The Big Six

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National Park retreats

Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park

You can sit on one of the porches of the historic Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park and observe the natural phenomenon that is Old Faithful (the geyser) sending a plume of steaming water skywards every 90 minutes. It's hardly surprising that the oldest of the park's inns is also the most popular (prospective guests need to book months in advance). It's resolutely old school, centred on the original, historic log and wood shingled lodge dating from 1904, with its soaring reception lobby and huge fireplace. The rooms – some with head-on views of the geyser – are scattered throughout the old house and two newer, east and west wings.

Old Faithful Inn, Nr Grant Village, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming (001 307 344 7311; bit.ly/YellowstoneOldFaithful). Doubles start at $103 (£64), room only.

Zion Lodge, Zion National Park

The Zion Lodge is perfectly placed for exploring the unique landscape and geology of Utah's Zion National Park. None of the original 1920s lodge survived after it was destroyed by fire in the 1960s, but the replacement is in keeping with its predecessor. The views of the park's towering sandstone walls are still impressive and accommodation extends to 75 rooms and 46 cabins dotted around the wilderness. Serenity is guaranteed, as cars are banned from this corner of the park.

Zion Lodge, Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah (001 435 772 7700; zionlodge.com). Doubles start at $175 (£109), room only.

The Ahwahnee Hotel, Yosemite National Park

The Ahwahnee is the most renowned hotel in Yosemite. Built in 1927, it is on the National Register of Historic Landmarks. Behind a distinctive granite façade, its quirky interior mixes Art Deco, Native American and Arts and Crafts influences, with huge wooden ceiling beams, yawning fireplaces with distinctive artworks. It has 99 rooms and there are 24 cottages scattered amid dogwoods and pines in the hotel's grounds.

The Ahwahnee Hotel, 9005 Ahwahnee Drive, Yosemite National Park, California (001 801 559 4884; yosemitepark.com/the-ahwahnee.aspx). Doubles start at $472 (£295) , room only.

Glacier Park Lodge, Glacier National Park

The 161-room Glacier Park Lodge in Montana's Glacier National Park is a classic example of rustic "parkitecture". It was built by the Great Northern Railway in 1913. The local Blackfoot tribe christened it Big Tree Lodge, as it's constructed from towering tree trunks. The lobby alone features 60 huge Douglas Fir logs. It's the perfect base from which to explore the park's breathtaking peaks, high meadows and sparkling lakes, criss‑crossed by hundreds of miles of wilderness trails.

Glacier Park Lodge, Midvale Creek Road, East Glacier Park, Montana (001 406 226 5600; glacierparkinc.com). Doubles start at $145 (£91), room only.

Crater Lake Lodge, Crater Lake National Park

There are few more spectacular settings than Crater Lake Lodge, perched on the rim of the star attraction of the national park. The result of a volcanic explosion 7,700 years ago, it is now the deepest lake in the United States. The old pine lodge was built in 1915 and offers a rustic welcome with the lobby's huge, crackling log fire. The airy dining room with its stunning views serves dishes using local ingredients, while many of the 71 guest rooms have impressive views of the lake.

Crater Lake Lodge, 565 Rim Village Drive, Crater Lake, Oregon (001 541 594 2255; craterlakelodges.com). Doubles start at $164 (£103) , room only.

Rock Harbor Lodge, Isle Royale National Park

One of the United States' least-visited parks is an island close to the Canadian border, in the north-western corner of Lake Superior, accessible only by boat or seaplane. Visitors are rewarded with unrivalled wilderness and an array of wildlife such as wolves, beavers and moose. They also get the chance to check-in to the Rock Island Lodge, which sits right on the edge of Rock Island Marina, with far-reaching views of the lake.

Rock Harbor Lodge, Isle Royale National Park, Lake Superior, Michigan (001 866 644 2003; rockharborlodge.com). Doubles start at $223 (£139), room only, including canoe hire.

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