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Glamping in America's National Parks

Claire Young

Contributor

America's National Parks offer raw access to the country's greatest natural treasures. They are expansive, breathtaking and scattered across miles and miles of wild country. Their remote location can mean accommodation standards are pretty low, but luckily, spending the night in the wild and sleeping under the stars isn’t just for the rugged outdoorsman or experienced hiker anymore. Now, living in a tent can be done with high-end furnishings a plush king bed and mattress, and, oh yes, a working toilet. Under Canvas founders Sarah and Jacob Dusek were inspired by the African safari experience, and have made otherworldly terrain accessible for “people who wouldn’t otherwise experience the great outdoors” at eight popular national parks (with four more in development).

Under Canvas Yellowstone

The world’s first national park is as good a place as any to start with this list. Home to the world’s largest concentration of hot springs and geysers, visitors to this famed national icon can navigate 2.2 million acres of sweeping landscapes, spanning Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.

Under Canvas Yellowstone is located 10 minutes from the West entrance of the park in a quiet, secluded, valley location. Tents sleep up to seven guests, and breakfast is complimentary. Book adventures like cowboy cookouts, horseback riding, ziplining, whitewater rafting or even massages through UC’s adventure concierge. 

Under Canvas Yellowstone

Under Canvas Glacier

The tents at Under Canvas Glacier are equipped with ensuite shower, sink and flushing toilet. A truly dignified way to camp.

In Glacier, set aside a full day for the Going-to-the-Sun Road, a 50 mile trip on one of the world’s most scenic highways. Buy a boxed lunch from camp and return in the evening for s’mores over the fire pit. Before turning in, take in the stars from your tent’s private, wood deck.

Under Canvas Glacier

Under Canvas Moab

For the efficient explorer, Under Canvas Moab offers access to two national parks: Arches and Canyonland. It’s a 10-minute drive to the entrance of Arches, and a little over 20 to Canyonlands. Aptly-named Arches encapsulates the world’s most concentrated display of natural arches. You’ve likely seen pictures of the famously photogenic Delicate Arch. Canyonlands has three distinct sections, pick from Island in the Sky, The Maze and The Needles -- but plan ahead! Over 100 miles separates some of these sections. Also, plan ahead to utilize the camp’s picnic area and grills.

Looking for a unique way to take in the arid scenery? Rivers created these landscapes, so boat tours are on the menu, or climb to a higher vantage point and book a hot air balloon tour via UC’s adventure concierge.

Under Canvas Moab

Under Canvas Zion

Guests to Under Canvas Zion will stare out at one of the towering monoliths the park is so well known for. Climbers will be satisfied as the camp lies a mere 10-minute drive from Tabernacle Dome. It’s closer to 40 minutes from the Zion Visitor Centre where guests will leave the car and hop on the park’s electric bus system. From that route tackle Observation Point, the heart-dropping Angel’s Landing or The Narrows. For those looking for a more relaxed trip, the Hanging Gardens are worth a stop, and jumping on and off the bus offers unbelievable views.

For this trip especially, consider upgrading the tent to The Stargazer, it has a viewing window directly over the bed. When else can you curl up in a warm bed, head on a plush pillow, only lit by the stars?

Under Canvas Zion

Under Canvas Great Smoky Mountains

This eastern park sets travellers smack dab inside miles of Appalachia’s lush forest. All the typical UC amenities are still here -- organic bath products, daily housekeeping, USB battery packs, on-site dining, etc. -- but Under Canvas Great Smoky Mountains is offering an acoustic concert series. Visit September through November and cap off a day of biking or hiking through the “Land of Blue Smoke” with an intimate concert by performers like Emily Ann Roberts or John King.

Travelling with friends or family? Book a suite with adjacent “hive” to comfortably accommodate a few more bodies.

Under Canvas Great Smoky Mountains

Under Canvas Grand Canyon

Last, but certainly not least, is the Grand Canyon. By day, you’ll traverse one of the seven natural wonders of the world. By night, a woodstove will keep the tent warm as you drift to sleep under the Milky Way. 30 minutes from the South Rim entrance you’ll find Under Canvas Grand Canyon.

Each camp does daily programming that changes on a weekly basis, but typical fare includes outdoor yoga sessions and a painting session to creatively capture the surrounding beauty of this American icon. 

Under Canvas Grand Canyon

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