Backcountry hiking holds an exclusive appeal—the unbeatable feeling of spending the night in a spot only accessible by your own two feet. But what’s even better? A hike that ends at a well-appointed lodge where you can rest your head on a comfortable pillow and be treated to a hot meal around a wood-burning stove.
These seven lodges offer a variety of accommodations, from the very bare bones to luxury retreats, complete with couple’s massages. But they all provide a chance to escape into the natural world and retreat to an oasis free of cars, cell service, and wifi. If you’re looking to plan an unplugged getaway for 2023, here are a few ideas…
1. Minam River Lodge
Eagle Cap Wilderness, Oregon
Follow an 8.5-mile trail through alpine meadows to reach this spectacular lodge in Eastern Oregon. A converted 1950s homestead, Minam River preserves the pioneer spirit through thoughtful gourmet meals featuring produce harvested from the on-site wilderness garden. Spend your days fly-fishing on the Minam River, reconnecting with a yoga class in the open-air barn, or enjoying a relaxing massage.
2. Phantom Ranch
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Nestled in the belly of one of America’s premier natural wonders, Phantom Ranch is accessible only via foot (choose from the 7.5-mile South Kaibab Trail or 10-mile Bright Angel Trail), mule ride, or rafting adventure along the Colorado River. Stay in one of the cabins where Theodore Roosevelt once slept and awaken to the Grand Canyon’s red rock majesty.
3. Lake of the Clouds Hut
White Mountains, New Hampshire
One of the eight huts operated by the Appalachian Mountain Club through New Hampshire’s White Mountains, Lake of the Clouds sits just above 5,000 feet. Perched on a ridge just below Mount Washington and flanked by alpine pools, the lodge lives up to its name. The hike in is rugged (you’ll need to use your hands) and the accommodations are bare bones, but nothing beats a hot meal at the end of the day, served family style to all the hungry backpackers.
4. The Hike Inn
Amicalola Falls State Park, Georgia
In the foothills of North Georgia, find a 20-room lodge that combines natural beauty with cozy creature comforts. Starting from the top of Amicalola Falls, a 5-mile hike takes travelers to the inn where they can enjoy two hot meals served daily in the dining hall, sunrise views from Adirondack chairs on the wrap-around porch, and a wood-burning stove in the communal library.
5. LeConte Lodge
Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
The highest guest lodge in the Eastern United States, the inn is located above 6,000 feet near the summit of Mount LeConte. Choose from the shooter-but-steeper 5-mile Alum Cave Trail or the switchbacks on the 9.1-mile Brushy Mountain Trail. There’s no electricity at the lodge but visitors can enjoy propane heat, a stick-to-your-ribs dinner, and the company of sweet llamas who help to keep the lodge stocked by hiking in and out a few times a week.
6. Skoki Lodge
Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada
One of the few backcountry lodges open year-round, Skoki beckons wintertime adventurers with the promise of the lodge’s legendary charcuterie boards—an exceptional way to refuel after the obligatory 7-mile backcountry ski or snowshoe trek. Hugged by snowy mountains and frozen lakes, the no-electricity policy makes for spectacular night skies.
7. Sperry Chalet
Glacier National Park, Montana
Built in 1913 by the Great Northern Railway, the Sperry Chalet offers mind-bending views of the Whitefish Range’s craggy peaks and cascading waterfalls. Earn the vistas by way of a 6.7-mile hike that climbs a heart-pumping 3,300 feet. In summer, the lodge is home to long-term residents: mountain goats who use the grounds as a safe place for their kids to play.
Planning your trip
All of these lodges provide the basic necessities (food, water, and bedding), but you’ll need to pack in your own personal items. Opt for lightweight gear and apparel that can be used and worn again and again. With its natural anti-stink and sweat-wicking properties, Merino Performance Innerwear is a natural choice. Plus, freshening up is as easy as a wash in the sink or stream and hanging up to quick-dry.