Q:

What Are the Best Eco-Lodges in North America?

I'm a pretty sustainably minded person and for my next vacation, I want to go to a low-impact resort that's not too insanely far from home. What are the best eco-lodges in North America?

ecolodge sustainable ecotourism travel

Eco-lodges are a popular trend, but they still can't be found everywhere.    Photo: Harvey Barrison/Flickr

A:

As efforts to minimize carbon footprints have taken hold a host of new resorts have sprung up, or renovated themselves, in order to cater to the eco-friendly mindset of many tourists. While they are scattered across America, they can provide you with jaw-dropping destinations and make you feel good about enjoying it while taking care of the planet.

Zion Lodge, Utah
Kicking Horse River Lodge, British Columbia
Highland Center Lodge, New Hampshire
Bentwood Inn, Wyoming

Best Eco-Lodges: Zion Lodge, Utah

I’m a pretty sustainably minded person and for my next vacation, I want to go to a low-impact resort that’s not too insanely far from home. What are the best eco-lodges in North America?

zion park utah zion lodge sustainable vacation green
Zion Lodge is a peaceful, sustainable vacation spot.   Photo: Courtesy of National Park Service

The only hotel within the borders of Zion National Park, the 41-room Zion Lodge proves sustainable practices can work in an old building. Built in the 1920s, and then destroyed by fire and rebuilt in the 1960s, it has the look and feel of a historic park lodge, down to the pine-paneled lobby. But the many small sustainable touches it incorporates make a big difference. It uses dual-flush toilets and low-flow fixtures, a 10,000-watt on-site solar array, LED nightlights, organic cotton sheets, an on-demand boiler, biodegradable and non-toxic cleaners, recycled floor carpets, a biodiesel-powered guest bus, an elaborate composting system, and bamboo floor entryways. If only all other national park lodges could follow its lead. Rates start at $175 per night.

Best Eco-Lodges: Kicking Horse River Lodge, British Columbia

I’m a pretty sustainably minded person and for my next vacation, I want to go to a low-impact resort that’s not too insanely far from home. What are the best eco-lodges in North America?

kicking horse river lodge ecotourism travel sustainable british columbia
Kicking Horse River Lodge has an impressively small carbon footprint.   Photo: Courtesy of Kicking Horse River Lodge

When you think of the world’s great eco-lodges, the tropics—and not a Canadian ski area—usually come to mind. Built in a nook between the Rocky and Purcell mountains and only minutes from the Kicking Horse Ski Resort, the alpine-chic-but-homey Kicking Horse River Lodge has 15 private rooms, two 16-person dorm rooms, and an impressive green resume. Most notably, its geothermal heating and cooling system and the hydroelectric energy that powers the building shrink its carbon footprint to tiny levels. Dorm rooms start at $36 per night.

Best Eco-Lodges: Highland Center Lodge, New Hampshire

I’m a pretty sustainably minded person and for my next vacation, I want to go to a low-impact resort that’s not too insanely far from home. What are the best eco-lodges in North America?

appalachian trail highland center lodge hike ecotourism travel
Highland Center Lodge has a unique history just like the rest of the lodges along the Appalachian Trail.   Photo: Daniel Godin/Flickr

All of the Appalachian Mountain Club huts and lodges scattered throughout the White Mountains of New Hampshire have some unique story to tell. There’s the Lake of the Clouds Hut, above the trees on an alpine lake beneath the summit of Mount Washington. And the 130-year-old Madison Spring Hut, with views of the Presidential Range in all directions. Now the Highland Center Lodge, at the 6,000-acre Crawford Notch State Park, built nine years ago with sustainability in mind, can be added to the list. A majority of its windows face south for passive solar heating, the frame is made from recycled local steel, and it uses eco-friendly carpets, paints, and composting toilets. Rates start at $118.

Best Eco-Lodges: Bentwood Inn, Wyoming

I’m a pretty sustainably minded person and for my next vacation, I want to go to a low-impact resort that’s not too insanely far from home. What are the best eco-lodges in North America?

bentwood ranch jackson hole travel ecotourism
An exterior view of the Bentwood Ranch, Jackson Hole, Wyoming.   Photo: Courtesy of Greg Von Doersten

The rustic Bentwood Inn is one of the poshest places to stay in the Jackson area, yet it’s as earth-conscious as any hotel in the U.S. Its beams and log walls were built from 200-year-old timber reclaimed from a fire that devastated Yellowstone National Park 14 years ago, giving its five rooms a western-cabin feel to go with high-end touches like feather duvets and whirlpool tubs. Hot water comes from a timed on-demand heating system, nearly all waste on-property is recycled or composted (even the garbage bags are biodegradable), the food served in the dining room is almost exclusively local, and there are no fences around the three-acre property, so wildlife can roam freely. Rates start at $229 a night.

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