Creature Comforts: Lodges within National Parks

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Hikers traditionally bed down beneath the stars in our national parks, but the South’s premiere parks also have unique lodges within their boundaries.

Room with a View: Vistas from Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Peaks of Otter Lodge, Blue Ridge Parkway, Va. This 60-room lodge sits between the three distinctive peaks that make up the Peaks of Otter. Try the easy one-mile loop around Abbott Lake, or tackle the 1.5-mile trek to the top of Sharp Top, which ends in a rocky outcropping with magnificent views. Open year round.

Big Meadows Lodge, Shenandoah National Park, Va. This impressive stone and chestnut lodge is perched next to an expansive meadow in the heart of Shenandoah National Park on Skyline Drive at milepost 51.2. The meadow adjacent to the lodge is popular with star-gazers. From the meadow, you can also hop onto a number of popular hiking trails, including the A.T.

LeConte Lodge, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tenn. The only way you’re getting to LeConte Lodge is by foot. The collection of rustic cabins sits at 6,360 feet, just shy of the summit of Mount LeConte, with amazing views of the park around every corner. The most scenic (and shortest) route to the lodge is Alum Cave Trail.

Pisgah Inn, Blue Ridge Parkway, N.C.
The inn sits at 5,000 feet, directly off the Blue Ridge Parkway near mile marker 408. The views from the hotel are astonishing, and you can tackle sections of the Mountains to Sea Trail right out your door. You can also climb 1.6 miles to the summit of Mount Pisgah, or bike along the Parkway.

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