At a Glance
If you’re lucky enough to score one of the coveted cabins located inside Zion National Park, you happily forgo top-end luxuries for this extraordinary location.
- Waking up inside Zion National Park, hours ahead of the hikers who arrive via the shuttle
- The sweet, old-school lunch bags prepared by the restaurant for hikers
The first thing you realize on the homepage of the Zion Lodge (the only hotel accommodation inside Zion National Park) is the fact that it takes reservations more than a year in advance. This gives you an idea of how nearly impossible it is to reserve here. If you are lucky enough to get a cabin, don’t start shopping around for other options: just book. The Lodge is by far the most coveted place to stay (unless you’re into camping), as it allows travelers to sleep inside the park, in the center of a canyon. Guests are the only people allowed to drive inside the park during the season (everyone else is relegated to an excellent shuttle bus service).
The Western Cabins are not freestanding (they are duplexes or fourplexes) and remind of a children’s drawing: thick wooden beams, beds with Navajo-inspired throws, gas fireplaces, ceiling fans and a small porch with a wooden bench. Bathrooms are small but adequate (you won’t be spending much time in the rooms anyhow). Walls are thin, but your neighbors will be fellow hikers and outdoor enthusiast, so normally it’s a quiet bunch. Mid-day, the cabins make for a great spot to nap, change and recharge before an afternoon hike, one of the main disadvantages of staying outside the park.
The Lodge’s restaurant offers breakfast and will pack a classic boxed lunch for hikers (sandwich, including a PB&J option, cookies, apple, chips). Dinner is also available (the dining room seats 400), but the nearby town of Springdale has better food at less-lofty prices, and a more local vibe. Views, of course, cannot be beat, so at least come for a beer or glass of wine at the end of a hiking-heavy day and sit on the first-floor terrace while watching the rock-face turn crimson. As the pinks and purples give way to blues and blacks, you can’t help but feel privileged to be stargazing in midst of this special place, as you wander back to your cabin surrounded by the silent, majestic landscapes you explored during the day.
The Lodge also offers motel rooms, which are barebones, so you have to weigh how important it is to wake up inside the park and maybe decide you prefer a B&B in Springdale or a cabin at the Zion Mountain Ranch.
Written by Simone Girner