More precious than the gold in Fort Knox, America’s national parks have been its true national treasure since President Ulysses S. Grant established Yellowstone National Park in 1872. Forty-four years later, on August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service. Today, in this centennial year of the National Parks Service, there are 59 national parks throughout the United States and its territories, which last year attracted a record 307 million visitors. Imagine, then, a luxury private residence on the doorstep of these wide-open spaces, with awe-inspiring views and enviable access to some of the finest recreational pursuits on the planet. Reside amid the legendary parks of the American West—be it in a classic Montana ranch or a Colorado sportsman’s retreat—or abide in the beauty of America’s coastal jewels in a serene seaside cottage near Maine’s Acadia National Park or in a sublime Caribbean villa in Virgin Islands National Park. There can be no better way to savor a national park.
Aspensong: Grand Teton National Park
Wilson, WyomingJackson Hole's most distinctive contemporary residence is poised on 35 secluded acres at the edge of Grand Teton National Park. Located within the historic Crescent H Ranch, one of the nation’s top private fishing destinations, Aspensong seamlessly blends nature and architecture with the iconic Western lifestyle. Designed to bring the outdoors in, every room is situated to best access the awe-inspiring views. Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass walls open to an impressive valley panorama, ideal for wildlife viewing. The heart of the home, the central living space, connects two wings of the residence. The north wing comprises a guest suite, master suite, and conservatory. The west wing features two-guest suites and a media room. There is also a lavish owner's level with an office, library, and a second master suite with his-and-her bathrooms. Residents have access to the world-class Crescent H amenities: blue-ribbon fly-fishing on the Snake River; hiking, riding, and cross-country ski trails; and forest access; while nearby Jackson Hole’s attractions include world-class skiing at the top-ranked Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
Classic Sporting Ranch: Glacier National Park
Somers, Montana This 23-acre ranch overlooks Flathead Lake and Whitefish Mountain, on the periphery of Glacier National Park, a one-million-acre wilderness stretching from the Montana Rockies to the Canadian border. This idyllic Big Sky Country haven was built for Western living on a grand scale, with 14,500 square feet of living space, accommodations for 40, and room to expand. The classic lodge-style main house presides over the guest house and several ranch buildings. The estate has a bounty of amenities for a whole host of pursuits. The four-car garage has an attached gourmet kitchen, plus there’s an additional two-car garage and workshop for the auto enthusiasts; there’s a lakeside cabin, stocked trout pond, and fish-cleaning station for anglers; a game barn, archery and rifle range for hunters; and a horse barn and four pastures for equestrians. There’s even an outdoor movie theater and multiple fire pits amid the grounds for entertaining under the stars.
Sportsman's Retreat: Mesa Verde National Park
Dolores, ColoradoThis solar-, wind-, and geothermal-powered estate is located on five serene acres in Colorado’s Montezuma Valley, not far from Mesa Verde National Park—a breathtaking desert landscape and the only US park devoted exclusively to archaeological ruins. The home itself reflects the traditional Pueblo-style architecture of the American Southwest, with earth-toned stucco walls, terracotta floors, and a kiva fireplace. The recreational facilities include a game room, multi-car garage, and auto workshop. Residents can also visit the nearby McPhee Recreation Complex; Phil’s World, a 29-mile mountain bike course; and the town of Dolores, which offers some of the best hunting in the state and world-class fly-fishing on the Dolores River. The celebrated winter resort town of Telluride is just one hour north, making this property ideal as a sportsman's lodge or a corporate retreat.
Dirigo: Acadia National Park
Southwest Harbor, MaineUnparalleled views of Great Harbor, Somes Sound, and the mountains of Acadia National Park can be seen from nearly every room of this historic Maine estate. Built in 1894, Dirigo is an elegant shingle-style cottage situated on 3.15 scenic acres with 236 feet of waterfront at the mouth of Somes Sound, the east coast's only fjord. This idyllic setting is further enhanced by the magnificent surroundings that take in Acadia National Park, Bar Harbour, and the historic village of Southwest Harbor. The seven-bedroom, four-bathroom residence has retained its wonderful cottage detailing. There are the beautifully proportioned rooms with period architectural details, five fireplaces, picture windows and a wraparound porch to take in Maine’s breathtaking mountain and seascapes. This unique offering includes a separate building lot, perfect for extended family or guests or as an independent residence.
Colonial-Style Villa: Virgin Islands National Park
St. John, US Virgin IslandsAn infinity pool beckons to the sapphire-blue seas of the Caribbean from the central patio of this exotic, multi-level villa on the US Virgin Island of St. John. Poised atop a lush hillside, this tropical aerie frames a show-stopping 200-degree panorama encompassing the North Shore, five white-sand beaches, and the pristine landscape of Virgin Islands National Park, a 14,000-acre oasis composed of sub-tropical forest, coastal habitats, and coral reefs. Pale pink stucco walls rise above covered balconies to roofs of pastel pink and tan terracotta tile, enclosing five airy bedrooms and six opulent bathrooms. Almost 7,000 square feet of chic living and entertaining spaces are adorned in cool white, tan, and palest pink, accented by dark wood trim and beamed ceilings. Enhancing the resort-style ambience is a pool terrace with a stone bar and alfresco dining area.