Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure or a luxurious retreat, America’s best mountain towns have something for every type of traveler. During the winter months, these towns offer world-class skiing and snowboarding, and come summer, visitors can enjoy hiking, rafting, mountain biking, and more — they’re truly year-round destinations. From Aspen’s pristine slopes and luxury hotels to Asheville’s vibrant art scene and Leavenworth’s European feel, these mountain towns offer unique experiences and stunning scenery.
Here are 20 of the best mountain towns in the United States.
Park City, Utah
Under an hour’s drive from Salt Lake City, Park City is best known for skiing and Sundance. Of course, there’s more to the city than that — in the winter, visitors can snowshoe, snow bike, snowmobile, and more, while summer travelers can enjoy fly fishing, golfing, horseback riding, and rafting, among other activities. There’s a full range of accommodations, ranging from Airbnbs to five-star hotels, so there’s something for every budget and travel style.
Jackson, Wyoming is located in one of the most picturesque parts of the country, surrounded by mountains and national park land. During the winter, ski at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and in the summer, soak up the fresh air with visits to nearby Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. The stunning Amangani and Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole offer luxurious accommodations, spas, and mountain views.
Asheville, North Carolina
Surrounded by North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville combines outdoor adventure with quirky mountain town charm. The city has a vibrant art scene — downtown Asheville is packed with galleries and boutiques — and it’s surrounded by great hiking trails. You can’t visit Asheville without stopping at the historic Biltmore Estate, a stunning mansion built by George Vanderbilt in the late 1800s. Extend your time on the perfectly manicured property with a stay at The Inn on Biltmore Estate.
Taos, New Mexico
Perhaps New Mexico isn’t the first place you think of for a mountain vacation, but Taos, a town surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, might change your mind. In addition to skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and rafting, visitors can trek with llamas, take a hot air balloon ride, or soak in the hot springs. Hotel Luna Mystica offers unique accommodations in charming vintage trailers.
This Vermont mountain town is truly a year-round destination, with opportunities for outdoor activities like skiing and ice skating in the winter, hiking in the summer, and admiring the colorful foliage in autumn. Opt to stay at The Lodge at Spruce Peak for ski-in/ski-out access, or enjoy the plentiful amenities at Topnotch Resort.
No list of America’s best mountain towns would be complete without renowned ski (and après ski) destination Aspen, Colorado. Like Park City, Aspen has a little something for everyone, with pristine slopes, high-end shopping, fantastic restaurants, and several luxury hotels, including The St. Regis Aspen Resort, which offers a quintessentially Aspen experience with upscale accommodations, daily Champagne sabering, and the Remède Spa.
Conveniently located near Yellowstone National Park and Big Sky Resort, Bozeman is the perfect home base for a trip packed with outdoor adventure. When you’re not trekking through the national park or hitting the slopes, relax at the Kimpton Armory Hotel Bozeman, which has a rooftop pool offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Estes Park, Colorado
Located in northern Colorado, near the entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park is ideal for active travelers who want to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. There’s rafting, rock climbing, hiking, fishing, and more, and fans of the horror film “The Shining” should check out the historic Stanley Hotel — it’s said to have inspired the Stephen King bestseller-turned-film.
Take a trip to Germany without leaving the continental United States when you visit Leavenworth, Washington. Find German specialties, including sausages, schnitzel, sauerkraut, pastries, potato salad, and of course, plenty of beer, in this charming, Bavarian-inspired village. During the winter, visitors can enjoy skiing, ice climbing, sleigh rides, and more, and in the warmer months, it’s all about rafting or tubing on the river, hiking or climbing in the mountains, or touring nearby cideries and wineries.
Lake Placid, New York
Located in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, Lake Placid is a snowy wonderland in winter and an outdoorsy escape in the summer. The town has hosted the Winter Olympics twice, so it’s a prime location for skiing and snowboarding — you can even visit the Olympic sites or check out the Lake Placid Olympic Museum for a dose of history.
Sun Valley, Idaho
The small city of Ketchum and resort town Sun Valley combine to create the perfect home base for an outdoorsy Idaho getaway. Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain offer diverse terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels in the winter and miles of hiking and biking trails during the summer.
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Located in northwestern Colorado, Steamboat Springs has everything you’d want from a mountain vacation in a small-town setting. The town is home to a family-friendly ski resort offering on-mountain dining, ski lessons, and plenty of winter sports, and its famous thermal hot springs are the perfect place to soak after a day of hiking or skiing.
Whether you visit in spring, summer, fall, or winter, Gatlinburg is packed with kid-friendly attractions, cozy places to stay, and incredible mountain views. It’s the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, America’s most-visited national park, and it’s just a short drive from Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s theme park.
Another popular U.S. mountain town, Vail is known for its world-class skiing, après-ski scene, and posh resorts. Annual events include the festive Revely Vail, Winterfest, and Taste of Vail. Less than 20 minutes away, Beaver Creek is another family-friendly ski resort area with a charming village at the base of the mountain.
Big Sky, Montana
Nestled in Montana’s Rocky Mountains south of Bozeman, you’ll find Big Sky. Big Sky Resort and nearby Yellowstone National Park provide ample opportunities for outdoor adventures, including an enchanted forest trail, lots of skiing and snowboarding, and national park tours.
Highlands, North Carolina
A quaint town in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwestern North Carolina, Highlands is ideal for a romantic getaway with accommodations ranging from luxury hotels to tucked-away cottages. Nearby hiking trails lead to mountain overlooks and picturesque waterfalls, and charming shops and restaurants line Main Street.
South Lake Tahoe, California
Combine snowy peaks with lake views when you travel to Lake Tahoe in California and Nevada. The lake is lined with ski mountains and waterfront resorts, and the small city of South Lake Tahoe on the California side is home to lake beaches and Heavenly ski resort.
Hood River, Oregon
Located on the Columbia River about an hour from Portland, Hood River truly has something for every type of traveler. Active visitors will be happy to find skiing, hiking, biking, rafting, and golf nearby, while foodies will want to stop by the many orchards, wineries, and breweries for a taste of the region.
With Whitefish Mountain Resort and Glacier National Park nearby, this small Montana town is a playground for outdoorsy travelers. The town’s streets are lined with bars, shops, galleries, and cafes, and parks with hiking trails and beautiful beaches surround Whitefish Lake.
Mammoth Lakes, California
Mammoth Lakes is stunning, with rugged mountain peaks, alpine lakes, and waterfalls nearby. The town is convenient to Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Devils Postpile National Monument, June Mountain Ski Area, and world-famous Yosemite National Park.