If you've got time to squeeze in a fall visit to a national park, here's some good news: There's quite a bit of lodging available in places such as Crater Lake, Yellowstone, Zion, Grand Canyon, and Death Valley national parks.
While shoulder seasons in the parks are stretching out, both before Memorial Day and after Labor Day, those off-season months still offer a lot of lodging availability, and a lot of sights to enjoy in the parks.
According to the folks at Xanterra Parks & Resorts:
* Crater Lake Lodge has availability beginning in late September until it closes October 17;
* Yellowstone National Park’s nine lodges close between late September and mid-October. While the staggered closing schedule is timed to coincide with decreasing guest demand, many of the lodges – including the always-popular Old Faithful Inn and the nearby Old Faithful Snow Lodge – have open dates between Oct. 1 and their respective closing dates of Oct. 17 and Oct. 25. Other lodges that currently have available rooms the week before they close are Canyon Lodge, Grant Village, Lake Yellowstone Hotel, Lake Lodge and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel.
* In Zion National Park, Zion Lodge is open year-round and has many open rooms beginning in October and continuing throughout fall and into winter. In fact, to spur accommodations, Zion has a sale of sorts going on late this fall. The "Fall into Great Prices” promotion runs throughout November. Rates during this period will drop as much as 35 percent off the regular-season rates, according to Xanterra. The rates include breakfast for two and lodging for one night at Zion Lodge or one of its outlying cabins. For stays Sunday through Thursday nights, rates begin at $119.95 per night for motel rooms, $129.95 for Western cabins, and $139.95 for suites. Rates are slightly higher on Fridays and Saturdays. The rates do not include taxes and are not available Nov. 24 through Nov. 27.
* At the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, the historic, 78-room El Tovar still has rooms in November and December if you book soon. The same holds true for the other three South Rim-view lodges – Bright Angel Lodge, Kachina Lodge and Thunderbird Lodge. There are rooms available throughout September and October at the park’s two off-rim lodges – Maswik and Yavapai.
* At Death Valley, they're just getting ready for the busy fall and winter seasons. The tony Inn at Furnace Creek reopens on October 8 for its eight-month season and will close again in mid-May when summer heat returns. Sister properties Ranch at Furnace Creek and Stovepipe Wells Village remain open year-round. All three properties show availability in October and November.
For lodge reservations and more information about Grand Canyon, Zion, Crater Lake or Death Valley, call (1) 303-297-2757 or toll-free at (1) 888-297-2757. For Yellowstone reservations, call (1) 307-344-7311 or toll-free at (1) 866-439-7375.