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Earth’s Natural Wonders

National parks offer endless opportunities to gather in the heart of Mother Nature.

By Amanda Christensen

It is a special feeling to stand in a national park in awe of the looming mountains, deep canyons, or plunging waterfalls. Gathering in spots like these offers stunning backdrops and provides peaceful space for attendees to bond. Several hotels and venues near natural wonders in the Pacific Northwest offer a multitude of event amenities and endless opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.

Summer concert at Sun Valley Resort

Sun Valley Resort

To host your event in the company of the region’s diverse flora and fauna, read onward for some notable places that will give your meeting an all-natural boost.

Oregon

Crater Lake National Park is over 180,000 acres of striking geological features, and its namesake lake fills the caldera of the long-ago-destroyed Mount Mazama volcano. About two hours south in Ashland is Grizzly Peak Winery, a 40-acre property with views of Grizzly Peak and Mount Ashland. Originally established in 1998, the winery plays host to events like concerts, weddings, fundraisers, and wine tastings. There is also an indoor barrel room to host private events during the off-season. 

Three hours southwest of Crater Lake National Park in Cave Junction is Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve in the Siskiyou Mountains. Spanning over 4,000 acres, the park is home to a marble solutional cave system that formed in limestone millions of years ago. If you are looking for an experience to complement the caves, host your group at Vertical Horizons Treehouse Paradise, also in Cave Junction. The venue is open year-round and is home to four treehouses for overnight stays for up to 16 guests and outdoor space for private events of up to 100. “On-site, we offer fishing, disc golf, and technical tree climbing,” says Jodie Moskios, owner and operator of the venue. There is also nearby recreation including whitewater rafting, wine tasting, and zip lining. 

Washington

The Evergreen State is home to North Cascades National Park, a remote wilderness with more than 500,000 acres 2.5 hours northeast of Seattle. In the spring and summer, it’s accessible via state Route 20. (Due to avalanche danger, the roadway between Ross Dam Trailhead and Lone Fir Campground is typically closed from November to April.) “The drive over [to the park] on Highway 20 is worth it; it’s absolutely gorgeous,” says Abby Bange, co-owner and manager of Rolling Huts, a “glamping” and event venue in nearby Winthrop. Offering a farmhouse, six modern huts, and several canvas tents for up to 60 overnight guests, as well as an on-site barn for events of up to 120, the property is front and center with nature. And the national park nearby provides a variety of outdoor activities from hiking and river rafting to backcountry skiing and fly-fishing. 

Lodging at Rolling Huts

Early Winters Studios

To the west, Olympic National Park is one of the most visited parks in the country. In between Seattle and the Pacific Ocean, the nearly 1-million-acre park boasts some of nature’s most stunning scenery, including the country’s only temperate rainforest. “We are blessed with being surrounded by a grand experience with nature next to Olympic National Park,” says Jim Carlson, owner of The Elkhorn Ranch in Lake Quinault. The 80-acre venue is on one of the original homesteads of the Upper Quinault Valley and has space for outdoor events and a 15,000-square-foot barn for indoor gatherings. 

Sol Duc Falls in Olympic National Park

Adobe Stock

British Columbia and Alberta

Crossing the border, the national and provincial parks in British Columbia and Alberta, Canada, abound with serene wildernesses and cozy venues to host your event. To the south of Alberta’s Banff National Park in the town of Banff is The Juniper Hotel & Bistro, a 52-room independent hotel embracing roots with the culture of the Shushwap people, and a local experience with nature. “There [aren’t] too many places in this area that are not beautiful,” says Debbie Kerr-Hunter, sales and events manager for the hotel. The property has two private meetings spaces, the Vermilion Room and the Kiguli Room, as well as the on-site restaurant, Bistro. 

The Juniper Hotel & Bistro patio

The Juniper Hotel & Bistro

Mount Engadine Lodge is a secluded property in Canmore, Alberta, near Banff National Park and British Columbia’s Yoho National Park. Open year-round, the backcountry lodge has road access and capacity for up to 40 guests. With a chef on staff, all meals are included in the reservation. Other nearby venues include Kananaskis Mountain Lodge, Moose Hotel & Suites, and Hidden Ridge Resort. 

The majestic Mount Engadine Lodge in summertime

Nick Fitzhardinge

Moraine Lake in Banff National Park

Adobe Stock

Idaho

The Gem State is home to a noteworthy natural wonder in the south-central region of the state. Made up of lava flows and scattered islands of cinder cones and sagebrush, Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve sits in the Snake River Plain and features 410,000 acres of National Park Service-managed land. “It really looks like the moon,” says Jenna Vagias, public relations specialist at nearby Sun Valley Resort. The 399-room four-season resort is about an hour drive away from the preserve and offers team-building activities like golfing, bowling, and skating on the outdoor ice rink. 

“It’s a unique place that hasn’t lost its Western flair,” notes Brent Gillette, director of sales for the resort. Alongside a nearly 10,000-square-foot convention center, the resort has 25,000 square feet of meeting space and an outdoor pavilion that can seat 1,500 people. Sawtooth National Forest is nearby to the west and offers endless views of stunning mountainous scenery.  

Whether you want seclusion or a full-fledged resort experience, there are plenty of memorable options available in the heart of our planet’s wondrous and lively landscapes.

  • banffhiddenridge.com
  • elkhornranchevents.com
  • grizzlypeakwinery.com
  • thejuniper.com
  • marriott.com
  • moosehotelandsuites.com
  • mountengadine.com
  • nps.gov
  • parks.canada.ca
  • rollinghuts.com
  • sunvalley.com
  • treehouseparadise.com
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