Reader Participation Day: Which National Park Lodge Offers The Best Value, And Why?

Where on the "best value" scale would you rate the Chateau at Oregon Caves National Monument? Photo by David and Kay Scott.

Which lodge in the National Park System do you head to for the best value, and what makes it the best value?

That's a two-headed question, as some might see low price as offering the best value, while others might see a higher price offset by a superior location as offering the best lodging value.

With those ground rules, tell us, travelers, where do you find the best lodging value in the park system, and what makes it such a great value?

Comments

This is an easy one for me. I would have to vote for the Old Faithful Inn. My wife and I stayed in the original section in 2009. For less than $100 per night we were able to enjoy the wonderful atmosphere of the inn; from the comfortable sofas and soft music each evening overlooking the majestic fireplace, to a great cup of hot chocolate to sip on while sitting on the portico deck and watching Old Faithful spout off numerous times, to just gazing awestruck at the massive timbers used in its constructing, nothing there is without some superlative descriptor. Even though we didn't have a private bath the shared baths on the hall took us back to a day when that was what travel was like in a lot of places. Not to mention all the folks you meet. What a fantastic place to relax after a day of hiking, wildlife watching and geyser hopping. And one of the best values I have found in park lodging.

Hands down Volcano House at Volcano NP on The Big Island. Regardless of price who wouldn't want to stay on the rim of an active volcano!

This is an easy one for me.

My little 16 foot Casita trailer. There is no sleeping room anywhere in the world that is worth $100+ a night. But then, I'm not one of the one percent.

We've stayed at Thunderbird Lodge at Canyon de Chelly, Far View Lodge at Mesa Verde, Lodge at Big Bend NP, Cabins at the North Rim Grand Canyon.

When we opened our door to our cabin on the Grand Canyon North Rim, it almost brought tears to my eyes. We looked out over the canyon and seeing it at sunrise and sunset from our bed was almost a spiritual experience.

It's not always about the $$$. Its the experience and I know it's different for each person.

All of the Yellowstone lodging is a good value as is Bright Angel Lodge at the Grand Canyon. Four men stayed there with a canyon rim view last May before and after a three day canyon hike for less then $30 each per night.

I think someone might have mentioned the Kilauea Military Camp once.

http://kmc-volcano.com

Other than that, there are several hostels located in NPS units. The ones close to where I live include one at Point Reyes NS and another at the Marin Headlands section of Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

http://norcalhostels.org/reyes/
http://norcalhostels.org/marin/

I've read that they're working on a new hostel in Redwood National Park but that might still be in the planning stage.

I think my favorite lodge is the one where, if you wake up by 5:00 am or so, you can sit in the lobby by the fire and watch people checking out of the lodge with glacier wands sticking out of their backpack.

But my real favorite lodging is my dependable Half-Dome tent.

Bob Pahre:
I think my favorite lodge is the one where, if you wake up by 5:00 am or so, you can sit in the lobby by the fire and watch people checking out of the lodge with glacier wands sticking out of their backpack.
Depends on the lodge. I remember entering the El Tovar Hotel in Grand Canyon NP. There was a sign that said that backpacks weren't allowed inside the lobby.

The Old Faithful Lodge Cabins are an incredible value for the money, IMHO. I just got back from there -- sparkling clean cabin with plenty of amenities that you can drive right up to, where you can walk right from your door into the geyser basin, all for $70 a night (shared bath). Granted, five years ago it was $50 a night [sigh].

Worst alltime park lodging value -- the tent cabins at Camp Curry in Yosemite. Filthy, cramped, torn tents crowded very close together that you have to walk several hundred yards from your car to get to, with absolutely grungy and seriously overcrowded bathroom and shower facilities, for over $100 a night. And that's the cheapest non-camping lodging in the Valley. It's criminal.

Meg:
Worst alltime park lodging value -- the tent cabins at Camp Curry in Yosemite. Filthy, cramped, torn tents crowded very close together that you have to walk several hundred yards from your car to get to, with absolutely grungy and seriously overcrowded bathroom and shower facilities, for over $100 a night. And that's the cheapest non-camping lodging in the Valley. It's criminal.
I think Housekeeping Camp is cheaper. You're also allowed to cook meals there, which isn't allowed at Curry.

http://www.yosemitepark.com/housekeeping-camp-lodging.aspx

Yes, but you have to bring your own gear -- sleeping bags, etc. We weren't in a position to do that.

The Housekeeping Camp is one step above camping, not a true lodging option. And from what I saw of it, it's not any cleaner/better taken care of than the tent cabins at Camp Curry.