13 Best Mountain Destinations in the USA for Summer

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie looking to hike, bike, and climb your way around town, or a luxury traveler in search of a wine-tasting with a beautiful view, heading to the mountains for your next summer vacation is always a good choice. Breathe in the fresh air and enjoy all nature has to offer in these 13 best mountain destinations in the USA for summer!

Best Mountain Destinations for Summer in The US

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1. Vail, CO

While Vail, Colorado may be home to the famous Vail Ski Resort, that doesn’t mean you should only visit this town in the winter. When the temperatures rise and the snow (mostly) melts come summertime, Vail becomes a whole new travel destination. Find yourself amongst beautiful golf courses, miles and miles of hiking trails through the Rocky Mountains, and a whole host of cultural events.

Best Mountain Destinations in the USA for Summer - Vail

If you’re a fan of fishing, don’t miss Gore Creek—it runs straight through the town center and is a popular spot for fly-fishing! Need a place to stay? I highly recommend The Four Seasons Resort in Vail!

2. Bend, OR

Nestled along the east side of the Cascade Mountains, Bend is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts in the Pacific Northwest. Enjoy incredible weather of sunny skies and 80-degree days while you hike through the hills or fly fish in the rivers of Bend.

Summer destination in Bend, Oregon

In the evening, don’t miss exploring around town for some killer food and drink, in particular the legendary Deschutes Brewery

3. Lake Placid, NY

While Lake Placid may specialize in winter sports, it also makes for an incredible summer hiking destination. Climb your way through the 46 High Peaks of the Adirondacks or get your adrenaline pumping with some water sports on the lake—like stand up paddleboarding or whitewater rafting.

Summer Mountain Destinations - Lake Placid

For something a little more laidback, check out the Whiteface Mountain gondola ride or grab a drink at the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery.

4. Rocky Mountain National Park, CO - Best Mountain Destinations in the USA for Summer

Summer is one of the best times to visit Rocky Mountain National Park. When the temperatures rise and the days get longer, the park begins to teem with wildlife and is filled with opportunities for outdoor adventures. For an easy family activity, drive along Trail Ridge Road, the highest paved road in the entire national park system, for stunning views of the park.

Rocky Mountain National Park Summer Destination

For something more adventurous, grab a backcountry pass to hike, camp, and explore the vast wilderness of the Rockies!

5. Taos, NM

Taos is an incredible mountain destination for summer, but you’ll be best off hitting this town in either early or late summer, as things can get a little too hot for most at the height of the season. But that doesn’t mean you should miss out on the beauty of Taos—in the surrounding Sangre de Cristo Mountains, you’ll never run out of things to do in the summer.

Best Mountain Destinations in the USA for Summer - Taos

Go for a hot-air balloon ride, hit the trails on a mountain bike or by horseback, take a soak in the hot springs, or even go for a llama-led trek!

6. Burlington, VT

Looking for one of the best mountain destinations in the USA for summer in the northeast? Your search is over: it’s time to head to Burlington, Vermont! With sleepy vibes and bucolic scenery, the small town of Burlington is a great spot to explore everything from the beautiful Lake Champlain area to the bustling local farmers market.

Burlington, VT summer

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you can’t miss taking a tour of the one-and-only Ben & Jerry’s factory located just outside Burlington!

7. Asheville, NC - Best Mountain Destinations in the USA for Summer

This chill hippy town in the southeast US is a fabulous spot to kick back and relax in the mountains. Whether you want to go on strenuous hikes or just see the sights from your car, Asheville has got you covered. The Blue Ridge Mountains are a stones’ throw away and filled with incredible hiking and mountain biking trails.

Or, simply head out on the Blue Ridge Parkway and soak in the mountains from the comfort of your car—it’s been voted one of the most beautiful drives in the entire country!

8. Homer, AK

Homer is the answer if you’re in search of mountain towns with incredible wildlife and in particular, fishing opportunities. Known as the Halibut capital of the world, Homer is the ideal spot to get some serious fishing in, but that’s not all. Go eagle-watching during the evenings, or explore the massive Kenai Mountains while you’re there too.

Homer Alaska - Summer Mountain Destination

Cap it all off with a drink at the infamous Salty Dawg Saloon, and you’re sure to have a trip you won’t soon forget.

9. Lake Tahoe, CA - Best Mountain Destinations in the USA for Summer

While many visit the Lake Tahoe area in winter for the ski season, it’s also one of the best mountain destinations in the USA for summer. This time of year is perfect for taking a dip in the refreshingly cool waters of Lake Tahoe, which stays nice and chilly even during the hottest days of summer.

Lake Tahoe California -Best Mountain Destinations in the USA for Summer

Head to South Lake Tahoe if you want to be right in the action, surrounded by kitschy lodges and casinos, or stay in North Lake Tahoe for something a little quieter.

10. Park City, UT

The impressive Wasatch mountain range frames this small ski town in Utah. Summer is a fabulous time to explore Park City, with world-class fly fishing and miles of trails to explore in the Uinta National Forest.

For a little more organized fun, you can’t miss the Utah Olympic Park, where the 2002 winter Olympics were held. There you’ll find ziplines, summer bobsledding, ropes courses, and more!

11. Jackson, WY - Best Mountain Destinations in the USA for Summer

The best way to hit two national parks in one trip? Head to Jackson, Wyoming! This quaint mountain town lies within driving distance of both Grand Tetons National Park and Yellowstone National Park. After a full day of hiking, mountain biking, and exploring the gorgeous natural landscapes of northwest Wyoming, be sure to check out Jackson’s charming town square.

Summer Mountain Destinations - Jackson WY

My favorite summer tradition in Jackson? The nightly Town Square Shootout performed by the Jackson Hole Playhouse.

12. Leavenworth, WA

If you’ve always dreamed of visiting Germany for the rustic mountain vibes and Bavarian architecture… you may not have to go as far as you think. Through its classically German food and beer halls and the craggy mountaintops surrounding the town, Leavenworth will transport you to the old days of living in Bavaria, without having to leave the US!

leavenworth washington

For outdoor enthusiasts, there’s great rock-climbing and bouldering opportunities around Leavenworth. Or, enter vacation mode with a wine, cider, or beer tasting.

13. Bozeman, MT

Dubbed the “most livable place” in the US, Bozeman could also be your ideal location for a mountain getaway. Located in the Rocky Mountains of southern Montana, Bozeman is home to hiking trails with dramatic viewpoints, rock climbing destinations, and bountiful hunting.

Best Mountain Destinations in the USA for Summer - Bozeman

While you’re in Bozeman, make sure to check out Montana Grizzly Encounter, a sanctuary where you can get an up close encounter with grizzlies and learn more about this awe-inspiring species. 

5 thoughts on “13 Best Mountain Destinations in the USA for Summer

  1. This guide is incredibly helpful. You’ve really thought through everything you need to know before planning a trip. Thank you for this helpful resource. Saving this guide for later!

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