filled. The restaurant is quite good as well, so be sure to book in advance for both rooms and dining availability.

Grand Canyon Lodge

Hwy. 67, 10 Albright St., North Rim, Arizona
Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon Lodge at Bright Angel Point on the North Rim

This hotel and cabin complex is located at Bright Angel Point on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Lodging options include small, rustic cabins -- 178 in all -- along with 40 rooms in the main lodge. The original architect, Gilbert Stanley Underwood was employed by the Union Pacific Railroad to design resort hotels. Underwood purposefully designed the stonework to appear like natural rock.

The main lodge building is set slightly downhill into the side of the canyon and is the complex's central feature. The building has locally quarried Kaibab limestone walls and timbered ceilings made from peeled Ponderosa pine. The restaurant and bar are located in the main lodge as well as individual rooms. Hand-carved Aspen lodge furniture completes the rustic atmosphere. Spectacular views can be had from every angle.

Ahwahnee Hotel

Ahwahnee Road, Yosemite Village, California
Yosemite National Park

Spectacular views of Yosemite National Park

The Ahwahnee Hotel in winter

A National Historic Landmark, and a member of Historic Hotels of America, the AAA Four-Diamond Ahwahnee was also designed by Union Pacific Railroad architect, Gilbert Stanley Underwood. Underwood chose the site for its views of Yosemite’s iconic sights: Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and Glacier Point. He also wanted a southern exposure to allow for natural heating.

Due to its remote location, the construction of The Ahwahnee was the most complex trucking endeavor of its day. Over 5,000 tons of stone, 1,000 tons of steel, and 30,000 feet of timber were hauled over challenging mountain roads. To protect The Ahwahnee from fire, a fate of many of the park's earlier hotels, concrete was poured into rough-hewn wooden forms and stained to look like redwood.

Antique art and a roaring fire in the Ahwahnee Hotel lobby

The award-winning dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows, chandeliers, and fine crystal

The Ahwahnee accommodations include 123 handsomely appointed guest rooms, including 99 hotel rooms, parlors and suites and 24 cottages. Luxury hotel amenities, including full concierge, turndown service and guest bathrobes, are standard here. There is also an afternoon tea service, unique gift shop, pastry shop, and a year-round outdoor heated swimming pool.

The award-winning Ahwahnee Dining Room is both magnificent and intimate. The 34-foot-high beamed ceiling with large sugar pine trestles that complement the room’s granite pillars, floor-to-ceiling windows, chandeliers, linen tablecloths and beautiful china create the perfect ambiance for a memorable dining experience.

Lake Placid Lodge

Whiteface Inn Road, Lake Placid, New York
Adirondacks and Thousand Islands

The Adirondacks are made up of 46 mountains and 3,000 lakes.

Stunning Lake Placid Lodge was built in the classic Arts and Crafts tradition

The award-winning Artisans Restaurant at Lake Placid Lodge

The Adirondack Park has 46 mountains over 4,000 feet high, 3,000 lakes and 30,000 miles of river and stream. So, there’s plenty to explore and enjoy in the area. Lake Placid, one of the largest of the Adirondack lakes, and host for the 1980 Olympics, has only the one hotel, Lake Placid Lodge. Built by hand in the Arts and Crafts tradition this luxury property is a member of the Relais & Châteaux group.

The Lodge offers thirteen rooms and seventeen cabins at the water’s edge. Each has a stone fireplace and dazzling views of either the woods or Lake Placid. Supremely comfortable featherbeds, twig-and-bark furniture-including many one-of-a-kind pieces created by local artisans are furnishings. Some rooms have balconies. Lodge suites include a sitting room with an additional fireplace, a bathroom with a large soaking tub, and either a private balcony or patio.

A stay is pricey, but includes breakfast, afternoon tea, dinner, turndown service, and all activities on the property. During the summer months, visitors may tour Lake Placid aboard the property’s 35' mahogany Hacker-Craft. Electric boats are also available as are canoes. And the hiking, of course, is endless.

Supremely comfortable featherbeds and one-of-a-kind furniture add charm.

Spa visits could include any of these massages: Sports, Traditional Swedish, Deep Tissue, Reflexology, Couples, Aromatherapy, and Maternity. If culinary school is your preference, group and private sessions are available. Classes include: Stocks & Sauces, Seafood, Hand Making Pastas, Canapés, Souffles, and Grilling. And all classes come with Sommelier-paired wines!

Not surprisingly, the Lodge has award-winning dining. Artisans Restaurant extends out on wide balconies in warm weather, making diners feel as if they’re out on the lake. A full a la carte and 7 course tasting menu based on regional ingredients is offered nightly. An exceptional wine collection ranges from modest to illustrious. And, for extra-romance, wine cellar dining can be arranged for special occasions. Although, every day will be special in this exceptionally beautiful setting.