With the calendar quickly running out on the short fall season in some parts of the National Park System, some concessionaires are responding with lodging specials that might intrigue you.
Here's a look at some of the special offerings, or available rooms yet this fall, from Xanterra Parks & Resorts:
* Yellowstone National Park: The park’s nine lodges close for the season between September and mid-October, with the last lodge, Old Faithful Snow Lodge, closing Oct. 23. That popular lodge near one the park’s marquee attractions – Old Faithful Geyser – presently has availability the last 10 days leading up to its seasonal closure. Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel – the park’s two winter-season lodges – will reopen on Dec. 18 and 20, respectively.
* Zion National Park: The year-round Zion Lodge has rooms throughout the month of November, which is this southern Utah lodge’s peak fall month, when autumn color is at its best and temperatures are perfect for outdoor activities. This lodge is offering a 35 percent discount regular-season rates from Nov. 1 through Nov. 30, except during the Thanksgiving-holiday dates of Nov. 24 - 26. The “Fall into Great Prices” rates include breakfast for two and lodging for one night.
* Grand Canyon National Park: Although all six lodges at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park are open year-round, many are fully booked during the summer season. The historic, 78-room El Tovar is typically the first lodge to sell out. During the months of November and December, however, there are still rooms available at El Tovar for visitors who book in the weeks ahead. The same holds true for the other three 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.
Grand Canyon Railway: Another way to visit the Grand Canyon is to book a multi-night package that includes train travel aboard the Grand Canyon Railway, accommodations at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams, Ariz. as well as in the park and some meals.
The train trip from Williams to Grand Canyon National Park takes approximately two hours and 15 minutes and runs 65 miles through ponderosa pine forests and scenic desert landscapes. The train offers four classes of service – coach, first class, observation dome and luxury parlor.
* Death Valley National Park: This is the park that likes to do its own thing. While most national parks are gearing down, the two lodges that comprise Furnace Creek Resort are gearing up for their high season. The elegant Inn at Furnace Creek reopens on Oct. 7 for its eight-month season and will close again in mid-May when summer heat returns. The Inn is offering a special rate of 20 percent off the regular rate during the first week after reopening, Oct. 7 through 13. The Ranch at Furnace Creek remains open year-round. Both properties have availability in October and November. Death Valley is a popular destination due to its tremendous size, geologic diversity and many outdoor activities.
To see what specials, and availability, exist, click on the links in the above listings.