Luxury Historic Lodges Showcasing Unique Archi­tecture and Rustic Beauty

A new book by Max Humphrey celebrates lodge-chic at America's national parks
©2022 David Tsay Photography /

Located in Yosemite National Park, California, and built in 1927, the immense dining room of The Ahwahnee Hotel, with its log- beamed ceilings and rich tapestries, is a wonder in itself. | Photo David Tsay

Any adventurer worth their salt knows that the best part of the outdoors isn’t always the long hike, or the fish you catch, or the mountain you climb. Some­ times, it’s the lodge at the end of the road, the warmth of a fireplace, a hot meal and a cozy bed when the day is done. Lodge: An Indoorsy Tour of America’s National Parks, the new book by interior designer Max Humphrey, highlights the historic lodges that for over a century have offered luxury at the edge of the wild. In these pages, Humphrey collects the historic inns and hotels across our country’s most jaw­-dropping destinations, and, with a trained eye for design, he showcases the unique archi­tecture and rustic beauty of each one.

Bythebook Oldfaith Room Copy

“I might get in trouble for saying this, but the interiors are even more impressive than the geyser,” the author says. | Photo Rob Schanz

The book’s inspiration struck during the pandemic travel restrictions, when Humphrey was window­ shopping online for future vacations. He’s quick to admit he’s not outdoorsy (“I’m no camper,” he says), so he wondered how people visit national parks if they don’t want to camp.


He found a few lodges but noticed a lack of modern photos online. “That’s when it hit me: I would go to these places with photographers and write a book about them from an interior designer’s perspective.”

©2022 David Tsay Photography |

Lake McDonald Lodge, in Glacier National Park, Montana, has magical painted parchment lanterns that lend a natural glow to its common areas. | Photo David Tsay

Humphrey needed about a year to plan his course and make the necessary arrangements. He enlisted the help of photographers David Tsay and Rob Schanz, as well as writer and editor Kathryn O’Shea­Evans— all good friends already, which was important since they’d be on the road together. They visited 10 national park lodges across the country, from Death Valley and Yosemite in California to Yellowstone in Wyoming and Zion in Utah.

©2022 David Tsay Photography |

Emphasizing the outdoors, many of its rooms are cabins with private porches and their own fireplaces. | Photo David Tsay

The project was more challenging than they expected. “These spaces are often dark,” says Humphrey. “They’re also busy, public places.” Out of respect for the other guests, they couldn’t clear everyone out of the lobby to stage their photos. It took a lot of coordination, but the hard work paid off. The resulting images capture the magical ambience of the lodges, bringing each one to life. It’s hard not to be inspired by the vaulted ceilings and opulent stained­ glass windows of The Ahwahnee in Yosemite National Park, the Wild West aesthetic of El Tovar Hotel in Arizona overlooking the Grand Canyon, or the painted parchment chandeliers lighting the lobby of Lake McDonald Lodge in Glacier Park, Montana.

©2022 David Tsay Photography |

Zion Lodge in Zion National Park, Utah, is a collection of smaller buildings around a central green. | Photo David Tsay

These lodges are each a master class in “parkitecture,” which has become a particular influence on Humphrey in his own work as an interior designer. “It’s really about honoring the outdoors and nature,” he says, “and respecting your surroundings in terms of interiors.” The lodges shown in these pages have lessons for everyone, from professional interior designers to someone who may want to bring some of the outdoors inside.

Categories: Books, Rustic Homes