Zion Lodge is located in Zion National Park. The lodge was designed in 1924 as a compromise solution between its developer, the Utah Parks Company, which wanted a large hotel, and National Park Service director Stephen Mather, who desired smaller-scale development. The Utah Parks Company had been formed in 1923 as a subsidiary of the Union Pacific Railroad, and was, like many similar programs, intended to stimulate passenger rail traffic to the national parks of southwest Utah.
Gilbert Stanley Underwood designed the Zion Lodge as part of a series of similar structures for the Utah Parks Company at the north rim of the Grand Canyon and at Bryce Canyon National Park. Underwood's design was more modest in scale and detailing than those at the Grand Canyon and Bryce, substituting milled lumber for whole logs in a "studs-out" style. Underwood used less stonework, in smaller pieces. The structures were designed to be more in keeping with the character of the valley floor, which at the time of construction was still inhabited by settlers. Underwood would go on to design all of the Utah Parks Company buildings in the valley, many of which are included in the Zion Lodge Historic District, which surrounds the lodge.