This article originally appeared on My Grand Canyon
When you stay at the Yavapai Lodge in Grand Canyon National Park, you'll be experiencing a piece of the park's history, but you'll also be actively participating in its future.
The lodge was built in 1958 during the National Park Service's building boom to prepare for its 50th anniversary and serve the crowds of post-World War II visitors. The lodge itself is reminiscent of Route 66 motels. Today, all rooms have been remodeled, including air-conditioning in every unit. While it's not located right on the South Rim, it's a short walk or shuttle away from it. And the fact that it's not right on the rim means you'll have a little break from the crowds that congregate on the rim. Nestled in the trees, you'll see wildlife, such as elk, deer and squirrels, on your visit.
"There’s something very special about being in such an iconic place," says Yavapai's general manager Dan Cornforth. "The immensity of the canyon changes your perspective on life."
The Grand Canyon is a special place, and Yavapai Lodge recognizes that. Staying in the lodge, you'll feel its commitment to the park's future. It starts the second you pull in. With plenty of parking, you can leave your car at the lodge for the duration of your stay and take the park's shuttle to get to all the stops you want to see, lowering your carbon footprint.
Or, stroll down to Bright Angel Bicycles to rent a bike and explore the South Rim, human-powered. Check out Hermit Road where you'll be free from traffic as it's closed to private vehicles. Don't feel like biking the whole seven miles? Hop on the park's free shuttle at any of its designated stops to get you and your bike to your next destination or back to the lodge.
The lodge's commitment to sustainability encompasses all aspects of the business. In 2022, the lodge received an environmental achievement award from the Department of the Interior for its waste diversion program which partners with a local food bank. In 2020, it diverted 57% of its waste from landfills and by 2025, it's committed to becoming zero-waste. As a visitor, you can help reduce unnecessary waste by not requesting straws, napkins and lids and remembering to bring (or purchase on-site) a reusable water bottle. Grand Canyon National Park officials have worked hard to discourage single-use plastic water bottles, helping to eliminate waste. Water filling stations are available throughout the park and Yavapai Lodge.
After a day exploring the park, head back to the lodge to relax. Outdoor games like cornhole and soccer give you an excuse to unplug. Stop by the Yavapai Coffee Shop, which serves Starbucks coffee and menu items, for a drink. Or, opt for a scoop of ice cream with flavors like Grand Canyon Caramel Crunch and Moose Tracks. You'll also find grab n' go items that make for a perfect picnic lunch.
At the end of the day, head to the Yavapai Tavern where you'll find a beautiful, pet-friendly patio that often features live music, equipped with heaters for chilly nights, a fire pit and a Southwestern-inspired menu with a focus on local ingredients and sustainability. Try the Melted Elk burger with tomato bacon jam and charred sweet peppers. Or, go plant-based with the Tavern Street Tacos featuring plant-protein made from black beans and sugar-cured jalapenos. Wash it down with one of several locally brewed beers on draft.
In the restaurants at Yavapai, 90% of food ingredients are sourced within 190 miles of the Grand Canyon, ensuring the dishes you enjoy are both fresh and sustainable. Its parent company, Delaware North, is committed to reducing water and energy use by 40% by 2025. As a guest, you can help by participating in the linen reuse program (instructions available in guest rooms) and remembering to turn off lights and turn up the temperature on the air-conditioning when leaving the room.
When the stars come out, head to the Market Plaza parking lot on select nights each month for the Night Sky Talks where the streetlights get turned off to make it even easier to see the stars. Telescopes are set up to allow you to get a closer look at the night sky and astronomers are on-site to help you understand what you're seeing.
Yavapai Lodge by the Numbers
Percentage of Grand Canyon's waste stream comprised of single-use plastic
The percentage of food ingredients sourced within 190 miles
The year the Yavapai Lodge will be at zero waste
The number of shuttle stops accessible from the lodge
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