Enchanted Canyon

Zion Lodge, Utah

    Photo: courtesy, Xanterra Parks & Resorts

In the 1930s and '40s, the Union Pacific Railroad enticed people to buy tickets by building great lodges in America's western national parks. Nowadays, no one has to be lured to these parks, especially 147,000-acre Zion, with its dramatic slot canyons and sandstone cliffs; the park sees about 2.5 million visitors a year. Union Pacific's Zion Lodge still exists, though it burned down and was reconstructed in 1966. Plunked in the middle of Zion Canyon and surrounded by old cottonwoods, it's the only lodging in the park—and the ideal adventure base camp. Take the Angels Landing trail six miles to the rim of the canyon for hold-on-to-the-edge-of-your-seat views. You'll come home to plush leather chairs and wood-paneled walls in the refurbished lodge, which has 125 simple but comfortable rooms and log cabins. Southwestern-style meals are served at the Red Rock Grill. Doubles from $125; 888-297-2757, www.zionlodge.com

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