Grand Canyon Lodge on the North Rim of Grand Canyon is often the first prominent feature that visitors see, even before viewing the canyon. The highway ends at the lodge. The lodge’s sloped roof, huge ponderosa beams and massive limestone facade fit its 8,000-foot/2400 m setting, but where is the Grand Canyon?
To experience the full impact of the design of the lodge, take the historic route. Go through the front entrance. Walk across the carpeted lobby and descend a stairwell. Shining through great windows across the “Sun Room” is the much-anticipated first view of the Grand Canyon.
The architect, Gilbert Stanley Underwood, following the wishes of then-Director of the National Park Service, Steven Mather, designed a rustic national park lodge. Grand Canyon Lodge served as a symbol of the importance of the preservation of this natural wonder, while allowing for luxury and enjoyment. Yet, Underwood had incorporated something extra—a surprise view!
Underwood’s 1928 Grand Canyon Lodge, designed for then-concessionaire the Union Pacific Railroad, is not today’s lodge. Underwood’s design included a massive Spanish-style exterior with a high front topped by an observation tower. The original burned down in 1932 and a “new” 1937 lodge sits on its footprint.
Forever Resorts operates the Grand Canyon Lodge, restaurants, retail, gift and convenience stores, service station, and Grand Canyon Cookout Experience in the park under contract with the U.S. Department of the Interior. Forever Resorts trains and encourages employees to foster a sense of awareness and stewardship in park visitors through an appreciation of park resources. For information on Grand Canyon North Rim Lodge visit online at: http://foreverlodging.com/lodging.cfm?PropertyKey=181
NPS Photo by Michael Quinn