Reviewed Lodges Listed by Classification

Classification I


The ultimate standard for architectural artistry in a lodge and an integral part of the park experience. As some of the oldest, they are the "criteria" that defines a National Park Lodge. The NPLAS currently recognizes the following as Classification I:

Classification II


These facilities will greatly enhance a park visit; the design and decor of these lodges are important examples of National Park Lodge architecture. Almost every aspect of these lodges is "superior."

Classification III


These facilities will enhance a park visit. Design, decor, location, or historic value is important and an overnight stay will be memorable. Usually these lodges deserve Criterion or Superior Classification, but may have some motel-style rooms or other aspects that could detract from the experience. Overall, the atmosphere adds to the park experience and these lodges should be considered "premium."

Classification IV

Special Merit

These facilities offer design, decor, ambiance or historic value, however, these lodges lack some features, or do not provide certain comforts and amenities. With the cautionary statement that they are not for everyone, these lodges all have "special merit."

Classification V


These facilities played an important role in the brief history of park lodging, and have either been demolished or no longer provide overnight accommodations. All efforts should be made to study and preserve these structures or locations considered "historic."


Facilities that offer high quality lodging but no enhancement to the park experience are reviewed but not classified by the NPLAS. Lack of classification does not imply lack of quality; these lodges provide excellent rooms and location, and may have many other merits. In some cases these lodges are worthy of classification but have not yet become an inextricable part of the park.

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Does it have to be inside the park?

Random foliage

The question of whether a lodge has to be within park boundaries is actually part of a much larger question: What constitutes a National Park Lodge?

It would be nice if a series of rules could be applied, but very few lodges fit squarely in the definition of concessionaire operations within park boundaries. Moqui Lodge, for example, was located outside Grand Canyon NP, but during the 1970s its purpose and sense of community was such that it truly stretched the boundaries and became a national park lodge. White's City is a privately-owned sprawl outside the boundaries of Carlsbad Caverns NP that looks nothing like a traditional park lodge, but is nevertheless part of the park experience for many visitors. Other facilities might even use the name of a nearby park, exist only because of the park, yet are little more than road motels or cabin complexes with no significance.

As Congress once said of a much seedier topic, "we can't define it, but we know it when we see it." The definition of "park lodge" is thus subjective, but with your participation the NPLAS can continue to expand and provide accurate assessments.