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Outdoor Lifestyle Lodging: The Rise of ‘Adventure Hotels,’ Explained

Flying into Salt Lake City overlooking the snowcapped Wasatch Range is an outdoorsman’s paradise. Skiing, biking, hiking, fishing, rock climbing — Utah has it in spades. And now, one local hotel has all that too.

The onsite climbing gym at evo Hotel; (photo/evo)
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When it comes to a one-stop-shop place to stay that has everything from local beers to soft beds, and gear for rent or purchase, the new concept by evo Hotel nails it with its campus in the Granary District of Salt Lake City. The locale offers close proximity to skiing Powder Mountain in winter and spring, plus the Bouldering Project’s indoor rock climbing gym, and a gear rental shop, all conveniently located onsite.

If you are an outdoor enthusiast, odds are you get along with fellow adventurers. So why not room with them? It’s this “shared stoke” concept that ignites the trend of adventure hotels that is sweeping across the country.

The evo Hotel, for instance, includes a skate park, rock climbing gym, bar, coffee shop, gear store, rental area, yoga studio, and even meeting space for remote workers. However, as much as the new evo Hotel has to offer, it’s really what is outside the walls that is the big draw. The Wasatch Mountains loom large just outside Salt Lake City, offering world-class skiing, mountain biking, rock climbing, and more.

The evo Hotel is the latest in a line of outdoor adventure-focused properties that are vying to serve as a base for all your outdoor adventure needs. Why a hotel? It’s an option for anyone who isn’t camping, or maybe who traveled to a hotel location by airplane (and didn’t pack all their camp gear), or maybe, someone like a remote worker who needs access to certain amenities. Places such as AutoCamp, Gravity Haus, A-Lodge Boulder, Field Station (just opened in Moab), and Yonder Escalante are all trying to cut into this market on travel stoke.

But, what’s up with all the adventure hotels? Are they really the future for adventure enthusiasts looking to launch their next adventure, or simply a new marketing ploy to draw you in?

The Rise of the ‘Adventure Hotel’

A full gear shop and rental outfitter for bikes, hiking gear, and more is on-site at evo; (photo/David Young)

The days of staying in a Motel 6 and having to drive to various places to get food, gear rentals, or entertainment are over. Now, with places such as evo Hotel or Gravity Haus, visitors can get all of that in one place.

While each hotel has its own flavor of offerings (Gravity Haus has a membership model whereas A-Lodge is more of a traditional hotel with an adventure concierge), they are all based on people connecting over the love of the outdoors.

“I always had a desire for people to connect. Humans want to connect but you need to create the space for that,” said Bryce Phillips, evo Founder and CEO. “We look to create those places.”

The various options, when it comes to outdoor hotels, tend to complement each other. Phillips talked to us about layering various uses into one shared space, such as shopping and rentals, food and beverage, and even art and music. The benefit for the visitor is having a community with common interests.

The Concept

Adventure hotels offer shared sports amenities (like climbing gyms, bike tuning, or yoga) as well as community spaces, on top of standard lodging and restaurant amenities; (photo/David Young)

For many, an adventure hotel is more about the community than the place to stay. While you can get a comfortable room and Wi-Fi in most places, these various hotels know their clients are interested in sharing stories about the line they skied that day or the route they climbed. Maybe, they don’t want a free sub-par continental breakfast — maybe instead they want an early morning yoga class, or a hot tub to soothe sore muscles after a long day outside.

“The feeling of connection feels different here [at evo],” Phillips said. “We want people to feel truly connected to something different.” While each adventure hotel has differences in terms of locations, amenities, and sports or activities offered, they all have the common thread of focusing on what the outdoor community is tapped into.

Jenny Knowlton, a Gravity Haus member from Denver, said she’s enjoyed the hotel, but also its food and gear rentals, such as mountain bikes. “I thought that the hotel and the decor were awesome. It is a great mountain vibe and feel, and the food has been great at both Breckenridge and Vail,” Knowlton said. “And the gear rental aspect of it is pretty cool. If you forget something, they got it.”

Michael Cattanach lives in Denver and is a member of Gravity Haus. Aside from staying at the hotel, he’s also participated in some of the social events that Gravity Haus offers its members such as pre-planned group dinners and sports leagues.

An avid fly fisher, mountain biker, and snowboarder, Cattanach initially joined the co-working space in Vail, but over time has explored the various properties. “I would say hotel discounts are one of the top, if not the top, reason to join,” said Cattanach. “Access to adventure through planned events lets me meet people that I would not have otherwise. And the pre-planned trips are great, such as the hut trip in Vail.”

Adventure Hotel Options

Various types of rooms and stays are offered at Yonder Escalante; (photo/David Young)

There are a fair number of outdoor adventure hotels to choose from when traveling these days. We’ve broken down a few options and what each has to offer.

A-Lodge Boulder

With locations in Boulder and Lyons, Colo., A-Lodge promotes access to adventure with amenities. Whatever your sport of choice is, A-Lodge likes to consider itself an “adventure concierge.” More than just a bed to sleep in, A-Lodge offers insights into the best places to fish, bike, or climb. It also has event space options for bigger events or groups. It also has a pool, hot tub, slackline park, saloon, and shuttle services.

  • Type of lodging: Tent camping, van camping, hostel shared rooms, standard rooms
  • Outdoor amenities: Fire pits and grills, porch/outdoor space, hot tub/pool, slacklines, ski shuttle, beer garden, trail access
  • Rates: $49-59 (camping and hostel), $250 & up (standard rooms)
A-Lodge Boulder
Outside the A-Lodge Boulder in winter; (photo/Caveman Collective)


With locations across the country from Zion to Cape Cod, AutoCamp has the sector of glamping covered. From Airstream suites to luxurious tents, this is a way to explore the wilderness without sacrificing style.

A high-end boutique-style camping destination offering pools to fire pits, AutoCamp’s various properties are all focused on high-level hotel comfort in scenic, outdoor locations.

  • Type of lodging: Luxury tents, campers, suites, Airstream suites
  • Outdoor amenities: Pool, general store, clubhouse, fire pits, outdoor showers, wood-fired hot tubs, outdoor dining, hiking access
  • Rates: $170 & up

Basecamp Hotel

With locations in Boulder and Tahoe, Basecamp Hotels is, as the name applies, a jumping-off point for outdoor fun. Its motto, “Built for Exploring,” sums it up nicely. The hotels are not your average hotel either, as in the way Basecamp incorporates outdoor themes into the designs and rooms.

  • Type of lodging: Standard rooms, “Great Outdoors” indoor family camping
  • Outdoor amenities: Fitness center, hot tub, dry sauna, fire pits, ski/board storage, activity guide, local trail access, dog-friendly
  • Rates: $139 & up

evo Hotel

The indoor skatepark at evo Hotel; (photo/David Young)

With a campus in the Granary District of Salt Lake City, evo Hotel offers three different types of rooms, coffee, bar, art, and a skate park all in one location. There’s also a rental department and evo shop on site for any gear needs.

Evo partnered with the Bouldering Project on an indoor rock climbing gym that is in the shared space along with a gym and yoga studio.

  • Type of lodging: Bunks, rooms, suites
  • Outdoor amenities: Climbing gym, skate park, gym, yoga/fitness room, gear shop, gear rentals, outdoor bar, pet-friendly
  • Rates: $150 & up

Field Station

field station
Yes, you have the option of sleeping in a portaledge instead of the bed at Field Station; (photo/AutoCamp)

This concept hotel, which is an offshoot of the AutoCamp Brand, has locations in Joshua Tree and Moab. Field Station offers weary adventurers a place to rest and recharge after a long hike or climb, with amenities such as beer (for purchase), hot showers, and beds. Essentially, hotel luxuries you wouldn’t normally get camping.

Field Station will also provide gear as needed.

  • Type of lodging: Rooms, van life spots
  • Outdoor amenities: Gear shop, rentals, tour guides, community areas
  • Rates: $135 & up ($29/night for van life parking)

Gravity Haus

A standard queen room; (photo/Mary Murphy)

From hotels to restaurants and gear, Gravity Haus is an all-inclusive option for the Colorado high country, as well as Tahoe. With membership options for those who are looking to dig into everything Gravity Haus has to offer, the focus is on building an adventurous community and the infrastructure around it. Non-membership amenities include access to all the common spaces, pool and hot tubs, onsite coffee shops, and co-working spaces.

Membership perks include unlimited daytime access, coworking space access, unlimited fitness classes, gear rentals, free or discounted nightly rates, and up to a 25% discount on food and beverages. Members even have van life options with a Dave & Matt Vans partnership.

  • Type of lodging: Rooms, suites, condos
  • Outdoor amenities: Gear rental shop, fitness room, spa/pool/tubs, dog-friendly
  • Rates: $200 & up

Yonder Escalante

(Photo/David Young)

This is a newer outdoor “hotel” concept in the heart of Grand Staircase Escalante and Bryce Canyon National Park. It serves as a jumping-off point for hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking. And, it doesn’t really have “hotel rooms” — instead, Yonder offers everything from campsites to deluxe cabins.

The variety and sprawl of the various lodgings are impressive; there’s something for every type of traveler. During my stay, I met Daniel Corliss, a healthcare executive and venture capitalist who says he’s considering using it for work retreats.

Inspired by the “spirit of the American road trip,” the resort offers newly renovated vintage airstreams, RV sites, an open-air lounge, a general store, a food truck, a pool and hot tub, and even a drive-in movie theater equipped with nine stationary restored classic cars playing movies 7 nights a week.

  • Type of lodging: Campsites, RV sites, cabins, deluxe cabins, Airstreams
  • Outdoor amenities: Fire pits, outdoor showers, general store, pool, lounge, outdoor theater, dog-friendly, hiking access
  • Rates: $69 & up
The permanent drive-in movie theater, included in your stay; (photo/David Young)
wide view of Salt Lake City, Utah during the daytime with bright green mountains and blue sky overhead

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