Top 15 Best Mountain Towns to Visit in the USA

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Mountain holidays are exciting and adventurous, whether you're skiing, hiking, or just visiting for the vistas. Fortunately, America has a plethora of stunning ... read more...

  1. It's no surprise that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has three gates in the center of downtown Gatlinburg, making it the most popular attraction in this eastern Tennessee town. In fact, it's such a smash that Gatlinburg's population skyrockets from fewer than 4,000 to more than 40,000 during peak tourist season. It's easy to understand why the park is so popular, with miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails, historical displays and cabins, and the chance to observe black bears, elk, deer, and other species in their natural setting. When you're not in the park enjoying its natural wonders, you'll likely spend time admiring it from several of Gatlinburg's top attractions, including the Gatlinburg Space Needle and the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway.

    However, Gatlinburg is more than simply a gateway to the Smokies. This little mountain town is a destination in its own right, and it's especially popular with families because of family-friendly attractions like Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies and the Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre. Skip the cheesy tourist stores and instead visit one of the numerous local galleries, such as the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community, to witness local artists and craftsmen creating anything from paintings and ceramics to handcrafted brooms and jewelry.

    The Best Things to Do in Gatlinburg:

    • Great Smoky Mountains National Park
    • Mountain Moonshine Tastings
    • Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community


    • 1 in Best Mountain Towns to Visit in the USA
    • 1 in Best Places to Visit in Tennessee
    • 2 in Best Weekend Getaways in the South


    • 1 in Best Mountain Towns to Visit in the USA

    Address: 849 Glades Rd Unit 1A1, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, United States

  2. When it comes to the best mountain towns to visit in the USA, can't help but mention Bar Harbor. Bar Harbor is a town on Mount Desert Island along Maine’s Frenchman Bay. It serves as a gateway to the mountains and cliffs of neighboring Acadia National Park. Towering over the park, Cadillac Mountain has trails and views of the town, the bay, and the Cranberry Islands. Sand Beach is ringed by mountains. From the town pier, the Shore Path winds along the bay overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the Porcupine Islands.

    Bar Harbor, Maine, is famous as the gateway to Acadia National Park and has a centuries-long reputation as a picturesque retreat that blends many of the greatest attributes of the state. Because of its location along Frenchman Bay, visitors are treated to relaxing sea vistas to the left and right, as well as rugged coastlines straight out of a landscape painting. It's also a great starting place for some of Maine's greatest whale-watching cruises. Not only that, but the town has a certain charm that makes you feel as if you've stepped out of reality and into the pages of a storybook.

    The availability of finger-licking local lobster, on the other hand, will undoubtedly bring you back into reality in the greatest manner imaginable. This is the type of location you go to unwind and reconnect with the basics: taking a long walk, watching the river swing as the day sets, and eating delicious local food. Bar Harbor is ideal for all of this.

    The Best Things to Do in Bar Harbor:

    • Acadia National Park
    • Shore Path
    • Bar Harbor Boat Tours


    • 1 in Best Cheap Summer Vacations
    • 1 in Best Small Towns to Visit in the USA
    • 2 in Best Mountain Towns to Visit in the USA


    • 2 in Best Mountain Towns to Visit in the USA

    Address: 1 Town Pier Bar Harbor, ME 04609 United States
  3. Telluride, a former Victorian mining town in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, is set in a box canyon amid forested peaks at the base of a popular ski-and-golf resort. The town’s historic district houses landmarks like the Sheridan Opera House, a performing-arts venue originally built in 1913, and the Telluride Historical Museum, which showcases local history in a converted hospital built in 1896.

    The origin of the exceedingly distinctive name of this Colorado community is uncertain, but there are two popular interpretations. The first is that telluride is derived from the term "tellurium," a nonmetallic element (typically associated with the existence of gold resources) that drew so many pioneers to the area. Many locals, though, would tell you that the name is just an abbreviation for "to hell you ride"—a creative explanation that accentuates the lethal ski slopes that entice many a winter vacationer each year. Powder hunters will discover over 2,000 skiable acres suitable for beginners, specialists, and everyone in between. "To hell, you ride" also refers to the region's rowdy atmosphere.

    Residents and visitors alike regularly gather in Town Park or at Telluride's bars for a foot-stomping good time. In the end, it doesn't matter where the name comes from — all that really counts is the great experience you're bound to have here.

    The Best Things to Do in Telluride:

    • Telluride Ski Resort
    • Mountain Village
    • Hiking


    • 1 in Best Places to Visit in Colorado
    • 2 in Best Small Towns to Visit in the USA
    • 3 in Best Mountain Towns to Visit in the USA


    • 3 in Best Mountain Towns to Visit in the USA

    Address: Telluride, Colorado 81435, USA
  4. Breckenridge is a Colorado town at the base of the Rocky Mountains’ Tenmile Range. It's known for its ski resort, year-round alpine activities, and Gold Rush history. The Victorian core of this former mining town is preserved as the Breckenridge National Historic District, running primarily along Main Street, with colorfully painted buildings from the 1880s and '90s housing shops, galleries, and restaurants.

    Breckenridge, founded in 1859, preserves the Victorian-era attractiveness that it had during the height of the gold rush. Its down-home and welcoming environment has also survived its metamorphosis from a silver and gold mining town to one of the country's most popular skiing resorts. Furthermore, Breck, as it is known by locals, is a short drive from other major Colorado attractions such as Vail, 40 miles northwest, and Denver, 80 miles northeast. It's also a popular starting place for many of Colorado's top snowmobile trips.

      Breck's winter days are defined by runs on the Tenmile Range and nights spent replenishing at downtown restaurants and pubs, not to mention a slew of breweries and even a distillery. Hiking and cycling replace winter activities in the summer. But, regardless of the season, the magnificence of a Breckenridge sunset and star-studded night sky is a sight to see—and one worth returning to year after year.

      The Best Things to Do in Breckenridge:

      • Main Street
      • Carter Park
      • Breckenridge Ski Resort


      • 2 in Best Ski Vacations in the USA
      • 4 in Best Mountain Towns to Visit in the USA
      • 5 in Best Places to Visit in Colorado


      • 4 in Best Mountain Towns to Visit in the USA

      Address: Breckenridge, CO 80424, USA
    • Jackson, Wyoming, is home to three ski resorts: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King Mountain Resort, and Grand Targhee Resort. The arches in the Town Square are fashioned from shed antlers from the neighboring National Elk Refuge. Andy Warhol and Georgia O'Keeffe have paintings on display at the National Museum of Wildlife Art. The peaks of Grand Teton National Park, as well as the huge Yellowstone National Park, lie to the north.

      The Jackson Hole valley has stayed largely insulated from the booming vacation sector, with Grand Teton National Park to the north and miles of national forest in every other direction. Instead, it has thrived on local businesses like forestry, ranching, and, in the nineteenth century, fur trafficking. However, Jackson Hole has increasingly promoted the growth of tourism. Former blue-collar communities such as Jackson and Grand Teton now have renowned art and entertainment facilities, and huge ski resorts have converted the region into a burgeoning winter paradise. Many folks overlook western Wyoming when planning a luxurious getaway.

      Sure, you won't find the glamour and glam of Aspen or Lake Tahoe, but the beauty and immensity of the Jackson Hole region have captivated Hollywood stars like Harrison Ford and politicians like former Vice President Dick Cheney. Despite its new and opulent look, Jackson Hole retains the core of mountain country, with steep routes and miles of open space that harken back to a time before the West was won.

      The Best Things to Do in Jackson Hole:

      • Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
      • Grand Teton National Park
      • A National Elk Refuge


      • 3 in Best Ski Vacation
      • 3 in Best Ski Vacations in the USA
      • 3 in Best Small Towns to Visit in the USA


      • 5 in Best Mountain Towns to Visit in the USA

      Address: Jackson, Wyoming, USA
    • Park City is located in the western state of Utah, east of Salt Lake City. It's framed by the rocky Wasatch Range and surrounded by the Deer Valley Resort and the massive Park City Mountain Resort, both of which are recognized for their ski slopes. To the north, Utah Olympic Park held the 2002 Winter Olympics and is currently mostly used for training. The main drag in town is lined with structures constructed during the 19th-century silver mining boom.

      Skiing, snowboarding, and the Sundance Film Festival are all associated with Park City. Park City, located 35 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, is easily accessible and offers a variety of hotels that draw large crowds throughout the winter season. This historic mining town stands in the shadow of the rocky Wasatch Mountain Range, sandwiched between two top resorts, Deer Valley and Park City Mountain. Both resorts held Winter Olympics activities in 2002, and the Utah Olympic Park, located just north of the main street, is currently a significant training center for winter athletes, including the US Ski Team.

      You don't have to be an Olympian to enjoy everything Park City has to offer. Stroll around the lovely Historic Park City neighborhood or pay a visit to the High West Distillery and Saloon. Grab your warmest winter clothing and head to Gorgoza Park for an afternoon of snow tubing. And, after a hard day on the slopes (or resting in the lodge), take in the city's vibrant après-ski culture.

      The Best Things to Do in Park City:

      • Historic Park City.
      • Deer Valley Resort:
      • Olympic Park in Utah


      • 4 in Best Places to Visit in Utah
      • 4 in Best Ski Vacations in the USA
      • 6 in Best Mountain Towns to Visit in the USA


      • 6 in Best Mountain Towns to Visit in the USA

      Address: Park City, Utah, USA
    • Top 7


      Aspen, located in Colorado's Rocky Mountains, is a ski resort town and a year-round outdoor activity destination. It's also known for its high-end restaurants and shops, as well as attractions such as the Wheeler Opera House, which was erected during the area's silver mining boom in 1889. The Wheeler-Stallard House is a local history museum housed in a 19th-century Queen Anne-style mansion, while the Aspen Art Museum exhibits modern art.

      Few places can compete with Aspen in terms of winter wonderland status. This lovely mountain village seems like it sprang straight out of a snow globe, with magnificent mountain chalets encircled by the rising Colorado Rockies. Of course, skiing is the major attraction here, and there are four great ski resorts nearby that cater to powder hunters of all abilities. It's also a wonderful starting place for some of Colorado's top snowmobile trips. But Aspen is about more than just skiing. With high-end shopping, intriguing museums, quirky galleries, and entertaining festivals, getting to the slopes may be difficult. Whatever you decide to do with your stay here, it will be a holiday you will never forget.

      This community has been the jewel in the Roaring Fork Valley for numerous decades. This little ski town has long been a haven for the wealthy and famous, with high-end lodges such as The Little Nell and Viceroy Snowmass wooing celebrities with the promise of opulent isolation. But don't allow the prospect of sticker shock deter you; instead, just appreciating your surroundings might help you balance the high expense of luxurious housing. Some of Aspen's most popular attractions, such as Maroon Bells, are provided free of charge by Mother Earth.

      The Best Things to Do in Aspen:

      • Maroon Bells
      • Independence Pass
      • Snowmass


      • 3 in Best Christmas Vacations
      • 4 in Best Places to Visit in Colorado
      • 5 in Best Ski Vacations


      • 7 in Best Mountain Towns to Visit in the USA

      Address: Aspen, Colorado 81611, USA
    • Hot Springs is a city in Arkansas's Ouachita Mountains. It's famous for its naturally hot springs, many of which can be found in Hot Springs National Park to the north. Bathhouse Row has eight bathhouses from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. One of them is Buckstaff Baths, which has thermal baths. The ornate stained-glass and marble Fordyce Bathhouse holds the park's visitors center and museum, as well as a lobby fountain.

      Hot Springs, Arkansas, is located in the Ouachita Mountains about 55 miles southwest of Little Rock and serves as a destination for outdoor enthusiasts and leisure seekers from all over the country. The town's name is derived from a network of springs, which also draws the bulk of its tourists. Indeed, these thermal springs have enticed visitors for thousands of years, beginning with American Indians. Visitors now flock to the town's Bathhouse Row. The naturally hot springs of Hot Springs are protected as part of Hot Springs National Park, yet the city and park are so intermingled that tourists may believe they are staying in the park itself.

      While Arkansas may not immediately spring to mind when people think of dining, entertainment, and shopping, the little town of Hot Springs checks all of those boxes with its casino, water park, and diverse selection of restaurants and shops. Meanwhile, amateur (and professional) historians and architects are enthralled by the city's rich history and unusual architecture. The major reasons to visit, however, are to soak in the town's famous hot springs and enjoy the surrounding countryside.

      The Best Things to Do in Hot Springs, AR:

      • Hot Springs National Park.
      • Fordyce Bathhouse Visitor Center
      • Lake Ouachita State Park


      • 2 in Best Relaxing Getaways in the USA
      • 7 in Best Places to Visit in August
      • 8 in Best Mountain Towns to Visit in the USA


      • 8 in Best Mountain Towns to Visit in the USA

      Address: Hot Springs, Arkansas, USA
    • Top 9


      The City and Borough of Juneau, more commonly known simply as Juneau, is the capital city of the state of Alaska. Located on the Gastineau Channel and the Alaskan panhandle, it is a unified municipality and the second-largest city in the United States by area.

      Most visitors stop in Juneau as a pit stop. Cruise ships arrive in port, unload their passengers at the pier, and allow them to explore town for a few hours. The discerning traveler, on the other hand, will regard Alaska's capital city as a doorway to Mother Nature. While the very daring may visit Glacier Bay National Park and Admiralty Island National Monument, less experienced nature enthusiasts can find breathtaking views just in Juneau's backyard at Mendenhall Glacier and Tracy Arm Fjord, which are easily accessible on the top Alaska excursions.

      This little town (population 30,000) is no longer powered by mining, fur trafficking, or whaling; now, outdoor enthusiasts are the economic driving forces here. Juneau residents increasingly carry inexpensive trinkets rather than hunting equipment. But don't fall for it: the most valuable keepsakes will be the beautiful images you snap with your own camera. Many people are in awe of Juneau's gorgeous location.

      Best Things to Do in Juneau:

      • Tracy Arm Fjord
      • Mendenhall Glacier
      • Juneau Whale Watching Tours


      • 2 in Best Places to Visit in Alaska
      • 9 in Best Mountain Towns to Visit in the USA
      • 12 in Best Adventure Vacations in the U.S.


      • 9 in Best Mountain Towns to Visit in the USA

      Address: Juneau, Alaska, USA
    • Estes Park is a town in the state of Colorado. It is well-known as a base for the Rocky Mountain National Park, which is home to animals like elk and bears, as well as kilometers of trails. The Trail Ridge Road in the park goes through jagged peaks, woodlands, and tundra. The Roosevelt National Forest's wilderness areas are nearby. The Estes Park Aerial Tramway connects the town to Prospect Mountain's peak for panoramic views of the valley.

      Estes Park, Colorado, is about 70 miles northwest of Denver and about 75 miles from Denver International Airport. It is located at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park. Estes Park is an excellent starting point for visitors looking to stay close to Colorado's outdoor attractions. The owner and editor of the Rocky Mountain News called the place Estes Park in 1864 in honor of the successful gold miner Joel Estes, who resided there from 1860 to 1866. In 1909, the famed Stanley Hotel debuted in Estes Park. The hotel's construction transformed Estes Park into a luxury retreat town that would welcome Pope St. John Paul II, Emperor Akihito of Japan and President George W. Bush. In 1982, a burst dam in Rocky Mountain National Park caused Estes Park to flood, so the town's current appearance differs a bit from historical photos.

      Nowadays, Estes Park attracts visitors from all walks of life who wish to experience the wilderness of the American Rockies while staying close to the amenities of a small town. Warm weather is perfect for hiking, bicycling, fly-fishing, equestrian riding, the aerial tram, and other outdoor activities. Snow, on the other hand, provides cold-weather sports such as snowshoeing, backcountry skiing, and ice climbing. Whether visitors come to Estes Park in search of adrenaline-pumping adventure activities or to rest and take in the mountain air, they are not disappointed.

      Best Things to Do in Estes Park:

      • Rocky Mountain National Park
      • Stanley Hotel
      • Estes Park Aerial Tramway

      Ranking + Rating:

      • 12 in Best Mountain Towns to Visit in the USA

      Address: Estes Park, Colorado 80517, USA
    • Do you want to visit the European Alps but don't have the funds? Consider the charming (and less expensive) Vermont town of Stowe. This historic New England village, nestled between the Green Mountains and the CC Putnam State Forest, is replete with sweet shops and basic stores, as well as gorgeous churches and thriving farms. Mount Mansfield, the state's highest peak, towers over town, offering world-class skiing and other winter sports options. You'll imagine you're in a small community in the Alps sometime between mounting Mansfield in one of Stowe Mountain Resort's gondolas and drinking hot cocoa fireside at the Swiss-style cottages. At least the von Trapps believed so; the melodic family (made famous by "The Sound of Music") lived at Stowe's Trapp Family Lodge because it reminded them of their Austrian home.

      Stowe is a northern Vermont town. Mount Mansfield, noted for its trails and ski slopes, towers over it. The Auto Toll Road winds its way up to the top crest. Smugglers' Notch State Park contains deep woodland and a tiny mountain pass towards the bottom. With mountain vistas, the Stowe Recreation Path follows the West Branch of the Little River through town. The Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum displays ski equipment and memorabilia.This town is said to be one of the best mountain towns to visit in the USA.

      The Best Things to Do in Stowe, VT:

      • Stowe Mountain Resort
      • Trapp Family Lodge
      • Stowe Recreation Path


      • 9 in Best Weekend Getaways in New England
      • 1 in Best Ski Vacations in the USA
      • 14 in Best Places to Visit in January


      • 15 in Best Mountain Towns to Visit in the USA

      Address: Stowe, Vermont 05672, USA
    • Sun Valley is a popular Idaho tourist town. It is well-known for the ski facilities at Bald Mountain and neighboring Dollar Mountain, the latter featuring gentler slopes. The resort boasts miles of mountain paths, horse routes, and wildflower-filled meadows throughout the summer. Many more trails begin near town, such as Fox Creek and Trail Creek, which give a way up Proctor Mountain for valley vistas.

      Ketchum, Idaho, is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise with the tagline "Small Town, Big Life." In the winter, the renowned tourist attraction offers world-class skiing, while in the summer, it offers bicycling, hiking, and fishing. For practically its entire history, this town has benefitted from its remote location away from other major population areas as one of America's earliest ski hot spots and Hollywood celebrity retreats (Boise is more than 150 miles west). Visitors will find fewer people and lower lodging prices than in rival ski communities in Colorado and Utah, as well as a distinct sense of culture and history.

      The Sun Valley Resort and community are Ketchum's crown jewels, no matter the season. This iconic outdoor hideaway offers infinite opportunities for all levels of sports experience, with 100 ski slopes in the winter and dozens of mountain bike courses in the summer. Visitors may learn about Ketchum's unique mining and tourist history at the Sun Valley Museum of History, which is located off the mountain. Alternatively, people may simply stroll around town and find different breweries, galleries, restaurants, and shopping. Ketchum is also the gateway to the expansive Sawtooth National Recreation Area, and numerous awe-inspiring hiking trails, such as the Fox Creek Trail and the Adams Gulch Loop, can be easily accessed from popular hotels and lodges.

      The Best Things to Do in Sun Valley:

      • Sun Valley Resort
      • Sawtooth National Recreation Area.
      • Hiking and mountain biking


      • 10 in Best Ski Vacations in the USA
      • 14 in Best Places to Visit in July
      • 15 in Best Places to Visit in December


      • 18 in Best Mountain Towns to Visit in the USA

      Address: Sun Valley, Idaho 83353, USA
    • Burlington is a city in northwestern Vermont, near the Canadian border on the eastern coast of Lake Champlain. Shops and eateries fill the pedestrianized Church Street Marketplace in downtown. The Ethan Allen Homestead Museum, located north of downtown, is the former residence of the Revolutionary War hero. In a series of ancient buildings, the huge Shelburne Museum showcases American folk and decorative art.

      Burlington, a charming Vermont town on the shores of Lake Champlain, lives on the unusual. Church Street's public square is an outdoor shopping promenade surrounded by stores, restaurants, and street entertainers. Meanwhile, the Shelburne Museum has a completely restored railroad station as well as the steamer Ticonderoga, while the city's breweries provide live events and interactive tours. Even the most well-known Burlington residents, such as Ethan Allen (of the Green Mountain Boys, not the furniture business), Ben Cohen, and Jerry Greenfield (yes, that Ben and Jerry, established and based in nearby Waterbury), march to the beat of their own drum. So, pack your Birkenstocks, book the bed-and-breakfast, and get ready to live and let live in Burlington.

      The Best Things to Do in Burlington, VT:

      • Shelburne Museum
      • Ben & Jerry's
      • Church Street Marketplace

      Ranking + Rating:

      • 20 in Best Mountain Towns to Visit in the USA

      Address: Burlington, Vermont, USA
    • Mammoth Lakes is considered one of the best mountain towns to visit in the USA. This town is a settlement in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. It is well known for the Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain ski resorts and the adjacent trails. Devils Postpile National Monument, a collection of basalt columns, and the towering Rainbow Falls are both accessible from the town. Saltwater Mono Lake is peppered with limestone towers to the north. Yosemite National Park is nearby, with its granite cliffs and old sequoias.

        This scenic California town sits within the Sierra Nevada mountain range and offers fun activities for people of all ages. Visitors flock here to traverse Mammoth Mountain's 150 ski trails and take advantage of its cross-country skiing paths, tubing park, and snowmobiling excursions. Mammoth Lakes is also a popular vacation destination for those wishing to explore Yosemite National Park, as it's a short drive from the park's east entrance. Plus, there's no shortage of things to do come summer. Warm-weather visitors can go rock climbing and hiking, swimming, boating, and kayaking at the town's beautiful lakes.

        The Best Things to Do in Mammoth Lakes:

        • Mammoth Mountain Ski Area
        • Mammoth Mountain
        • Devils Postpile National Monument

        Ranking + Rating:

        • 10 in Best Mountain Towns to Visit in the USA

        Address: Mammoth Lakes, California 93546, USA
      • Big Bear Lake is a tiny Southern California town. It is located on the shores of Big Bear Lake, which is teeming with fish. It is well-known for its Bear Mountain ski resort, which features terrain parks and beginner slopes, as well as the family-friendly Snow Summit ski resort. The streets of Big Bear Lake Village, the commercial sector, are lined with boutiques, gift stores, and restaurants. The rough San Bernardino National Forest, which surrounds the city, contains mountain routes.

        This mountain village is only 95 miles northeast of Los Angeles, yet feels like a world apart. Big Bear Lake, located inside the San Bernardino National Forest, offers several chances for tourists to reconnect with nature. Visitors may look forward to the aroma of fresh pines and the opportunity to see animals such as mountain lions and bears. The town also has its own lake, a charming entertainment center, and Big Bear Mountain Resort, which has 50-plus ski runs and kid-friendly features such as a bike park, a zip line course, a climbing wall, and a tube park. This is one of the best mountain towns to visit in the USA.

        The Best Things to Do in Big Bear Lake:

        • Snow Summit Ski Resort
        • "Big Bear Alpine Zoo"
        • Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain

        Ranking + Rating:

        • 19 in Best Mountain Towns to Visit in the USA
        Address: Big Bear Lake, California, USA

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