Yellowstone - Canyon Hotels & Lodges

Copyright 2020 by Robert V. Goss. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by an information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author. 

Canyon Hotel

1st Canyon Hotel

This crude wooden structure was located in thick timber above Lower Falls, near the current Brink of Lower Falls parking lot. It was built in 1886 by the Yellowstone Park Association (YPA). This building housed the office, dining room, kitchen, and lobby. About 70 guests could be housed in nearby tents. It was permitted by the Army for the 1886 season only, but remained in use until a larger hotel was opened in 1890.

[Photo courtesy of Montana State University, Haynes Photo Collection]

1st Canyon Hotel

2nd Canyon Hotel


This hotel was located on the hill above the Grand Canyon, near where the current Xanterra horse operation is operated.  The building contained 250 guest rooms and featured steam heat. Problems with the foundation necessitated repairs in 1896 and 1901. Twenty-four rooms were added in 1901. The hotel was in operation until 1911 when it was incorporated into the construction of the new Canyon Hotel.

2nd Canyon Hotel
Canyon Hotel 1909 Stimson WyoArch.jpg

Top Left: Front of 2nd Canyon Hotel, Haynes post card No. 144          Top Right: Close-up of front of 2nd hotel, Wyoming State                                                                               Archives, Stimson Collection

  Bottom Left: Colorized slide of the image to the right.                           Bottom Right:  Haynes Photo, YNP #143227

2nd Canyon Hotel
2nd Canyon Hotel

3rd Canyon Hotel

This grandiose structure opened in 1911 with 375 rooms that accommodated 500 guests. It incorporated the 2nd Canyon Hotel into its floor plan, located on the left end of the hotel. The hotel was designed by Robert Reamer and construction continued through the winter of 1910-11. The cost was over $750,000 and financed by the YP Hotel Co. and Harry Child, who obtained loans from the Northern Pacific RR.  Capacity was expanded to 600 guests in 1922 and a new wing was added in 1930-34 increasing total capacity to 900 guests. The perimeter was reported to be one mile long, and orchestras played nightly in the expansive lounge area. The hotel closed down after the 1958 season and guests were forced to stay in the new Canyon Village Lodge cabins. This magnificent building burned down in 1960 during demolition, the cause of which was never officially determined.  

Canyon Hotel, Grand Canyon Hotel
Canyon Hotel Ramp, Canyon Hotel Entry
Canyon Hotel, Grand Canyon Hotel
Canyon Hotel Lounge

Magnificent New Hotel in Yellowstone Opened
Butte Miner, August 5, 1911

(Special Correspondence to the Miner.)
Grand Canyon Hotel, Yellowstone Park, Wyo., Aug. 2 - The formal opening of the great lounging room of the new Canyon hotel in Yellowstone park, which marks the completion of the $700,000 structure, was celebrated tonight by a ball, in which the guests of the hotel, campers in the park, fisherman, hotel employees and everybody else within a radius of 50 miles, joined.
    The hotel is unique among all the resort hotels in the world, and the mammoth lounging room is the most striking feature. This room, 186 feet by 95 feet in dimensions, is finished in natural birch and furnished with large upholstered and willow pieces of original patterns designed by Mrs. H.W. Child. The floor coverings are rugs, especially made in Austria, the large middle rug being 56 feet by 25 feet. The color scheme is green  and brown, with an occasional dash of red. The lighting effects are secured by a series of specially designed lanterns suspended from the great beams overhead.. . . [The hotel] was built under incredible difficulties, and every pound of material within this great structure, which stretches along the mountain side for 700 feet and is full five stories in height, was brought in by freight wagons and sleds from Gardiner, 40 miles away, and for several months through snow drifts 10 to 12 feet in depth, with the thermometer far below zero for weeks at a time. The hotel has 450 rooms, 75 bath rooms and every modern convenience, including electric elevators.

Canyon Hotel Tea Room
Canyon Hotel Office

Left Top: Exterior View, Detroit PC 71062                                  Right Top: Exterior view, Bloom Bros. PC YP60

        Left Middle: Entrance ramp, Haynes PC No.220                           Right Middle: Lounge from Office, Haynes PC No.10172

Left Bottom: Tea Room, Haynes PC No.217                                Right Bottom: Hotel Office, Haynes PC No.10150

Canyon Hotel Floor Plan
1914 Wylie Dancing bears.JPG
Canyon Hotel Birch, Canyon Hotel Paneling
1914 Wylie Dancing bears.JPG

Canyon Camps & Canyon Lodge

The Canyon Camp was built on the Shaw & Powell Camping Co. site, located near the current Uncle Tom's Parking Lot. It was operated by the Yellowstone Park Camping Co. from 1917-1919, the Yellowstone Park Camps Co. under Howard Hays from 1920-24, and taken over by Vernon Goodwin that year, who retained the same name. In 1928, Harry Child bought out all the camps operations and they began being called ‘Lodges’ with the name changing to Yellowstone Park Lodge & Camps Co. until 1936. Goodwin was retained and managed the camps operation. The hotel, transportation, boat, and camps operation’s were reorganized and the name was changed to Yellowstone Park Co.

Canyon Lodge
Canyon Lodge Cafeteria
Canyon Lodge Interior

Top Left: Canyon Lodge Exterior, Haynes PC 15040

Top Right: Canyon Lodge Cafeteria, 1951. YNP #29658

Bottom Left: Canyon Lodge Lobby, YNP #133440

Bottom Right: Canyon Lodge Demolition, late 1950s. YNP #59672

Canyon Lodge Demo

 New tent cabins were erected in 1923-24 and the log lodge building was greatly expanded in 1925. Twenty-four new 12’x14’ cabins and five 12’x12’ permanent lodges were constructed in 1927. The lodge and cabins were closed down in 1957 with the opening of the new Canyon Village. The area was later cleaned up and rehabilitated and only a few relics can now be found in that area. Many of the cabins were moved to the Lake area.

When Canyon Lodge was closed in 1957, many of the structures were moved to other locations in park, while some were demolished, and others were sold off, as was the case of the old Lodge Lobby, which was disassembled and moved to Nevada City (Virginia City), Montana by Charlie Bovey as part of his historic restoration/recreation of a historic Montana mining town. This modern new lodge was built, and opened in 1957 under the provisions of the Mission 66 plan, mandated by the Interior department. Yellowstone Park Co financed the construction to the tune of 5 million dollars and 500 boxy, flat-roofed cabins were eventually built. The lodge building featured a lounge, coffee shop, cafeteria, gift shop, and modern decor. The lodge is still in operation and is run by Xanterra Parks & Resorts. Quite a few of the original cabins have been demolished, while many others have been remodeled. 

1914 Wylie Dancing bears.JPG
1914 Wylie Dancing bears.JPG

Canyon Village

 This modern new lodge was built, and opened in 1957 under the provisions of the Mission 66 plan, mandated by the Interior department. Yellowstone Park Co financed the construction to the tune of 5 million dollars and 500 boxy, flat-roofed cabins were eventually built. The lodge building featured a lounge, coffee shop, cafeteria, gift shop, and modern decor. The lodge is still in operation and is run by Xanterra Parks & Resorts. Quite a few of the original cabins have been demolished, while many others have been remodeled. 

Canyon Village Lodge
Canyon Village Lounge
Canyon Village Lounge
Canyon Village Dining Room
Canyon Village Cafeteria

 Left Top: Canyon Village Main Lodge. Haynes PC K57157.

 Left Middle: Lodge Lounge. Haynes PC K57060

 Left Bottom: Lodge Lounge, Haynes PC 57069

 

Right Top: Lodge Dining Room, Curteich PC 8C-K595

 Right Middle: Lodge Cafeteria, Haynes PC K57120

 To provide additional guest rooms, Cascade Lodge was built in 1992 containing 37 rooms and is located in the cabin area. Dunraven Lodge was constructed nearby six years later and features 44 rooms. Since then, three additional lodges have been added, Washburn Lodge, Moran Lodge, and Rhyolite Lodge, replacing many of the old 1957 cabins.