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 there are 60 national parks throughout the United States and its territories, which last year attracted a record 327.5 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 manor near Maine’s Acadia National Park. There can be no better way to savor a national park.
Grand Teton National Park
Legacy Estate in Jackson, Wyoming
This Wyoming legacy estate provides unobstructed views of Grand Teton National Park from its elevated, 80-acre setting in Jackson, Wyoming. Jonathan L. Foote, an architect whose environmentally integrated buildings “walk softly on the land,” designed the 9,900-square-foot main residence and 825-square-foot guest house with an understated, timeless elegance. Traditional materials, such as reclaimed wood and stacked stone, are complemented by walls of glass to showcase the views. Further highlights include a five-car garage, heated outdoor pool, spa/exercise room, and a guest suite. The property also has several wine cellars to accommodate a significant wine collection. Residents will enjoy the area’s world-class recreation: blue-ribbon fly-fishing, hiking, riding, cross-country ski trails, and the top-ranked slopes of nearby Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
Glacier National Park
Marco Bay Estate in Somers, Montana
Marco Bay Estate has a private waterfront setting on the western shore of Flathead Lake, one of the United States’ largest natural freshwater lakes. The property offers year-round enjoyment with 475 feet of lake frontage, including a covered boat dock, and 19 private, forested acres on the periphery of Glacier National Park, a one-million-acre wilderness stretching from the Montana Rockies to the Canadian border. The contemporary main house presides over the guest house and several outbuildings. There are two garages, including a detached three-car garage with two bunkrooms and a woodshop on the lower level. The guest cabin has a bathroom, sleeping quarters, and a full kitchen. There is also a shop for storing recreation equipment.
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
Water Falling Estate in Ninole, Hawaii
Water Falling Estate sits cliffside overlooking the Pacific Ocean on Hawaii’s Big Island, home to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, a 520-acre biosphere reserve famous for its active volcanoes: Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. This one-of-a-kind oceanfront compound is named after the two natural waterfalls that cascade into the ocean on either side of the residence. Gated and blissfully private, the four-story home is a reinforced superstructure with a large, fluid floor plan. All four stories, including the rooftop deck, are served by a central Daytona 52-inch round pneumatic air compression elevator. The estate’s world-class amenities include a parking structure topped with a lighted tennis/basketball court with stadium-style seating for 450 spectators; a golf practice area and nine-hole golf course; and a cliffside aquatic center featuring a half-Olympic-sized swimming pool, diving pool, children’s pool, spa, changing rooms with shower and sauna, as well as a wet bar, outdoor grilling station, and dining area.
Acadia National Park
East of Eden in Bar Harbor, Maine
East of Eden is a historic nine-estate in Bar Harbor, adjacent to Acadia National Park. This beautifully restored property, originally built in 1907, is one of the few remaining Gilded Age mansions to survive the Great Fires of 1947. Boston architect Guy Lowell designed the three-story residence in the Beaux Arts style. The architectural details include Ionic columns, ornate niches, Douglas fir floors, hand-painted Chinese wallpaper, and a pastel mural depicting the Maine landscape. The main floor was designed for entertaining on a grand or intimate scale. There are 19 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms. All seven primary suites have fireplaces and attractive water or landscape views. A two-person elevator services all three residential floors and the basement. The expansive brick deck, covered porch, and lawned gardens offer views of the islands of Frenchman Bay. The property also includes an eight-car garage, maintenance building, generator, and 1,000 feet or waterfront with a deepwater dock.
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Mesa Verde National Park
Sportsman’s Retreat in Dolores, Colorado
This 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.