Thinking of spending some time in a national park this winter? That wouldn't be a bad idea, as crowds, and lodging rates, are typically down.
Too, the change in seasons can bring about differences in the parks. When forests thick with deciduous trees lose their leaves, the landscape seems different. The different angles of the sun in winter, compared to summer, can produce nuances in lighting the landscape, and in some parks, such as Yellowstone and Grand Teton, winter drives wildlife down from the high country to bottom lands, often making animals easier to see.
Of course, winter also can place some parts of parks off-limits. For instance, the only way you’ll reach the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park in winter is on skis or snowshoes, and the only accommodations will be the tent you packed in. But the South Rim is open for business as usual with much more elbow room and lower rates than you’ll find in summer.
With the much
cooler weather – snowstorms aren’t out of the question, even in Arizona
– hikes into the canyon are much more tolerable than in summer, though you do
need to watch for ice in the wake of storms. The air also seems crisper, making
views into the canyon from Moran Point, Yaki Point and Hopi Point truly
Within a short walk of the brink of the South Rim this winter you'll be able to find a room for as little as $76 per night for two at the two-story Maswik South or the single-story Yavapai West lodges. These aren’t elegant accommodations, but they’re not Spartan, either. And really, you’re here for the views, not to hole up in a room, right?
If lodging really is your thing, the stately El Tovar Hotel, a national historic landmark, offers a $274 “Romance Package” that gets you one night in a standard queen room with a bottle of sparkling wine and a basket of fruit in your room, and dinner for two with another bottle of wine. To qualify for this deal, when booking your stay via www.grandcanyonlodges.com or 888-297-2757, mention the “ROMA” promotional code.