15 Must-Visit Mountain Destinations in the United States

Written by Lev Baker
Published: June 2, 2023
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Looking for your next mountain destination? Look no further! Whether you seek the adrenaline rush of conquering challenging trails or the serenity of pristine alpine lakes, these majestic landscapes offer something for every adventurer. So, in this article, we’ll cover the 15 must-visit mountain destinations in the United States!

Vail, CO

Wildflowers blooming on Shrine Pass, Vail, Colorado, USA.

Whether you enjoy skiing, hiking, or just taking in nature, Vail is a wonderful mountain destination.

©Danica Chang/Shutterstock.com

Vail is one of the most popular mountain destinations in the United States for a reason. Specifically, this charming town sits right at the foot of the magnificent Vail Mountain, home to the famous Vail Ski Resort. 

Spanning over 5,289 acres, this incredible ski mountain is a paradise for snow enthusiasts, offering thrilling downhill and cross-country trails that are among the best in the world. But Vail isn’t just about winter fun. 

When the snow melts, the town transforms into a lively destination bursting with exciting off-season activities. Indulge in delicious food, explore the outdoors, and make unforgettable memories in this picturesque setting. While you can visit Vail any time of the year, plan your visit between June and September or December and March to make the most of your time in this town.

Park City, UT

Park City, Utah, USA downtown in autumn at dusk.

Park City is a quaint mountain town with tons of nature and adventure activities in its backdoor.

©Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com

Situated within a short drive from Salt Lake City, Park City stands out as a remarkable mountain destination worth exploring. While renowned for its exceptional skiing and the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, this charming city offers much more to discover. 

Visitors can enjoy thrilling activities like snowshoeing, snow biking, and snowmobiling in winter. Additionally, in the warmer months, adventure-seekers can try their hand at golfing, fly fishing, horseback riding, and rafting amidst breathtaking landscapes. 

Surprisingly, Park City’s number of tourists often surpasses its local residents, solidifying its status as a must-visit mountain haven in the United States. Here’s a tip: June and July are the cheapest months to visit Park City if you are on a budget!

Asheville, NC

Hiker girl sitting on a cliff edge enjoying scenic summer view. Woman relaxing on top of autumn mountain, over the clouds. Blue Ridge Parkway ,near Asheville, North Carolina, USA.

Asheville is a fun city on its own, but it is also nestled next to the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains.


For those seeking a charming small-town ambiance coupled with delicious cuisine and breathtaking vistas, look no further than Asheville! Situated amidst the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Asheville seamlessly blends outdoor adventures with the quirky charm of a mountain town. 

The city thrives on its flourishing art scene, with numerous galleries and boutiques dotting the downtown area, while an array of splendid hiking trails beckon adventurers. From thrilling pursuits like rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and mountain biking to serene nature walks, Asheville offers something to every taste.

With a moderate climate, Asheville allows for a delightful balance, offering glimpses of snowflakes in winter and pleasant temperatures for outdoor enjoyment in summer. So mark your calendar for a visit between September to early November or from March and May to experience the best of what Asheville offers.

Jackson Hole, WY

Schwabacher's Landing, Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Grand Teton mountains are seen at dawn reflected in the still water of the Snake River.

Jackson Hole is a popular ski destination near Yellowstone with dramatic mountain scenery.

©R K Sewell Photography/Shutterstock.com

Nestled gracefully within a valley embraced by national forests and majestic mountains, Jackson Hole is a top mountain destination near the remarkable Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park

Outdoor enthusiasts flock here to relish in the crisp, refreshing air and admire the cerulean skies. For those seeking serenity, an array of enticing restaurants await, where one can leisurely revel in the town’s charm while savoring a delightful cup of coffee.

With its captivating Wild West ambiance, Jackson Hole captivates the hearts of those who hold an affinity for this cherished era. In particular, the fall season, spanning from September to October, is the perfect time to explore this mountain paradise!

Stowe, VT

Fall colors in the village of Stowe Vermont

Stowe is a beautiful mountain town in the Appalachian mountains.

©John Couture/Shutterstock.com

Located at the base of Vermont‘s majestic Mount Mansfield, Stowe is a scenic small town that offers an array of attractions to create unforgettable memories. Its charm lies in the seamless combination of breathtaking natural scenery, top-notch recreational activities, rich cultural experiences, and delectable local flavors. 

In Stowe, you can revel in outdoor adventures while immersing yourself in the warmth of a welcoming community. This unique destination boasts unparalleled highlights, such as the state’s highest peak, a magnificent waterfall, and a beautiful church steeple. 

Additionally, Stowe offers many ways to experience the beauty of autumn, including land, air, and water excursions. The prime months for visiting Stowe are from September to February.

Taos, NM

Ancient dwellings of UNESCO World Heritage Site named Taos Pueblo in New Mexico. Taos Pueblo is believed to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in USA.

As one of the ultimate adventure sports and outdoor enthusiast paradises in the USA, Taos is an extremely popular town.

©Nick Fox/Shutterstock.com

Taos, a charming town encircled by the breathtaking Sangre de Cristo Mountains in New Mexico, is a must-visit mountain destination that defies expectations. 

Alongside the exhilarating skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and rafting opportunities, Taos offers unique experiences such as llama trekking, hot air balloon rides, and rejuvenating hot springs. Furthermore, Taos is a treasure of Native American culture, showcasing exquisite jewelry, clothing, pottery, and delectable culinary delights. Art enthusiasts will also be enthralled by the town’s exceptional galleries, providing ample opportunities for shopping.

To enjoy a perfect balance of fewer tourists and pleasant temperatures, plan your visit between May and early June or from late September to October.

Aspen, CO

Aspen city skyline with dramatic sunset

Those looking for the ultimate Rocky Mountain experience should definitely visit Aspen.


Aspen, Colorado, is an essential addition to any list of the best mountain destinations in the United States. This captivating destination offers a diverse range of attractions to cater to every visitor’s taste. 

Aspen is in the heart of the White River National Forest, encircled by the majestic peaks of the Elk Mountains. This quaint town presents a breathtaking mountain retreat. Beyond its world-class ski slopes, upscale shopping, and outstanding culinary scene, Aspen unveils its hidden charms. It stands as a year-round haven, beckoning adventurers with a wealth of outdoor activities such as hiking and mountain biking.

Moreover, the esteemed Aspen Music Festival beckons music enthusiasts, ranking among the nation’s top classical music events. For those seeking outdoor summer adventures, June through September is the prime period to visit Aspen.

Lake Placid, NY

View of the Mountain Village of Lake Placid from a Foggy Mirror Lake at Sunrise

A winter and summer destination, Lake Placid has previously hosted the Winter Olympics.

©Albert Pego/Shutterstock.com

Lake Placid, a captivating mountain destination, has proudly hosted the Winter Olympic Games twice. Located in the stunning Adirondack Mountains alongside its namesake lake, it lures visitors from all over the country.

In winter, Lake Placid becomes a snowy wonderland, while in summer, it transforms into an outdoor paradise. Imagine your ideal summer getaway: sandy beaches, majestic peaks in the distance, pristine lakes, and a charming town at the heart of it all. That’s Lake Placid. Whether you hike the mountains, stroll through town, or indulge in water activities, you can create your perfect day. Explore quiet hikes, discover enchanting waterfalls, and refuel at beloved local eateries and shops. 

The best time for warm-weather activities at Lake Placid is from late June to late August.

Leavenworth, WA

Wenatchee lake sunrise colors Leavenworth Wa

Leavenworth is a European-style town with beautiful glacial peaks as a backdrop!

©CHARLES MORRA/Shutterstock.com

Experience a slice of Germany within the United States by visiting the charming town of Leavenworth. Set against a backdrop of majestic mountains, glacial lakes, rivers, and an abundance of wineries, this destination’s breathtaking town will surely captivate you.

Immerse yourself in Leavenworth’s unforgettable European-style atmosphere, highlighted by lively German celebrations and festivals like the Autumn Leaf Festival, Maifest, and the iconic Oktoberfest.

While the winter brings inevitable snow, perfect for winter sports enthusiasts, summer in Leavenworth unveils opportunities for camping and multi-day hikes in the surrounding mountains. 

Make the most of your visit to this charming town by planning your trip in July!

Gatlinburg, TN

Gatlinburg cityscape

As the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg is a must-see destination in Tennessee.


Gatlinburg is situated at the gateway to the breathtaking Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This picture-perfect mountain destination boasts many outdoor activities, a culinary scene, and an array of captivating attractions. 

Drawing over 11 million people annually, the park itself is a haven of natural wonders, showcasing diverse flora, fauna, and stunning mountain vistas. Moreover, from Gatlinburg, adventurers can enter the park’s verdant forests and soak in the awe-inspiring views. 

Offering family-friendly attractions, cozy accommodations, and panoramic mountain vistas, Gatlinburg is a must-visit destination. September and October particularly stand out as the ideal time to experience the stunning fall foliage and enjoy mild temperatures.

Harpers Ferry, WV

Aerial view over the National Park town of Harpers Ferry in West Virginia with the church and old buildings in the city

Nature, history, and more – Harpers Ferry is a great destination for all.

©Steve Heap/Shutterstock.com

Harpers Ferry is a small town brimming with history and natural beauty. The entire town center is part of the remarkable Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, which showcases well-preserved historic sites. 

Beyond the town’s charm, the surrounding area unfolds with national parks, forests, and rivers, beckoning exploration. Specifically, a highlight is the renowned Appalachian Trail, which meanders through Harpers Ferry, accompanied by other scenic trails. 

Whether your interests lie in nature, history, or both, Harpers Ferry presents an abundance of incredible activities. Don’t forget to venture into the 3,660-acre Harpers Ferry National Park for hikes, fishing, or thrilling white-water rafting experiences.

The ideal periods for a visit to Harpers Ferry are mid to late spring (May and June) or late summer and fall.

Cordova, AK

Fishing Boat Harbor in Cordova, Alaska

A hidden gem, Cordova is a mountain town that offers opportunities for skiing, hiking, wildlife observation, and more.

©MDay Photography/Shutterstock.com

Cordova is an extraordinary town nestled at the mouth of the Copper River. Accessible solely by air or sea, this hidden gem in the United States boasts breathtaking landscapes of majestic mountains, thriving wetlands, enchanting forests, and many rivers and lakes. 

Cordova offers a wide array of outdoor activities to enjoy, including skiing, hiking, wildlife observation, photography, sport fishing, and even exhilarating flightseeing. Additionally, with its temperate rainforest, glaciers, and mountains in the Chugach National Forest, this hiker’s paradise guarantees an unforgettable experience. 

For the best experience, plan your trip during the idyllic spring months of May and June or the captivating fall season from October to December. 

Ketchum, ID

Sun Valley, Idaho in the winter

Escape into the mountains at Ketchum where you can experience world-class skiing.


Ketchum is an authentic mountain town offering a delightful escape into nature’s playground. There’s plenty of opportunity to hike and mountain bike, and there are many pristine waterways perfect for exploration. With world-class skiing also just a stone’s throw away, adventure awaits in every season. 

Ketchum’s lively downtown is a hub of activity, boasting an array of charming restaurants, unique shops, and captivating art galleries. Don’t miss the opportunity to be part of the cultural events that grace this town throughout the year. Plan your visit between June and September to enjoy the fantastic weather. 

Livingston, MT

Livingston, Montana

If you’re a nature enthusiast with a particular love for mountains, Livingston is a great visit.

©Montanabw / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

Nestled amidst the stunning Yellowstone River and embraced by four majestic mountain ranges, Livingston stands as an irresistible mountain destination for nature enthusiasts. Serving as an ideal hub for expeditions to Yellowstone National Park, this charming town welcomes visitors from far and wide throughout the year.

Livingston also offers a captivating fusion of diverse shops, museums, galleries, a golf course, live theater, and music venues, alongside a delectable array of restaurants catering to every palate. With thrilling outdoor activities such as skiing, snowmobiling, horseback riding, and fly fishing, there’s no shortage of excitement. 

Make sure to plan a visit between June and August, when sunny and warm weather prevails.

Bend, OR

An aerial view of the Bend, Oregon Whitewater Park

Explore volcanoes, waterfalls, buttes, and caves at Bend.

©Mike Albright Photography/Shutterstock.com

Bend, OR, is a must-visit mountain destination in the United States, renowned worldwide for its breathtaking scenery and abundant outdoor activities.

Immerse yourself in the arts scene, savor culinary delights at acclaimed restaurants, pamper yourself at luxurious spas, or go on an epic 21+ adventure along the famous Bend Ale Trail, the largest beer trail in the western region. Furthermore, this family-friendly haven offers an array of experiences, from boating on Cascade Lakes to witnessing the majestic raptors at the captivating High Desert Museum.

With awe-inspiring volcanoes, enchanting waterfalls, majestic buttes, and mysterious caves, Bend embodies everything you could want from an Oregon vacation. Additionally, it serves as a gateway to Sisters, another charming town nestled beneath three magnificent snow-covered peaks.

To truly appreciate the beauty of Bend, Oregon, it is recommended to plan your visit between June and September. 

Summary of the Must-Visit Mountain Destinations in the United States

DestinationStateMountain Range
VailColoradoRocky Mountains
Park CityUtahWasatch Mountains
AshevilleNorth CarolinaBlue Ridge Mountains
Jackson HoleWyomingGros Ventre & Teton Mountains
StoweVermontMount Mansfield
TaosNew MexicoSangre de Cristo Mountains
AspenColoradoElk Mountains
Lake PlacidNew YorkAdirondack Mountains
LeavenworthWashingtonCascade Mountains
GatlinburgTennesseeSmoky Mountains
Harpers FerryWest VirginiaAppalachian Mountains
CordovaAlaskaChugach Mountains
KetchumIdahoBoulder Mountains
LivingstonMontanaRocky Mountains
BendOregonCascades Mountains

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Lev is a writer at AZ Animals who primarily covers topics on animals, geography, and plants. He has been writing for more than 4 years and loves researching topics and learning new things. His three biggest loves in the world are music, travel, and animals. He has his diving license and loves sea creatures. His favorite animal in the world is the manta ray.

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