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Seasonal work at National Park lodges and operations offers the opportunity of a lifetime

Posted by: Xanterra on March 13, 2018

When you get hired for a summer job at one of the national park hotels and lodges managed by Xanterra Travel Collection, your position isn’t just all work and no play.

Sure, you’ll work hard as a Xanterra employee. But with some of America’s most spectacular landscapes in your backyard, from the red rock depths of Grand Canyon to the lakes of Yellowstone, you’ll also have endless places to explore.

Grand Canyon

Challenge yourself on the classic Rim-to-Rim trek at Grand Canyon, look for wolves in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley, and hike to more than 200 waterfalls in Glacier National Park. Whether you’re in college, ready to try a second career, or a retiree looking for part-time work, these are experiences to cherish forever.

In 2017, Xanterra hired 3,900 seasonal workers at its properties in parks across the country (including Utah’s Zion, Oregon’s Crater Lake, Colorado’s Rocky Mountain, and California’s Death Valley national parks). While most were primarily for the peak season between May and into September, Death Valley’s high season is from fall into spring. Although the majority of the available jobs are in lodging and food and beverage, check out the Xanterra careers portal and you’ll see that the company also hires retail associates, engineers, accountants, IT specialists, and guides to conduct interpretive tours.

There’s no one type of Xanterra employee. But no matter the work they do, their age, or where they call home, Xanterra’s workers share common core values, says Stacy Hiller, the Corporate Director of Talent Engagement.

“For many people, the chance to visit the national parks is on their bucket list,” she says. “So to be able to live and work in a national park is a pretty special experience. Our employees are hard working and share a passion for the environment. And it takes a certain type of individual, maybe someone who is an adventure seeker who enjoys all that nature has to offer.”

While the chance to work in the national parks is the big draw, Xanterra employees also appreciate the unique community and bonds that form with their diverse group of fellow workers, both on the job and after hours. It’s an immersive experience. As a benefit of the job, at many park locations the company provides dorm-style housing and meals in employee cafeterias. And while it’s no secret that the world comes to visit America’s national parks, thanks to Xanterra lodges and restaurants, people from all over the world also work at these iconic locations.

Just take a look at the nametags worn by Xanterra employees. The badges show the hometowns of workers, and in addition to people from all around the U.S., you’ll see that many employees hail from countries in just about every corner of the globe. A partial list of recent employee nations includes Taiwan, Lithuania, Ecuador, Turkey, Malaysia, and Romania.

“One of the comments that we frequently hear is how much our employees enjoy the chance to meet and know people from other cultures,” says Hiller. “People who have been working together often become friends and even end up going to visit each other in their home countries.”

Because most national parks are situated a fair distance from cities, Xanterra schedules outings for shopping and cultural experiences, such as field trips from Death Valley National Park to Las Vegas, about two hours away. For employees from both the U.S. and foreign countries, living and working in a remote location can initially result in a bit of culture shock. But thanks to an extensive orientation program and plenty of support from company staff, the adjustment typically goes smoothly. Many workers end up coming back year after year, and some move between parks as the peak season ends at one and begins at another.

Goats on Mountain and hidden lake

In addition to such famous national parks as Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, Xanterra hires employees at four state parks in Ohio and for its tour and cruise operations, including the Grand Canyon Railroad. So take a look at the unique employment opportunities waiting for you in what Xanterra likes to call its “Beautiful Places on Earth.” You’ll not only find a job, but the experience of a lifetime.

For more on the travel experiences to Beautiful Places on Earth™ available from Xanterra Travel Collection and its affiliated properties, visit xanterra.com.


Written by: Matt Jaffe

Specializing in California, the Southwest, and Hawaii, Matt Jaffe is an award-winning former senior writer at Sunset magazine and contributes to a variety of publications, including Los Angeles, Arizona Highways, and Westways. His books include The Santa Monica Mountains: Range on the Edge and Oaxaca: The Spirit of Mexico.

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