From cowboys and wide open prairies to the rugged peaks of the Tetons and striking red rock of the southern deserts, the American West offers some of the most diverse scenery on earth. In a single day’s drive you can head from high alpine terrain to barren, rocky landscapes full of sandstone arches.
If you’re looking for an authentic Western adventure, part of it has to involve true-grit lodging. You can find luxury cabins in places like Vail or Jackson Hole, but that hardly counts as authentic.
The lodging deals listed here will put you in the heart of the American West, both physically and metaphorically. From rustic cabins to campsites, we have a place for you to stay and enjoy the best the West has to offer.
Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort at Zion National Park
Lodging in and around Zion National Park ranges from your average zion national park hotels to multi-million dollar vacation homes rented by the week.
Photo courtesy ZionPonderosa.com.
The best places to stay in Zion National Park, however, are the ones that combine a few modern accoutrements with the rustic reality of the West.
The Cowboy Cabins, Cabin Suites, or Conestoga Wagons at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort hit the mark in that regard, offering western lodging experiences within a 4,000-acre ranch environment. You’re close to necessities like a shower house, bathrooms, and good food, but when you turn the lights off you’ll be treated to the dark star-filled skies that are emblematic of the West.
El Rancho Hotel
Photo from Route66Hotels.org.
Located in Gallup, New Mexico, the El Rancho doesn’t seem like much – until you realize who stayed there. Back in Hollywood’s golden era of Westerns, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, and even Ronald Reagan stayed at the El Rancho.
Gallup isn’t far from the El Malpais National Conservation Area and Lake Bluewater, two great destinations that deliver the classic vistas you’ve come to expect from the West.
Gold Hill Hotel and Saloon
Photo from GoldHillHotel.net.
If there’s one thing more emblematic of the American West than the cowboy, it’s mining towns – and the culture surrounding them.
The Gold Hill Hotel and Saloon delivers that experience in full force. Located in the remote Virginia City area of Nevada, it’s the oldest hotel in the state. It has a storied – and racy – history, but the Miner’s Cabin puts you squarely back in the late 1800s.
Did we mention there’s a train from the hotel to Virginia City? And old mines open for tours? This remote part of Nevada is a hidden gem waiting for your next great trip.
Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel
What list of authentic Western lodging would be complete without a location in Wyoming? The Cowboy State is still sparsely populated, and Yellowstone draws the most crowds, but the small town of Cody is where the true Western experience lies.
Situated just east of Yellowstone, The Irma was built by Buffalo Bill to provide a stopping place for travelers on their way to Yellowstone. He named it after his daughter, and their legacy lives on today in the rooms of this unique building. You can stay in Bill’s personal suite, or the rooms frequented by Annie Oakley.
And if you’re there during peak tourist season, you’ll be treated to the Buffalo Bill sharpshooters as they show off their skills on the front porch.
An authentic Western lodging experience is, without a doubt, something you’ll never forget. The next time you’re on this side of the Mississippi, do yourself a favor and stay at one of these incredible places.