Ski resorts in the summer are a paradise for hikers, enticing visitors of all kinds with some of the most picturesque trails in the country. From quick day hikes to waterfalls and crystal blue lakes, to mountaineering missions on 14,000’ peaks, the following seven ski towns are home to some of the best hiking found in the U.S.
Photo: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Well-known as a skiers’ paradise, Jackson Hole will also delight hikers with some of the best hiking in the country. Clear lakes and the jagged peaks of the Tetons dominate the landscape surrounding Jackson Hole. Grand Teton National Park and nearby Yellowstone National Park entice hikers with everything from emerald-green lakes, rugged peaks, waterfalls and a plethora of wildlife like moose, bears and elk. The Jackson Hole Mountain Resort tram also runs in the summer, allowing hikers to start at 10,450’ in the Southern Tetons and work their way down through a vast network of trails.
Photo: Telluride Ski Resort
Telluride is nestled in the stunning San Juan Mountain Range, home to some of the most picturesque peaks in the country. Peaks so iconic, that a well-known beer company named Coors uses the peaks to brand their bottles and cans. From day hikes to overnight mountaineering trips, adventures of every nature can be found in Telluride. Bridal Veil Falls, the tallest free-falling falls in Colorado, is one of the more popular hikes, while those 14,000’ peaks that adorn popular beer cans (their names are Mt. Wilson, Wilson Peak and El Diente) beckon more aggressive mountaineers.
Photo: Whitefish Mountain Resort
Located up north in the Montana wilderness, Whitefish is a gateway to Glacier National Park and also home to some outstanding summer hiking in Flathead National Forest. Daylight stretches late into the evening here, allowing for plenty of time to explore. The area’s signature huckleberries make for a delicious snack while hiking the resort and enjoying views of the Canadian Rockies, Whitefish Lake and the Flathead Valley. Day trips into Glacier easily accessible from Whitefish, and offer exceptional views, glaciers, high-alpine lakes and wildflowers, but bring your bear spray.
Photo: CBMR/Chris Segal
Summers in Crested Butte are celebrated for their plentiful and colorful wildflowers. Located in the Elk Mountain Range, many of Crested Butte’s hikes traverse up and over high alpine passes and as a result, offer 360-degree, jaw-dropping vistas of the valley below. Lakes, iconic peaks like Gothic Mountain and hot springs offer a range of popular destinations for hikers, accessed by winding forests trails, over alpine tundra and through wild-flower speckled meadows.
Photo: Mammoth Mountain
The Mammoth Lakes Trail System explores the Sierra Nevada Range. With over 300 miles of trails, the stunning system offers something for every kind of hiker. From town, hikers can easily link up with the renowned Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,650-mile trek from Mexico to Canada, and the John Muir Trail, which stretches 211 miles from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney. These can be traveled for a day hike or put together for a much longer, backpacking adventure. Lakes, high-alpine tundra and volcanic craters are just the beginning of what Mammoth has to offer.
Photo: Whiteface Mountain
Not only is Lake Placid, New York home to Whiteface Mountain and the 1980 Winter Olympics, but it is also located in the Adirondacks. The Adirondacks feature the longest trail system in the nation, with thousands of miles of hiking trails from quick loops to multi-day backpacks. Here, the High Peaks, or a cluster of 46 Adirondack mountains, offer a plethora of hiking options, including Mount Marcy, the highest peak in New York State, standing at over 5,000 feet tall. Plan your hiking trips in the fall and take in some of the most beautiful and classic views of the changing leaves and seasons.
Photo: Aspen Snowmass
True to its namesake, Aspen, Colorado is home to massive groves of beautiful aspen trees, which come fall, lend to some of the best foliage-peeping hikes in the country. Although the hiking is incredible all summer long, September and October are prime months to watch the leaves change from green to a bright orange and red. In addition, Aspen is also home to two 14,000’ peaks named the Maroon Bells, the most photographed peaks in North America. Surrounding hikes in the valley offer some of the most quintessential Colorado vistas.