Located just feet from the rim of the Grand Canyon and the South Rim’s famed Bright Angel trailhead, the Bright Angel Lodge is full of character. Architect Mary Jane Colter was hired in 1935 to refresh the structure to provide travelers with a more affordable alternative to El Tovar Hotel down the path. Originally from the Midwest, Colter was a visionary in what was then very much a male-dominated field of architecture and design. Through her work with the Fred Harvey Co., she had a tremendous impact on shaping some of the Southwest’s most iconic buildings.
Because of improvements being made, Bright Angel Lodge (with the exception of Red Horse Cabin) will close Sept. 30, 2018. The construction schedule is subject to change, but renovations are expected to be done by Dec. 21, 2018.
What set Colter apart was her dedication to creating designs that weaved together cultural and natural elements of the Southwest. For instance, the lodge’s fireplace features rocks from the Grand Canyon, including river rocks to the youngest stone layer on the rim. On the lodge’s exterior, a colorful entrance features turquoise and yellows stripes adorned with red diamonds as a nod to the area’s Native American inhabitants.
At the Bright Angel Lodge, you can choose from 90 lodging units that range from standard lodge rooms to historic cabins to historic units with a shared bath. There are not many rooms with canyons views, which may be Colter’s subtle reminder to guests to spend as much time outside as possible to experience the Grand Canyon.
Two cabins have particular historic interest. Built in 1890, the Red Horse Cabin lived the early days of its life first as a guest cabin and then as a post office for the Grand Canyon. Colter saved it from demolition after it closed as post office in 1935. Colter also played a role in making the Buckey O’Neil Cabin an accommodation associated with the Bright Angel Lodge. It was built in the 1890s by one of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, William “Bucky” O’Neil who was killed in Cuba in 1898. Both cabins must be reserved over the phone at 888-297-2757.
Don’t miss the exhibit on Fred Harvey, Mary Colter and the cultural history of the Grand Canyon in the Bright Angel History Room. You’ll even find a 100-year-old El Tovar menu, as well as uniforms from the waitresses dubbed “Harvey Girls” who worked in the Fred Harvey restaurants across the Southwest that dotted the path of the Santa Fe Railroad. There are two restaurants in the lodge: The Arizona Room, which features Southwest and Arizona-inspired dishes and the family-style Bright Angel Lodge dining room.
The lodge is also the check-in point for mule rides.
For more information:
Reservations (888) 297-2757 or (303) 297-2757